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Monday, September 15, 2014

Spotlight: Red Dirt Duchess by Louise Reynolds - Q&A

Red Dirt Duchess
by Louise Reynolds

Genre: Romance
Publication: August 2014
Connect: Twitter | Website | Facebook
By: Amazon | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play
When English society playboy Jonathan Hartley-Huntley is sent to outback Australia after a disastrous affair with his editor, all he wants is to take a few pictures, do a quick interview and get back to his usual life of luxury as soon as possible. Until he meets his host, the irresistible Charlie Hughes, and suddenly the back of beyond is a lot more appealing.

Running the pub is a labour of love for Charlie and she has no desire to ever leave the tiny town of Bindundilly. That is, until Jon discovers an old painting that raises questions about both their lives. Charlie impulsively decides to follow him to London, and as the feelings between them begin to deepen, she starts to wonder if there's more to life than the pub. But at Jon's family home, the magnificent Hartley Hall, they become acutely aware of the differences between them, and it soon seems clear they have no future together – especially if Jon's mother has her way.

Family and tradition threaten the course of true love in this warm and witty novel from the author of Outback Bride and Her Italian Aristocrat.
Q&A with Louise Reynolds

1. Please introduce yourself and your book.

It’s great to be here! My name is Louise Reynolds and I live in Melbourne, Australia. I write contemporary romance for Destiny Romance and my latest release, Red Dirt Duchess, is my  third book. It’s set in both outback Australia and an English stately home and is the story of two people from very different backgrounds and the obstacles they face in getting their HEA.

2. What inspired you to write this book?

I spend a lot of time travelling the outback and have written about it in a previous book (Outback Bride). This time I wanted to contrast this unique lifestyle where people are laidback and casual with that of England and the upper classes where, generally, life is more structured. Family is also a constant theme in my work and I wanted to explore the idea that some of us may not be who we think we are.

3. What do you like most about writing this book?

Creating the characters in the English country house was a lot of fun. It allowed me to draw on influences from one of my favourite authors, Nancy Mitford, who wrote comedies about the English upper classes. 

4. Are there any scene in the book that resemble real experiences?

I draw heavily on real life experiences in my writing. The opening scene in Red Dirt Duchess is a mixture of two. I was in a remote pub in the outback when some very hot, exhausted tourists walked in, carrying suitcases. They had walked, in the heat, from the airstrip some distance away because the hotel staff had forgotten to go out and pick them up. Immediately I got the picture of a very hot, angry (but gorgeous) English travel writer walking into a bar. But my heroine, the publican who’d forgotten to pick him up, needed to have a good reason to forget and I drew on my experiences of seeing bar staff toss coins over their shoulders into charity buckets, in US ski bars. 

5. Do you know what is going to happen throughout your book before you begin writing it, or do your ideas come as you're working on it?

A bit of both. I always have certain scenes in mind at the beginning and it’s a matter of working out how to get from one to the other. They’re the stepping stones of the story. They need to be very strong scenes and always include the opening scene and a couple more where quite dramatic things happen that send the story in a different direction. 

6. How do you set up your book? Do you outline them first, or did you just spin around the story?

It doesn’t matter how much you plan, as you write the creative juices kick in and you find yourself listening to your characters. The better you know them (the planning part) the more you’re free to sit back and let them take over. They say unexpected things and begin to tell you what should happen next. So you end up tweaking all those well-laid plans.

7. Grade your book. How many stars out of a perfect score of 5 stars? Please give the reason.

Ooh, that’s hard. Of course it’s 5 stars! An author has to love her story and know that she’s given her reader the very best she can. To give your own book less than 5 stars says I didn’t make it the best it can be.

8. What are you working on right now?

A Christmas novella set on Sydney’s glorious harbour. It’s fun to convey the beauty of the setting, the fabulous climate and how two people fall in love at this special time of year. 

9. Anything you would like to say to your readers?

I hope you enjoy reading Red Dirt Duchess as much as I loved writing it. 

Thank you Louise for the quick Q&A session with ai love books. I hope you had a lot of fun answering my questions. Best of luck!

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