I’m a few days late posting this up on my blog. The Christmas and New Year has been filled with lots and lots of socialising and precious little time for writing or promoting.
And less said about random modem problems the better…
I’m very proud to have as my guest on the purple couch today Lily Malone, an incredibly talented Australian author on my blog with her new book Fairway To Heaven to be released on January 8 – just in time for a relaxing summer time holiday read.
Thank you Elizabeth Ellen for being kind enough to let me take over your blog for the day!
It’s always a pleasure to have you as a guest Lily! – EEC
January 8 is the release date for my new (very) contemporary romance Fairway To Heaven. It’s set on the beach at Busselton in the beautiful south west corner of Western Australia – very close to where I live.
They call it ‘God’s Own Country’ here, so perhaps a book title with ‘Heaven’ in the name is appropriate!
And yes, Fairway is about golf – just not golf as you know it!
Tell me more! I once played a round of golf and I was woeful, I’ll stick to miniature golf I think. – EEC
A bit about the book later, but first, I know that you enjoyed a wonderful relationship with your mother, Elizabeth Ann. I’ve read this on your blog, and having recently bought your book, Moonstone Obsession for my Kindle, I’ve seen your dedication to your mother in the front pages.
It felt right that I talk a bit about mothers and how they impact my writing here with you.
Yes, indeed! – EEC
My mother has read both my published books, but she hasn’t yet read Fairway To Heaven. My mother is from the generation that would never consider buying a Kindle, and she is always afraid that if she looks at a computer, she might break it. So I’ve had to print both my books His Brand Of Beautiful, and The Goodbye Ride, for her and give her a stack of paper. Then she’s been happy!
When she read my second book, the novella The Goodbye Ride, she quizzed me about the mother characters in my books.
In my debut book, His Brand Of Beautiful, Christina Clay’s mother abandons her as a young girl. That sense of abandonment haunts Christina throughout the novel, until she comes to terms with the fact that her mother’s decision to leave wasn’t Christina’s fault.
In The Goodbye Ride, Olivia’s mother is a woman fighting back from the verge of a nervous breakdown. Olivia moved home to help her father care for her mother after her mother tried to commit suicide.
Olivia’s mother battles obsessive-compulsive disorder. She is always cleaning the house which Olivia describes as: “like living in an advertisement for bleach.”
After she’d read both my books, my mum started a conversation when we were out walking one day. She said: “You write all these awful mothers. Why do you write such awful mothers? What did I ever do to you?”
I told her fiction wouldn’t be very interesting if it was all about my characters’ perfect childhoods, now, would it?
She seemed mollified by that!
So in Fairway To Heaven, I’ve done it again. There’s not much angst between Jennifer Gates and her parents, but Jenn’s parents live in Karratha (the north-west mining region of Western Australia) and Jenn is quite happily ensconced a few thousand miles to the south at Perth, and then Busselton. She loves her parents, but it suits her fine that they can’t exactly drop in any old time for a cuppa and a chat.
Jenn’s parents play lawn bowls – which my father loves – but my mother hates, and I’m sure my mum is going to have a few words to say about that!
So please enjoy this quick excerpt from Fairway, where Olivia is phoning in a ‘duty’ call to her parents, to tell them she’s left her boyfriend, Jack, the father of her 14-month old son.
Thank you Lily, such an interesting insight into the different personalities that go into making a family. My late grandfather – such a wise man – said family should be close enough in emergencies and far enough away that paying a visit is something special – EEC
Extract: Fairway To Heaven
It’s also two weeks—almost to the hour—since I spoke with my mother. She rang when I was madly polishing the staircase at Jack’s house, getting ready for the date night that never happened.
My parents’ number is the only one beside Emmy’s, Nathan’s and Jack’s, that I don’t have to look up before I dial. My mother answers on the third ring and says she knew it was me.
I always joke with my sister that mum is psycho like that.
We spend the first part of the conversation discussing how long it is since the last time we spoke, and what they’ve been doing (playing lawn bowls), and finally Mum gets around to asking whether I have any news.
It takes me a while to explain that I’m in Busselton.
Yes, without Jack.
No, Jack’s not coming later.
After that, she’s so shocked she has to pass the phone to my dad.
He asks what I’ve done to upset my mother, listens, says: “Right-o,” then proceeds to tell me about his week at lawn bowls.
My parents have played bowls in Karratha every weekend, plus Wednesday’s, since my father retired from the mines.
Lawn bowls is what they do well.
Dramatic family situations, isn’t.
Eventually Mum comes back as Dad’s telling me he doesn’t like the new set of bowls the family bought him for Christmas.
“It’s me again, love,” Mum says, sounding teary. “Are you okay? Should I come down?”
Good God no. “You’ll miss your bowls. I’m fine. Really.”
“Sebastian is so young. Are you sure you can’t work things out with Jack? Relationships aren’t meant to be easy you know.”
“They’re not meant to be this hard, either.”
My dad mutters something in the background like: “lucky she never married that joker.” Only I’m not sure if he says ‘joker’ or ‘Jack’. Mum shushes him. I can picture her with her hand over the phone making evil eyes at my father.
“So what are you going to do in Busselton, love? Take some time away to get your head straight?”
“I’m trying to set up my own business.”
“A business? Doing what?”
Selling my body, mum. “Freelance writing. Just like what I did in Perth.”
“How are you going to make a living doing that when you don’t know anybody down there? Why didn’t you come home where at least you have connections? We could have helped you.”
The thought of returning to Karratha makes my head ache. “What would I do in Karratha, Mum? Marry a miner? Drive a truck?”
“There are worse things in the world.”
No there are not. “I’m happy here. Sebby can see Jack.”
“We’d see more of Seb if you moved up here.” Hope in her voice.
“He’s not much good at the bowling green, Mum. He makes too much noise.”
“Oh, silly,” she says, but she doesn’t raise the idea again. Instead she says: “I don’t like the idea of you being on your own down there.”
“It’s Busselton, Mum, not the fifth planet of Pluto.”
“I can be on the first plane to Perth. Just say the word.”
“I’m not actually in Perth, so I can’t pick you up at the airport, and anyway, don’t you have bowls all weekend? You can’t let the team down.” Go team.
“If you need anything, anything, you’ll call me, won’t you?”
I cross my fingers. “I promise, Mum.”
After that, I open a bottle of white wine and pour a glass to take to the porch, which is cheating, I know—it’s not even wine o’clock—but conversations with my mother bring out the rebel in me. Bless her.
Read more about Lily
You can find out more about Lily and her books at her website: www.lilymalone.wordpress.com
Lily is on Facebook: www.facebook.com.lilymalone
And Twitter: www.twitter.com/lily_lilymalone
Buy Fairway To Heaven
From all good online book stores from January 8.