Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, she’s the author of contemporary romantic fiction set predominantly in New Zealand. Small-towns, close communities, and families are a big part of the heart-warming stories she writes. Oh, and hot, down-to-earth heroes—Kiwi men, in other words.
Welcome to The Petting Zoo. It’s exciting to have you here because I’m a huge fan of your Due South series - and I’m not the only one. The first book in your series, In Too Deep, recently won the Romance Writers of New Zealand Koru award for Excellence 2014 Best First Book. Congratulations!
Thanks, Lauren. It’s really great to be here!
Ready to Burn is available on:
Amazon.com | Amazon.UK | iBooks | Barnes & Noble
What are you working on at the moment and do you have any more books coming out soon?
At the moment I’m working on a series of Valentine’s short stories featuring the first four couples of the Due South series – Piper & West, Ben & Kezia, Shaye & Del and Carly & Kip. Christmas With You, Carly & Kip’s novella and the 4th Due South book, officially releases on December 5th, but shhhhh, just between us, it’s actually live exclusively on Amazon now. Amazon.com | Amazon.UK
Yes! Each of my four books has a different kind of animal. I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened! In book 1 (In Too Deep) there are Great White sharks—don’t worry, there’s no replay of scary stuff from Jaws. The hero, West, also has a scruffy, one-eared Staffy-boxer cross called Donny. Book 2 (Melting Into You) features a little Chihuahua-spaniel called Sparky, who kinda accidentally-on-purpose pees on the hero’s shoes. Book 3 (Ready To Burn) has Birdbrain the Kaka, who in Del’s words is a “patched gang member of the parrot family.” And Book 4 (Christmas With You), has a Shetland Pony called Dudley with a marked disregard for, er, personal boundaries.
What is your favourite type of animal? Is there a special reason for this?
I’m definitely a cat person, and one of the highlights of my life was sitting with a tiger in Thailand. I couldn’t believe how heavy his head was—and how close my fingers were to his huge, sharp teeth! I think my fascination with tigers goes back to when I was a little girl and my mum would read a book called ‘The Tiger who came to Tea’ by Judith Kerr. I loved that naughty, gorgeous tiger!
Do you have any furry friends or cuddly critters in your life at the moment, or if not are there any special pets in your past?
Here’s a photo of my dear old cat, Jay-Jay. We’ve had her since before my husband and I got married, so that puts her somewhere around twenty years old. Her mother was half wild and her father completely wild, so she’s not the friendliest of cats—therefore I wouldn’t call her ‘cuddly’. But regardless of whether she’ll only give me a ten second cuddle before she wants to get away, I love her to bits.
Jay-Jay has a meow fit to wake the dead. Seriously. I’d love to get a decibel reading on it. I think it’s worse since she’s reached her twilight years; she’s gone a bit deaf. The other cute thing she does when food is around, is to sit on her hind legs and beg. Awwww. (And yes, she often does get titbits this way!)
Can you think of any memorable books or movies where an animal has stolen the limelight and your heart?
I adore Kristan Higgin’s books, especially as each books as a show-stealer of an animal—usually a dog. I also love Jill Shalvis’s Animal Magnatism series—cute animals, cuter guys…it’s a race to see who steals my heart first.
Which animal are you most afraid of?
Spiders. Yeah, I don’t know if they’re considered an ‘animal’, but still… I’m mucho knicker-wettingly afraid of spiders. Not overly keen on sharks either—which made writing the first Due South book where the heroine dives with sharks (in a cage, she’s not crazy!) er, interesting!
If I could be any animal, I think I’d be a big-ass eagle—I’ve always dreamed of being able to fly. Speaking of birds…in Ready To Burn the hero is bugged at an ungodly hour every morning by a pain-in-the-feathered-butt kaka. Researching these members of the parrot family was absolutely fascinating—they are so damn cheeky and funny. So if I couldn’t be an eagle, reincarnating as a kaka sent to drive some poor sexy guy insane would be pretty cool also.