WN: What kind of reader will enjoy your books?
ER: My first publisher was Avalon who sold in hardcover to US libraries. Their guidelines were quite specific—no sex, no excessive drinking, no swearing. In other words clean, sweet romances. My stories and voice fell naturally into that framework with only minor adjustments ( to remove some Aussie swearing) and I sold 8 books to them before they were bought out by Amazon. Now I’m writing for Escape and although there are no guidelines as such, most of my stories still don’t have sex scenes. This comes from the characters themselves and the situations they are in.
I like writing about women bringing up children on their own and the men who will take on a readymade family. I’m interested in the psychological and emotional tangles and pressures these relationships can produce. I also enjoy dropping in the humour and craziness kids bring to most situations.
Any age group and readers of clean romances can enjoy my books but I hope lovers of romance in general will enjoy them too.
WN: Tell us about Evidence of Love.
ER: Evidence Of Love is about Maja, a young woman brought up in a family steeped in crime and where women weren’t valued. At nineteen she is virtually sold off in marriage to her fathers’ gang boss in return for debts owing. A month after Maja’s baby is born, Tony, her brutal, abusive husband, is murdered. She takes that opportunity and flees to another city, changes her name to Lara and hopes that by keeping a low profile she will avoid anyone from her past and be able to bring up her son, Petey, in peace. Tony had provided well for Petey’s future, and Lara has also inherited money earned through his legitimate businesses.
Running by the waterfront one morning Lara comes across a young woman, victim of a bashing. Concern for the girl means contact with the police, but Lara doesn’t hesitate to call for help. Detective Nick Lawson is intrigued by the prickly young mother and wonders what caused her aversion and distrust of law enforcers. The incident and its consequences draw Lara slowly out of her quiet life. She begins to trust Nick but someone from her past recognises her, her brother contacts her, and suddenly her newly constructed life comes crashing down, culminating in a dire threat to her baby boy.
WN: What sort of research did you do to learn about the gangs? Any particular story that you’d like to share?
ER: I haven’t done any particular research beyond reading the news papers and watching the news on TV. A few years ago there was a crime family in Melbourne that hit the headlines because they and their rivals began murdering each other in public places. Eg a shoot out at a beach parking lot, a hit at a restaurant in the city. The mother seemed to be the worst of the lot, inciting her sons to violence and organising a hit on her ex husband. Most of them are either dead or in prison now, although one of the hitmen was killed while he was inside.
That family was extraordinary in their disregard for any sort of acceptable social or moral law and it made me wonder what hope a child would have to get out of that life? And of course, for a policeman to fall in love with a girl from a family like that would raise all sorts of issues. Especially when she was brought up to hate the police.
WN: What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?
ER: Put something on every page that makes the reader want to keep reading. It doesn’t have to be a momentous event just some little question, situation or revelation that drives the story forward.
Of course, knowing that and putting it into practice are two different things.
WN: What’s on your to-be-read list that you can’t wait to get to? (We assume all authors are readers at heart)
ER: My book group is reading The Rosie Project next month and I’m looking forward to that but in a secondhand bookshop recently, I came across a Lindsay Davis ancient Rome mystery featuring Didius Falco, one I haven’t read yet, so that’s beckoning as well. I really like crime fiction.
My all time favourite series of books is what would be termed literary works. A Dance To The Music Of Time by Anthony Powell is a twelve book series dealing with the life of narrator Nick Jenkins. It spans the period from World War One when he is at boarding school and goes through to the 1960’s. It’s set in England and is a totally rich, absorbing account of British society and the characters who weave in and out of Nick’s life. It was written over a twenty year period. I reread the set every few years and I’m just about to start the last book in my third reread. The BBC made a four part TV series of it but although it’s brilliantly cast the richness of the writing and Nick’s wry observations an insights can’t be transferred to the screen.
WN: What is your writing style? Pantser? Plotter? A mix?
ER: Oh, I’m a pantser through and through. I do have a vague idea of where the plot will go in a very broad sense but I like to see where the characters take me. As they develop things will arise I’d never have thought of. Once the story gets going, however, I do think a little ahead and work out how a scene should work or what that scene needs to accomplish. Sometimes I have the final scene clearly in mind and it’s a matter of working my way towards it.
WN: What question did we not ask, that we should have? (Our past participants sometimes provide an answer, sometimes not. It’s up to you!)
ER: Where can you find my book, of course!