I’m sitting here in a holiday unit by the beach in Queensland. The sun is a scorching 36 degrees centigrade, the sea is an impossibly clear blue, and I’m sitting inside at my laptop, peering through the window at the wide world outside.
Yeah, I’m a writer. How did you guess?
It’s time for me to do the annual post. 2019 the year that was, and my writing goals for 2020.
2019 saw the release of my seventh novel, A Heart This Big. It’s also, I think, my most successful novel to date, which to a struggling writer is a wonderful thing. Nina the farmer, Leigh the lawyer, and the kids, animals, and volunteers that make up the ramshackle community of Banksia Farm were also some of my favourite characters to write.
2019 also saw my first two audiobooks released: Code of Conduct and A Heart This Big. I admit that until I listened to my own two, I’d never listened to an audiobook in my life! But Claire Alain’s wonderful narration in her creamy Aussie accent has made me a convert. I’m particularly in awe of how well she did the multiple foreign accents in Code of Conduct plus the kids in A Heart This Big. I had a few editing projects as well this year. While editing is not my major thrust, I always enjoy the projects that come my way. This year, as well as multiple projects for Harper Bliss and Clare Lydon, I edited a new-to-me author, Becky Bohan, and I’m very excited to see her novel released, hopefully soon.
2020 is already shaping up to be big and busy. My next novel, All at Sea, will be out in April from Ylva Publishing. It’s with the proofreader at the moment, and I’ll be able to share the cover with you soon. In the meantime, I’ll tell you it’s the story of Stevie who escapes her parents’ terrible party and falls asleep on a stranger’s yacht. She wakes to find herself far out to sea with only the yacht’s skipper, Kaz, and the ship’s cat, Sinbad, for company. I’m very excited for this book and can’t wait for you to meet Stevie, Kaz, and of course Sinbad. My editor said that Sinbad was her favourite character. I’m still not quite sure what to make of that comment!
And yes, All at Sea will be out as an audiobook as well. As a little aside, my first “sailing consultant” for the story was my long-time mate, Bazza. Bazza is a 74-year-old straight man. He taught me about sailing, and when I sent him the first draft to check, I taught him about… well, you can guess. 🙂
Before All at Sea hits the decks in April, I’ll have a story in Ylva Publishing’s upcoming anthology After Happily Ever After. I’m in the company of seven other wonderful Ylva writers. We’ve each written a short story that spins off from one of our existing books. There are stories of happy-ever-after, a marriage proposal, and other gems. My own story is called No Going Back and it’s set in the world of my tennis romance, Code of Conduct. I’ve taken one of the secondary characters from that book and written her story.
This anthology is a chance for you to read more about characters from books you’ve already enjoyed, or to find a new writer and a new world to enjoy.
Want to win your choice of any of my ebooks? My January newsletter will include a really easy competition based around the After Happily Ever After anthology. You’ll need to be subscribed to my newsletter before 20 January to be in with a chance. You can subscribe here.
In the ongoing projects pile, I’m at the three-quarter point in the first draft of the novel after next. Counting the Stars is about Clancy and Kit who bond over a shared passion for night-time photography. Set in outback Queensland, this friends-to-lovers story won’t be out until February 2021, so there’s plenty of time to tell you more about that in the future.
I’ve also just finished plotting out the book after that and sent off my proposal. Fingers are crossed and that’s all I’m going to say at this stage. There’s also another German translation of one of my books coming up in 2020.
In between finishing Counting the Stars, finalising edits for All at Sea and giving feedback on the cover, proofing No Going Back, and plotting the as-yet-untitled tenth novel, I have editing lined up, and a newsletter to get ready. Not signed up for my newsletter yet? Take a look here. You get a free book of short stories just for signing up and I often run competitions for free books and stuff.
And that’s me for 2020. How about you?