Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thespian Tuesday With Louisa Mack

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are.      
Hi, I'm Louisa Mack and I live in Brisbane in northern Australia. For the most part I write contemporary romance with a distinct Australian flavour but I also write historical romance because I can't resist history.

Please tell us a bit about your book.  
My book is called Cooking Up Trouble and, you guessed it, there's a lot of food involved. Ally French is an award-winning chef and the lawyer handling her godfather's will is Edward McGrogan, the unnervingly attractive lawyer who represented her ex in the break-up of their business. Ally has to try to resist him and work with him if she is to keep the pub she has inherited in the middle of the outback because somebody wants her gone.

What was the motivation/idea behind this book/these characters?  
I drove past the pub at Betoota in the Diamantina region of far western Queensland and did a double take. Yes, there is a pub smack bang in the middle of nowhere and the owner had not long died when I came across it. I thought, what if you inherited this place? What if you were female and single and inherited a pub in the middle of nowhere? And because I'm not completely heartless with my characters I invented a small village nearby so Ally wasn't alone.

Did you enjoy writing this book, or did you have some tough times with it?  
There were parts of the process that I loved but I was doing my Masters by Research into writing methods at the time and this poor story was the lab rat and there were days when we crossed swords severely. Actually, it was me with the sword, hacking out huge chunks of the story that went nowhere.

When / Where / How do you write? 
 I write during the day for the most part and I have an office where I closet myself away but I also like to take notes in longhand from time to time and that can happen anywhere, often in bed at night. This year I'm going to experiment with cafe writing. As for how I write, I like to make a collage and a soundtrack for each story before I begin. They help immerse me in the story when I'm writing and re-immerse me when the outside world interrupts the process. Next I do some exploratory writing about the main characters to get a feel for their backstory and inner feelings. That helps to establish what motivates them and what will drive them into conflict. For example Ally from Cooking Up Trouble has trust issues after what happened with her ex and their deli/cafe so it takes something for her to trust Edward. I've also learnt that if the story is fun to write then it will be fun to read so I'm using that as a guide these days. 

Do you have some other qualification/interest/something else you do besides being a writer? 
Before I studied writing I was a potter for many years. I still teach pottery four evenings a week. When I'm not writing or up to my elbows in clay I love to cook or poke about in the garden. I especially love to cook things I've grown in my patch and this year I'm very proud of the ginger, tumeric and galangel I've grown so we'll be eating Asian food for the next little while.

What book/s are you reading at the moment?  
I've just finished reading The Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe and I loved it, didn't want it to end. Currently I'm reading Cracking Creativity by Michael Mihalko and oh my gosh it is interesting.

Do you have any authors who were your inspiration/hero?  
There are so many fantastic romance writers and the published authors in RWAustralia are a wonderful support to those of us who aspire to follow in their footsteps so I'm finding it hard to narrow it down. I have done several online courses with Lania Diane Rich whose books I also love and she has been a great inspiration to me. I've also done workshops with Anne Gracie and Alexandra Sokoloff who both inspired me. I love the humour in Jenny Crusie's and Kelly Hunter's books and I love the way Joanna Bourne, Anne Gracie and Jo Beverley write history. I'm inspired by the way Laura Kinsale, Melissa Marr and Fiona Lowe build character and the way Nora Roberts and Lisa Gardner build suspense is a revelation. For plotting I'm awed by Melissa Marr, Rick Riordan and Laura Kinsale and the way Stephen King came back to writing after that catastrophic accident is pure inspiration.

What are you working on right now?  
Well, they say you should write what you know so I'm working on a story about a Brisbane potter who gets herself into difficulty with a loan and a couple of sociopathic property developers who want her land. When the re-writes for that are done the historical novel I wrote last year will be ready for a go over. And right now I'm listening to Welcome to My Nightmare by Alice Cooper which is the lead song in the soundtrack for the my story. It's going to be an exciting year.

And now to buy the book...

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