Readers, Narelle is one of my writing friends who live in
. I did get to meet her
face to face at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference. I look
forward to the time we can meet again. I loved her debut book Falling for the Farmer, and I can hardly wait until my copy of The Nurse's Perfect Match arrives. Australia
Welcome back, Narelle. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
My favorite genre to read is contemporary inspirational romance. I love writing stories that combine a satisfying romance with an authentic faith journey for the hero and heroine. God is at the center of their relationship, and future marriage at the end of the story. I journey with my characters as they overcome obstacles in the story and fall in love.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day my daughter was born. My husband and I had hoped to have two children, and her arrival completed our family. She was born late in the afternoon on Easter Sunday. Our beautiful Easter gift on the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.
How has being published changed your life?
My schedule is busy, and I have less leisure time now. I also work ten hours per week as a retail service supervisor. I need to balance my two jobs with my family and other responsibilities. Thankfully my friends are understanding and don’t get offended when I disappear into my writing cave.
I’ve had a writing deadline of some description every month for the past twelve months. Deadlines have become a normal part of my life. I also have a book releasing every three months from February 2014 to May 2015. I’m learning to incorporate book promotion time into my writing schedule.
What are you reading right now?
Wild Mint Tea, a contemporary farm-lit romance by Valerie Comer.
What is your current work in progress?
I’m rewriting and revising the fifth book in my contract, due for release in February 2015.
What would be your dream vacation?
I’d love to take a break for a few months, and travel around outback
with my family. I dream about enjoying the open spaces, and the natural beauty
of God’s creation.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I’m an Aussie, and I like setting books in
chosen settings where I’ve lived ( Sydney) or
visited often ( ). Snowy
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I think it would be fascinating to spend an evening with Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth.
Australia is part of the
Commonwealth, and the Queen is our head of state. She has dedicated her life to
royal duties and serving others.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I’m in a season in my life where I don’t have a lot of spare time. I like to cook, but my focus is on cooking fast and nutritious meals. My slow cooker is my favorite kitchen appliance. I also like cycling and hiking, and I squeeze gym classes into my schedule.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
My passion is writing contemporary inspirational romance with Aussie characters in an Australian setting. For many years there were few, if any, opportunities to sell Aussie inspirational romance in the
I wrote Falling for the Farmer in 2011 as a clean, sweet romance from a Christian world view. This was around the time Barbour announced they were closing the Heartsong Presents line, and the Love Inspired contemporary guidelines weren’t inclusive of foreign settings.
It was a discouraging time in my writing journey, and a test of faith and patience. I enjoyed writing Falling for the Farmer as a sweet romance, but I missed being able to include a faith element in the story. I believed the Lord had given me inspirational romance story ideas for a reason, and the books would find a publishing home in His timing.
In August 2012, Harlequin announced they were open for submissions to the Heartsong Presents line they had recently purchased from Barbour. I emailed a query and sold my first book, Her Tycoon Hero, in September 2012. My editor asked if I’d written anything else, which led to writing proposals for three brand new stories. I added the faith element into Falling for the Farmer, and it became my debut release in February 2014.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Be prepared to work hard and learn the craft of writing. Finish your first book, put it aside, and start writing your next book. Resist the temptation to rush into publishing your first book too soon, before you’ve acquired the skills needed to write a great book. Debut books are special, and you want your first published book to shine.
Tell us about the featured book.
The Nurse’s Perfect Match is set in Snowgum Creek, a fictitious town located near the
Snowy Mountains in Australia. Ben Morton is an apple
farmer and single dad who lost his wife to cancer. He struggles to understand
why a loving God would take away the mother of his children. His late wife was
also a Christian, and they had a strong marriage. Amy Wilkins is a widow who
lost her husband when her marriage was in crisis. Amy moves back home to
Snowgum Creek, and works as a nurse in the medical clinic owned by Ben’s
Please give us the first page of the book.
The V-8 engine roared to life. Amy Wilkins stood at the side of the road, her shaky hands clutching her purse. The car sped away, dust and gravel spraying into the still night air. She pulled her jacket closer around her chilled body as the rumble of the engine receded.
Her pulse slowed and she sucked in a deep breath, glad she had chosen to wear jeans and comfortable shoes tonight. She trailed her fingertips along her arm. It stung where she had wrenched it out of his rock-solid grip. A two-mile walk home was preferable to his rotten company.
The distant glow of streetlights in Snowgum Creek and the full moon hovering overhead lit her path beside the deserted country road. She kicked a stone out of the way, not caring about the damage to her designer-label leather boot. Back home for four weeks and she’d already found trouble. If only she’d followed her mother’s recommendation for a handyman instead of employing an old school friend.
Tears built in her eyes and she bit her lower lip, refusing to let them flow. She had made a mistake in trusting him, but it wouldn’t happen again. Jed’s charming smile had hidden a dark heart and an arrogance she didn’t remember from their school days. How dare he assume she was desperate for male attention, just because she was a twenty-seven-year-old widow?
The headlights of an approaching car illuminated the isolated road. She dipped her head, hoping the driver would ignore her. The high beams blinded her and she squeezed her eyes shut. Her throat tightened as the light passed, the brakes squeaked, and the vehicle slowed. Please, Lord, keep me safe. I don’t need any more problems tonight.
Gravel crunched under the car’s tires and the vehicle swung around, headlights brightening the road ahead. She sighed, her mouth set in a grim line as she turned to face it.
She stepped away from the edge of the road, a flicker of hope igniting in her heart. The people in the car could be concerned citizens who were willing to help her without asking too many questions.
The headlights dimmed and the car crawled to a stop, the passenger window lowered. A young girl rested her head on a pillow in the backseat, her innocent face serene as she slept.
Amy took a few hesitant steps forward and crouched to look inside the car. A younger boy slept beside the girl and a familiar pair of chocolate-brown eyes met her gaze from the driver’s seat. Ben Morton.
She swallowed hard, captivated by the warmth emanating from his eyes. Now in his early thirties, his handsome face had matured, and the family resemblance to Luke, her boss and Ben’s younger brother, was more pronounced. She hadn’t spoken to Ben in years, not since she was his younger sister Rachel’s best friend in high school.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can connect with me on my website, blog, Facebook page and Twitter.Website: http://www.narelleatkins.com
Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins
Narelle, thank you for visiting with us again. I'll read the book as soon as it arrives. As I've told you before, I love novels set in Australia.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Nurse's Perfect Match - Christianbook.com
The Nurse's Perfect Match (Heartsong Presents) - Amazon
The Nurse's Perfect Match (Heartsong Presents) - Kindle
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