Cate: Please welcome Aussie author Margaret Tanner. Margaret, will you please share a short bio with us?
Margaret: Hi Cate, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog.
BIO: Margaret Tanner is a multi-published Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically accurate. No book is too old or tattered for her to trawl through, no museum too dusty, or cemetery too overgrown. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.
Margaret is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG) and EPIC. She won the 2007 and 2009 Author of the Year at AussieAuthors.com.
Her novel Frontier Wife has just won the best historical romance novel at the 2010 Readers Favorite Award.
Margaret is married and has three grown up sons, and a gorgeous little granddaughter.
Outside of her family and friends, writing is her passion.
Cate: Major kudos on the award! Well deserved. :) Tell us about Reluctant Father and where it's available.
Margaret: Reluctant Father is published by The Wild Rose Press. It is set against the background of the Vietnam War.
Available from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Fictionwise.
Cate: I'm in the middle of reading it and am having trouble putting it down!
Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Blurb: Jordan Stamford is allergic to babies. At the height of the Vietnam war, this jet-setting playboy, whose motto is ‘money can buy anything,’ arrives in Sarah Watson’s seaside home to redevelop a disused factory complex. Sarah is the only child of an elderly minister of religion and adores her bay side home. She yearns for a loving husband and babies. Will Jordan’s shameful family history, and Sarah’s desperate longing for a child, be an insurmountable barrier for them to overcome?
Excerpt: Lewis Inlet Annual School Bazaar.
The loud crying of a baby erupted in the surrounding crowd, and Jordan Stamford baulked just inside the school gates. Instinctively his hands moved to cover his ears and block the noise, but he was able to stop them at the last second. People surged around him, cutting off retreat, and his stomach muscles clenched, his pulse rate escalated—he was trapped.
The wailing grew worse, reverberating inside his head until his brain felt ready to explode. Teeth gritted, he pushed his way through the crowd. He could get away. It wasn’t like when he was sixteen and trapped on a train with some screaming baby. By the time the train pulled into the station and he could get off, he had been on the verge of hyperventilating.
Taking several shuddering breaths, he fought to get himself under control. This crying baby had resurrected the phobia he’d thought buried years ago. What kind of sniveling coward would go to pieces at the sound of a screaming child? Why should it still bother him so much after all this time? For years he had religiously avoided going anywhere near children. For God’s sake, what had made him drop his guard and come to a school bazaar, of all places?
He didn’t mind making regular donations to charities that looked after neglected children, as long as he didn’t have to present the checks in person. He feared having kids. With his family history, he was genetically predisposed to reject his offspring. No way would he risk bringing a child into the world to suffer the same fate as he had.
Cate: That is just the most adorable cover. What inspired you to write about the theme?
Margaret: I like the 1960’s era because I was a teenager then. I can clearly remember all the controversy of the Vietnam War. Peace marches, anti-war demonstrations, hippies, not to mention the beehive hair-dos, and the tons of hair spray we had to use to keep it in place, the mini skirts and stilettos. Oh, and not forgetting the old manual typewriter I had to use at work. Hardly a day went by that I didn’t come home with black carbon streaked on my blouse. Then there was the black ink under my finger nails because I had to change the typewriter ribbon. Beatle concerts, I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I have very fond memories of the era.
Cate: The Sixties definitely shaped me also. How do you develop your plots and characters?
Margaret: I really can’t say because I never plot a story. It just happens. Characters just pop into my head, and they bring their stories along with them and I start writing. I always write my first draft in long hand because the words just flow out of me that way. When I finish it I type it into the computer.
Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Margaret: I wouldn’t exactly say haunt, but yes, my characters do invade my dreams. In the daylight hours they seem to dog my every footstep until the story is finished, then they leave me in peace.
Cate: What's next for you?
Margaret: At the moment I am in the process of writing a long historical (in excess of 90,000 words). My tag line for it is – Wuthering Heights in Australia.
Cate: Oh, that sounds wonderful. Any other published works?
Margaret: Yes. I have ten novels published now. Three with Whiskey Creek Press and seven with The Wild Rose press
Cate: Wow, impressive. Describe your writing in three words.
Margaret: Dramatic, memorable, emotional.
Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Margaret: For me the challenge is to find time to write. As for most rewarding, holding my book in my hot little hand, turning the pages, inhaling its perfume and worshiping the cover. And the greatest thrill of all? Reading MY book on the train, waving it around a little, letting out deep sighs so fellow travelers will think – wow, that must be a great book.
Cate: Great strategy! :) What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Margaret: An elderly man wrote to me once and said that he picked up my Whiskey Creek Press book, Devil’s Ridge, after his wife left it on a chair and he read it. It is set during the 1st World War, and it brought tears to his eyes because the battles and places I mentioned in France, were the same ones that his late father had fought in. That really touched me.
Cate: How lovely. Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Margaret: I have just finished reading Erin’s Rebel by Susan Macatee and loved it. Prior to that I read and enjoyed Ginger Simpson’s terrific western, Sarah’s Journey. The next novel I plan to read is The Texan’s Irish Bride by Caroline Clemmons, which has received some fabulous reviews, so I can’t wait to start on it. Another of my favourite authors is the talented Cate Masters
Cate: *blushes* You are too kind. Though I agree about the other authors, they're wonderful!
Where can readers find you on the web?
My website is: www.margarettanner.com
My page at TWRP: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/margaret-tanner-m-281.html
I can be found at Whiskey Creek Press: www.whiskeycreekpress.com
Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Margaret: Does the fact that my stories are all set in Australia, turn you off reading them or does it make you want to find out more?
Cate: Readers, Margaret is giving away an e-copy of Reluctant Father to a random commenter... so start commenting. Margaret will draw the winner’s name notify the winner and post the winner’s name here.
Thanks so much for being my guest Margaret! Best of luck with all your projects.