Monday 21 October 2019

Author Spotlight - Lisa Ireland

Lisa Ireland enjoys kicking off her shoes and relaxing, will never refuse a hot drink, and loves to chat. So please give a warm, chatty welcome to Lisa!


Lisa Ireland is a full-time writer of romance and contemporary women's fiction, who loves to share her knowledge of writing craft with aspiring authors. In 2014 Lisa was a finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Awards in the category of Best New Author, and the following year went on to be one of the top ten debut fiction authors in Australia. Her rural romance, Feels Like Home, is an Australian bestseller. Lisa's fifth book, The Art of Friendship, is out now and her sixth book, The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan, will be published by Penguin Random House in April, 2020. Lisa lives on Victoria's beautiful Bellarine Peninsula with her family. She loves eating but not cooking, is an Olympic-class procrastinator, and (most importantly) minion to a rather large dog. And, of course, being chatty, she loves to connect with her readers on Facebook or Twitter or you can visit her website:

What is one 'must have' when you are writing?
Coffee! I am a caffeine junkie and I can't start my writing day without a large skinny latte. My routine is to go for a walk or run each morning and then grab a coffee on the way home. Once I've exercised and caffeinated, I can start work. I usually head out for second coffee mid-afternoon. This gives me the boost I need to keep writing for the rest of the day.

Do you listen to music as you write?
No, I need silence, although background noise (for example, in a cafe) doesn't bother me. I love music and get too caught up in it to concentrate if I have it on while I'm writing. I do sometimes make a playlist of songs that are meaningful to the book that I am writing. I'll listen to the playlist when I'm doing other things.

What is the premise of your latest book?
In one sentence: The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan (coming May 2020) is about a woman who kidnaps her dementia-affected husband from his nursing home and takes him on a road trip in a Kombi.

Of course, the book is about much more than a road trip. Here's the blurb:

Elderly. Is that how the world sees me? A helpless little old lady? If only they knew. I allow myself a little smirk.

When Shirley Sullivan signs her eighty-two-year-old husband, Frank, out of the Sunset Lodge nursing home, she has no intention of bringing him back.

For fifty-seven years the married couple have shared happiness and heartbreak.

And for most of those years, Shirley Sullivan has been nursing a guilty secret...

These days Frank may not know who she is, but he knows he wants to go home. 
So Shirley enacts an elaborate plan to evade the authorities (and their furious daughter, Fiona) to give Frank the holiday he's always dreamed of.

What unique challenges did the book pose?

This book is told exclusively through Shirley's point of view, which I found challenging. Usually I have multiple POV characters, so the reader sees the story from several perspectives. This time the reader couldn't know anything that my main character didn't know, and that got tricky at times. To make life even more difficult, the story has two separate timelines - past and present. I used first-person present tense for the current day story and third-person past tense for the historical story. I can't tell you the amount of times I started a new chapter in the wrong tense! I'd suddenly realise what I'd done and then have to go back and start the chapter again.

What are you reading at the moment?

I've just finished The Heart of the Cross by Emily Madden, which was wonderful, and I'm about to start Joanna Nell's The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker.

What do you love to love? My boxer, Lulu. We rescued her five years ago when she was literally at death's door. She's now happy and healthy and the most affectionate dog on earth!

What do you love to laugh at? Not so much at, but with my friend, Sally Hepworth. We share a sense of humour and an ability to get ourselves into embarrassing situations. Sally makes me laugh pretty much every day.

What do you love to learn about? People. Whether that's learning about another culture, how people lived in the past or simply something I didn't know about one of my friends, I'm always interested in learning more about people. I often think I would have enjoyed studying psychology.


  1. Great to have you on the blog, Lisa! Loved reading your responses!

  2. Hi Lisa. I love the sound of your new book but even more that you laugh with your friend every day.

    1. Sally is very funny, Cassandra. the only trouble is, we tend to egg each other on and end up getting ourselves into trouble at times.

  3. Your new book sounds super, Lisa. I enjoyed your previous book 'The Shape of Us' very much, and can't wait to read your newie. Congratulations on its release. And, of course, coffee features very highly in my life, such a love of mine. We must be sister at heart...!

  4. Hi Lisa! I love the sound of The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan. Wishing you much success with it.

  5. Hi Lisa. I really, really loved The Shape of Us. Congratulations on a gorgeous story, And I love the sound of your new book. Looking forward to reading it.

    1. Thank you so much for inviting me onto the blog, Enisa xx


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