Monday 19 December 2022


Hello my darlings, it's CHRISTMAS! I just love it: the music, the tree, decorations and lights, the excited faces on the children (and maybe a few adults, eg. me), church, the food, oh my gosh, the food, social get togethers, romantic Christmas movies (definitely addicted), the gifts and cards, oh my. I'm a total Christmas tragic. You?

I always start my Christmas reading early. It gets me in the mood and totally sparks joy, so why not? Here's six of the best festive reads I've found (and there's heaps more waiting on my Kindle).

I truly loved The Christmas Spirit by Debbie Macomber. You all know I love her annual Christmas story, and this one kicked off the spirit of the season for me. Two single friends, Peter - a small town pastor, and Hank - a pub owner, impulsively decide to 'swap jobs' just before Christmas, each convinced they work harder than the other, and maybe a little concerned their busy lives have prevented them from finding romance. Ha! Cue frantic-ness with two lovely romances to enjoy.  

Picture credit:

One Christmas Knight by Kathleen Creighton is a blast from the past, first published in 1997 but making a charming comeback. It's a sweet story about a pregnant woman who - yes, you guessed it - goes into sudden labour when she's driving through a blizzard. A soft-hearted trucker stops to help, and he is totally fabulous the way he copes. All the love here! A baby and Christmas!

Picture credit:

Scrooge and the Girls Next Door by Melanie Jacobson was LOL fun, a wonderful grumpy/sunshine Christmas story. The grump is awful at the beginning, totally uptight, but I'm pleased to report there's much less grump by the end. Imagine my delight when I realised this is a series, I'm totally getting the other stories. Loved this one so big.

Picture credit:

Snowed In For Christmas by Sarah Morgan is an absolute delight. Get a big extended family and various assorted others and snow them into a big Scottish mansion at Christmas, and it's a recipe for disaster. No, wait, a recipe for romance, right? RIGHT? Ha, read it and see. All the feels in this one. I do love Sarah Morgan's ability to make me care so much. Ah, Christmas. 💝

Picture credit:

I promised you six books, but wow, I confess that Life Has Rushed Past and I still have two more I'm absolutely dying to read before Christmas. Think I'll make it? The first is Mistletoe Kisses by Nana Malone, and isn't the cover absolutely divine? A brooding billionaire (nice) gives our heroine a reason to love Christmas after she's been dumped by some loser we don't need to care about. Yes please. 

Picture credit:

I've been hearing a lot of buzz about Viola Shipman, so I've just picked up his book A Wish For Winter. According to the blurb, it's a book for people who love books about books, missed connections and the magic of Christmas. With a mysterious Santa in there somewhere. Tick, tick, tick, tick, wow, can't wait.

Picture credit:

Because I can, I'm going to add one extra. Many of you know Robin Lee Hatcher for her stunning award-winning book The Shepherd's Voice. It's how I discovered her, and I've been a faithful reader ever since. So, ta-da! here's A Carol For Christmas. I'm so looking forward to it.

Picture credit:

Ah, readers. So many books, so little time, but I hope and pray you do have time to sit down and enjoy some festive reading. You deserve it! Give yourself a little Christmas gift: read a book.

Be kind, be careful, be the best you can be. 

Merry Christmas precious people, and may you have a bright, shining Happy New Year!

Love from Miranda xxxx

I love to love:    you guessed it, ALL the Christmas romances. 

I love to laugh:  at unexpected humour in books. Scrooge and the Girls Next Door did that to me.

I love to learn:   what your fave Christmas authors/romances are. Do tell!

Monday 14 November 2022

What's Keeping You Going in 2022?

As I sit down to write this blog it's 9:02 pm the night it is due... publication is but a short three hours away, so it needs to get done.

Also open on my screen is the short story I mention further below (the one that's due to be published in January) which is not finished. That deadline sailed about six weeks ago and I'm embarrassed to have missed it. The publishers are GREAT, don't get me wrong, but it's not a good feeling to know that you've not met a commitment. For those who've taken the Strengths test with Becca Syme, I'm a #1 Responsibility, so missing a due date bites hard. I've sworn to myself it'll be done tonight.

And, I don't know about you, but I feel a bit like a mouse running on one of those little wheels... I'm working the day job, recruiting to replace two members of my team, managing lots family stuff, sitting down to write only almost falling asleep at the desk, trying to figure out how we're fitting everything in around Christmas and I'm TIRED! Pretty sure I'm still processing 2020 and we're almost into 2023! 

I just want to take to my bed with a good book or twelve and pretend the world doesn't exist until the New Year rolls around and we're all inspired to begin with a clean slate.

Hanauma Bay, Oahu. Author's photo

But that's not possible! 

Instead, I decided to plan a holiday. 

I mean, a holiday to Hawaii (who doesn't love Hawaii) is definitely something to look forward to, right?

And I've spoiled myself booking a four night stay at Volcano House with an extra special room overlooking Halema'uma'u Crater (part of the Kilaeua volcano). I CANNOT WAIT!

I also decided to give myself a little grace.

We are all only human, and we can only do what we can do. 

I'm trying to focus on the important things at work, and I'm looking for opportunities to ask for help. And I'm making sure I get a little fun every day - #WillowsDiner (link below) helps a lot with that!

All that being said, I'm still working on getting through one day at a time and so I thought this would be a good place to crowdsource some other ideas. 

Tell me below, what's keeping you going in 2022?

A little shameless self promotion

Dearest Breathless Readers, today I’m finishing my blog with a little shameless self-promotion, introducing you to The Billionaire Fling, a short story anthology which launches in January 2023.

My story – One Night with London’s Most Eligible Bachelor – is in the anthology with more than twenty other shorts from best-selling and award-winning authors.

This is an international anthology, organised by The New Romance Café/Romance Café Publishing and it is particularly close to my heart because all proceeds from sales of the anthology are donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Both my mother and sister have had breast cancer, and my sister (in the wedding dress!) is still fighting it, so anything that brings us closer to a cure is worth it in my book!

If you want to buy, The Billionaire Fling can be pre-ordered here.

Champagne, sports cars, private jets: these powerful billionaires can buy everything but love. 

With the world at their command, how will they cope with the one person who wants their heart, not their money?

Strap on your red sole stilettos, pop open the champagne, and dive into our billionaires' glittering happy ever afters.

Over twenty titillating stories from USA Today best-selling and award-winning romance authors in a spicy billionaire collection curated by The New Romance Cafe, with ALL proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Kristine Charles writes sexy tales where coffee (and red wine) is abundant, designer shoes and handbags are cheap, chocolate has no calories, and men always put the toilet seat down. Find her at or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram via Linktree.

LOVE TO LOVE: holiday planning... when I need to escape, I spend five minutes looking up something new to see or do in Hawaii. Bring on my trip in February!

LOVE TO LAUGH: Check out @saruh2themax on Instagram (or TikTok). Her #WillowsDiner videos are THE BEST. They cheer me up every day!

LOVE TO LEARN: from Sarra Cannon. I'm starting to think about my plans for next year and I'm using Sarra's HB90 method (which, in short, has you plan in 12 weekly chunks with a focus on what tasks move you towards your goals). If you want to check Sarra out, her YouTube channel is great. 

Monday 10 October 2022

Rekindling One's Creativity


Rekindling One's Creativity

By Jayne Kingsley

So, it's been a year. Quite a few, really, but let's not delve down that rabbit hole. I agreed to write this blog months ago; fresh into a new year for which I had grand romance writing and kick ass life plans. January rolled into February, and I started a new career path by returning to university, naively thinking I could handle full time study, kids, a house, being an awesome wife, and writing romance.
I have a confession. I haven't written a word of romance since February. In fact, I haven't read a romance novel in over two months and quite frankly feel like my creative skills have packed up, dusted their brain space a little and trotted off to Bora Bora to soak in the sunshine and sip mimosas all day long. And I'd like them to come home now, please!

 But how does one switch from writing carefully crafted and extensively researched academic reports and essays back into the wonderful world of creative writing? My brain is full to the brim with behaviour management skills, literacy blocks, and mathematically rich lesson plan sequences, (I'm retraining as a teacher btw, so yes, I really DO need my creativity back to keep up with my future students) but creatively I feel ... almost numb.
I miss writing romance. I miss reading romance, the type that draws you in and shakes your very core. I miss my tribe.
Regrettably, the university year still has a few months before I'm freed from its clutches for this year, but I decided to hunt for a few tips on adding a little more balance to my days, hoping that by doing so my creativity will naturally follow the golden path back to where it belongs (one can only hope; Bora Bora and mimosas are a pretty temptation to leave).

Tip 1:Mindfulness

I'm sure you've heard of it. It's the practice of being present in the moment, being aware of our thoughts and just taking a beat. My daughter, Miss 7, does mindfulness at school, and asked me to install the app Smiling Minds. It's free (no, this isn't some weird third-party promo I promise!) but I gave it a go and well, I'm a bit of a fan. Finding just five minutes a day to sit and soak in my thoughts, listen to the world and be present can only be described as a delicious treat amongst the hectic schedule that is my life. I highly recommend this one.

Tip 2: Colouring

I guess this is linked to mindfulness, since adult colouring books are still a huge trend, but I'm putting it separately as I feel they deserve their own time allotment. I love drawing, and it's another activity that I need to find more time for. It's peaceful, and ever so rewarding to see colour bloom across a once blank page. I even have a few colouring apps on my phone now. Not as blissful, I'll admit, but they do hit some of the criteria.
Buy here

Tip 3: Daydreaming

This is perhaps the one that I am lacking the most. I used to lie in my head, characters nattering to be written, ideas appearing thick and fast for yet another story I wanted to write. Now I daydream about having already handed in an assignment and receiving a distinction on my last maths exam. Sad, but true. I used to have a lot more time alone, where I could go for a walk and let my mind wander. These days, not so much, but it's a good goal that's certainly going on my list.

Tip 4: Dancing

Dance like no one is watching, and if they are, tell them to come shake their booty too! I love to dance, and I make it a habit to try and fit in at least one danceathon with my kids each week. It's fun, it makes you smile, and it is good exercise to boot. All things that can help one's inner creativity find its way back to the surface.

I'm sure there are loads more tips for bringing a spark of creativity back, but these are the four that I plan to start incorporating into my life. I'd love to hear if you have any suggestions?

I love to love... watching kids movies with my girls during school holidays (Let It Go rendition anyone?)
I love to laugh... at my terrible attempts to learn the floss dance move.
I love to learn... how bees make honey. We've just bought a beehive so bring on more learning! (Okay, I may be my own worst enemy).

Monday 19 September 2022

#RWAus22… Baby, we’re BACK!

Over a month ago now, #RWAus22 wrapped up in Fremantle and, as usual, I’m only now getting to wrap my head around the absolute whirlwind that was our first fully national, in-person conference in THREE YEARS! #RWAus19 in Melbourne was SO LONG AGO!

This year, I’m blogging my takeaways for Breathless in the Bush, and those takeaways can, for me, be grouped into three main headings: Decisions, Consequences, and Character.

Check out why these three headings below.

#1 Decisions

International guests Becca Syme and Zoe York both talked at various times about decisions, and how those decisions then impact on writing, and writing careers.

One of the fundamental skills Becca teaches is to ‘question the premise.’ I can hear you all asking what that means, so, to illustrate, here’s an example from Becca’s book, Dear Writer, You Need to Quit (which I have bought in actual book form, read twice, highlighted and it now lives on my desk):

Good writers write every day.

But, do they?

Here’s another one:

You can’t edit a blank page.

But, can’t you? (And, sorry to all the La Nora Stans who are stoning me in their heads right now for challenging this one. I love La Nora too, promise)

Becca’s whole perspective is about finding what works for you, given your particular bundle of strengths and characteristics and ways of doing things. To stop making decisions about how you do things based on how OTHER people do them and make decisions that WORK FOR YOU. And, if you want more about that, check out Dear Writer, You Need to Quit by Becca which is an easy, and FABULOUS read.

Similarly, Zoe also talked about not just doing what everyone else is doing and thinking that will build your career. She talked about not seeking ten-word answers (i.e. the easy answer) but asking better questions (see the three minute scene from The West Wing here which explains this way better than I can, and you can watch the BRILLIANT Martin Sheen doing the BRILLIANT, albeit pretend, Josiah Bartlet). She also talked about questioning the goals of the person giving you advice and making sure that their goals align with your goals before making the decision to TAKE the advice.

#2 Consequences

Following on from Decisions – we have consequences.

Another message I took away from the conference was to be aware of where I expend my energy.

Becca uses the idea of energy pennies to illustrate this idea: imagine you have a finite number of energy pennies to use for each day, and every decision you make expends a certain number. One penny when you decide what you have for breakfast, twenty to process all the negativity when you start scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, even more when you start fighting with posters, whether online or in your head.

The limited number of energy pennies you have is why you need to make good decisions! You don’t want to be expending energy on decisions that aren’t the right decisions for you, or for your writing career.

#3 Character

And then, decisions and consequences come together in your CHARACTERS!

We were lucky enough to get a two-fer when Maisey Yates and Jackie Ashenden presented their Driven by Character session. Maisey and Jackie are both great - #BFFGOALS – and they talked some about the push/pull of decision and consequence as driving characters along.

They also talked about those decisions and consequences having to be in accordance with the character’s character (i.e. what makes them them), and those decisions and consequences having to have emotional ramifications.

You know, it all sounds so easy when I write it in one little paragraph but… This stuff is hard, and this session was a great reminder.

And, finally, the Award Winners

Last, but not least, CONGRATULATIONS to all of the RUBY award winners for 2022 (list here at the end of Amy Andrews’ latest Booktopia blog), and to the EMERALD (Carrie Clarke) and SAPPHIRE (Tanya Nellestein) award winners.

If you were there, tell us below what were your take aways from Conference? If you weren’t there, do any of my take aways resonate for you?

Kristine Charles writes sexy tales where coffee (and red wine) is abundant, designer shoes and handbags are cheap, chocolate has no calories, and men always put the toilet seat down. Find her at or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also get her latest - Catch and Kiss - in the It's Always Been You charity anthology (proceeds to breast cancer research) here.

LOVE TO LOVE: the book I’m reading, Ainsley Booth’s PRIME MINISTER, book one in the Frisky Beavers Series (Ainsley is also Zoe York!). This book is fabulous!


LOVE TO LEARN: From Becca Syme. Her Write Better-Faster courses, and Need to Quit books are the BOMB!

Monday 8 August 2022

What is the Grand tour?

By Cassandra Samuels

With the exciting news that the next Bridgerton series (3) on Netflix will focus on Penelope and Colin I thought I would talk about The Grand Tour. In the first series, Colin goes off to do his grand tour where Pen writes to him faithfully while he is away. Although the "Tour" was not specific to the Regency period it was important to the men of the upper classes to gain maturity and experience through travel.

The Grand Tour was a time for privileged young men to travel abroad and gain an education that could not be found in books or the hallowed halls of Cambridge and Oxford.


 Emil Brack - "Planning the Grand Tour" by Marcus, GK

The tour was usually undertaken by young men and their tutor. They would travel to such places as France, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece and sometimes, if one was particularly keen, even as far as Africa and Egypt. Although some women were known to also travel broadly during this time they would not have had the same freedoms as men.

A young charge and his tutor
(or Bear-leader)

The whole idea of the tour was for young men to have the opportunity to travel and learn about the different cultures, languages and history of the places he visited. This would give him extra polish and a certain sophistication that was necessary to form character before taking on the daunting task of the family responsibilities - such as running an estate. It would also give them an edge over others in society who could not afford a Grand Tour.
CC - The Parthenon

This jaunt abroad could last anywhere from two to four years and cost his family a fortune. This was not generally seen so much as a burden but as the finishing touches of a young man’s necessary education.

Gentlemen would return laden down with art collected on their journeys. Often the paintings would be portraits of themselves in front of historic landmarks to record their time away. They would also send back keepsakes such as rugs, furniture and antiquities. 

William Beckford's 1780-1781 Grand Tour through Europe shown in red

Although the Grand Tour was made more difficult during the Napoleonic Wars, as soon as it was safe to travel again, young men flocked back to the continent and beyond in search of education and adventure. However, with the invention of the railway, travel became easier and more affordable for people of lesser means, and so the elite exclusivity of the Grand Tour was all but lost.

"Canaletto - View the Arch of Constantine with the Coliseum [1742-45]" by Gandalf's Gallery is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0  
This may all sound delightful but there were many dangers to be encountered when travelling abroad. A young man was likely to have his money stolen (if not his life), become infected by some kind of sexually transmitted disease, fevers and other nasty ailments and sometimes even kidnapped for ransom. However, this did not seem to stop many young men from taking the treacherous journey across the sea (which was a risk on its own) in search of enlightenment. 

Instead of taking bags of blunt with them, most would travel with letters of credit, which they would present at the major cities – a little like travellers cheques so that they only carried around the coins necessary to pay for food and lodgings. They also often carried letters of introduction as well, so that they could integrate into the local aristocracy.

Courtesy of wikimedia commons

Later in the Victorian period, travel abroad was more often taken by families and young women with an artistic bent or an adventurous spirit. They were encouraged to spend time in Italy and France admiring art and culture in all its forms. (See the movie, Room with a view for an example of this sort of travel.)

Of course, the world seems so much smaller now than it was then. With the advancements in air travel and the infinite resources of the Internet, you can travel and learn about other cultures from the comfort of your armchair, but it can never quite replace the thrill of seeing those sites in person.

If you could have done a grand tour during your early adult years where would you have gone first?

Love to Love having my daughter relocate back home with us.

Love to Laugh at the TV show HaveYou Been Paying Attention

            Love to Learn about History in all its forms - I just wished we learned from it as well.

Monday 11 July 2022

Plotter or pantser?

Ways of writing 

By Sharon Bryant

How do you approach your writing? Are you a plotter who creates a detailed outline before you begin your novel? You may be a pantser who prefers the more organic approach of not knowing where a story is going when you begin to write it. Perhaps your approach to writing lies somewhere between these two extremes. 
Plotters often consciously utilise the structure of a romance novel when they are in the planning stage. They may make detailed notes re their characters, settings and plot lines. Some will use cards to summarise the key events in each chapter as they plot out the hills and valleys of their stories. Many story problems can be identified in the planning stage using this approach. Plotters may also know their characters well before they start to write. This can result in producing well-rounded characters who the reader can relate to. 
Pantsers may dislike detailed plotting, finding it stifles their creativity. Instead they allow their story to develop organically. If they reach a dead end, they go back, identify the problem and rewrite as needed.

Which approach is the best? 

I don't believe one approach is better than the other. Both have advantages and disadvantages. 
Plotters know their destination. This may make it more likely for beginning writers to finish a novel without getting lost on the way. If you prefer not to write your novel from start to finish, plotting may help you link different scenes together. It may also allow you to avoid extensive rewriting. 

Of course, the plotting approach has disadvantages. You need to put in a lot of work before you begin writing your novel. Plotters may spend so long in the plotting stage, that they find it difficult to begin writing. Some plotters lose confidence and leave a project without starting their actual novel.

Pantsers have the freedom to just begin writing, and take their story wherever they wish. They spend more of their valuable writing time, immersed in the writing process so it may be easier for them to develop their own voice. This immersion may aid the creation of well-developed characters. 

On the other hand, pantsers may write themselves into a corner, and become blocked, uncertain where the story should go next. Some writers find this very frustrating. They may also find it more difficult to write when inspiration doesn't strike.

 How do you approach your writing? 

There is no one correct way to go about writing your novel or short story. Your approach will be as individual as you are. How do you write? Are you a plotter, a pantser or somewhere between? 

I love to love thinking about what I may write. 
I love to laugh with my writing friends. 
I love to learn more about the process of writing.

Monday 13 June 2022

The Protege Effect

 By Alyssa J. Montgomery

I have always found the romance writing community to be incredibly generous in terms of support and encouragement. Fellow writers have constantly been prepared to share knowledge and experiences. Although I am still honing my skills, I have always been happy to try to assist others along the road to publication when the opportunity presents and to share any knowledge I've gleaned. 

This past weekend I've just finished co-teaching a writing course. When it wrapped up, we received a lot of very positive feedback and gratitude from course participants. However, we were both left feeling we had gained as much, if not more, than we had given. 

Image from PixaBay

The term "Protege Effect" is the effect that when we teach, we explain ideas to others and this reinforces our own understanding. There have been numerous studies done which demonstrate the effect. In one I recall reading about, two groups of students were taught exactly the same material. Prior to the lesson, one group of students were told they would be tested on the material; the others were told they would need to teach the material. Although no teaching was ever required, both groups were asked to complete a test at the end of the lecture. The group who had been told they would need to teach the subject matter were found to have more correct responses and generally better recall.

The course I co-presented was one for beginner writers in the 25+ age bracket. The subjects we covered included characterisation, character development, plotting, Goal/Motivation/Conflict etc. All very basic writing topics that authors 'know' and hopefully understand and apply instinctively. However having to teach on these topics sent me back to notes and textbooks so I could make sure I imparted the subject matter concisely and accurately. Reviewing the topics reinforced and perhaps deepened my understanding. I wanted to make certain of my knowledge and to ensure I didn't have gaps in these areas.

Through teaching, I re-discovered things I already knew and solidified my  knowledge. The ensuing questions and discussion on the topics with the course participants also gave me some new insights into things which I hadn't considered.

                                                                                         Image of Seneca courtesy of Pixabay

The philosopher, Seneca, said "While we teach we learn". It's true that I've learnt again in my preparation of the course material. I've also had my mind opened to other angles on the subjects through the discussion with, and questions from, the participants.

One of the aims of the course was that the participants would go forward and form their own writing support/critique group. Part of encouraging them to gain confidence in critiquing each others work and accepting the critiques of others involved time to critique their work. Again, this was beneficial because critiquing the work of others can make us aware of flaws or weaknesses in our own writing styles. 

It felt great to be able to (hopefully) help aspiring authors along on their journey to publication. It was lovely to meet this enthusiastic and very talented group of writers and I benefited from this course by reviewing basic writing topics and principles. After a long hiatus from writing (due to the time demands from my professional speech pathology hat), I felt like a writer again and have been re-energised to write. 

                                         Image courtesy of Pixabay

In an internet article, "Small Things and the Surprising Benefits of Teaching others" (, Robb Stevens writes:

           "A candle loses none of its own light by lighting another.

            In fact, lighting another candle only adds more light."

I love candlelight. Let's not be a single flame but use the light we've been given and, whenever we can, let's keep lighting some more!

 Image courtesy of Pixabay

Would love to hear of your thoughts and experiences.

Love to love encouraging others on their journey to publication.

Love to laugh as I recount some of the mistakes I made on my journey to publication.

Love to learn through teaching others.

Monday 11 April 2022

An Interview with Nicola Cornick


By Marilyn Forsyth

At the end of last year I applied for, and was successful in gaining, a mentorship through The History Quill with international best-selling dual timeline author Nicola Cornick. I cannot praise both Nicola and The History Quill enough. I learned so much with the help of this lovely lady and, to cap it all off, she agreed to this interview.

Welcome to our blog, Nicola. We’re delighted to have you here. What is one ‘must have’ when you’re writing?  

A cup of tea, English Breakfast for preference, no matter the time of day.

Can't beat English Breakfast! What was your big break in publishing? 

My big break came when I had been writing for 12 years and the historical editor at Harlequin Mills and Boon sent me a page of revision suggestions for a manuscript that I’d sent in and encouraged me to resubmit it. That was True Colours, my first Regency romance.

Wow! 12 years! Persistence does pay off. What do you think are the key ingredients for a great historical novel? 

A great story to tell, an immersive historical world and characters who are authentic to their time but are dealing with timeless themes we can all relate to.

Which historical novelists do you like to read? 

Susanna Kearsley, Anna Campbell, Diana Norman and Daphne Du Maurier to name only a few of my favourites!

How lovely to see our own Anna Campbell there! And I love Susanna Kearsley, too. What is your favourite historical period to write about? 

It’s hard to choose but the seventeenth century in England just edges in as favourite. The Civil War period gave women more freedom and opportunity as well as creating enormous emotional conflict. It’s a fascinating period to write about.

What inspired the story of The Last Daughter

Link to buy (Aus)

I love exploring real life historical mysteries. The Last Daughter was inspired by the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower during the reign of Richard III. It’s a complicated time period that has interested me for years.

Such a beautiful cover! And the Princes in the Tower remains a fascinating mystery. Can you tell us more about the story? 

The Last Daughter is a dual time story set in the present and the 15th century. Serena Warren returns to the village of Minster Lovell in Oxfordshire to try to find out what happened when her sister Caitlin disappeared ten years before. In doing so she uncovers a family mystery that links her to the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower five hundred years before. The historical part of the book tells the story of Anne, wife of Francis Lovell, the closest ally of Richard III, who is drawn into a plan to protect the princes.

I am so looking forward to reading this! Who would you cast as your main characters? 

Jonathan Bailey from Bridgerton would make a brilliant Francis Lovell, and Catriona Balfe would be a perfect Anne.

Gorgeous pairing! I adore Catriona! What challenges did the book pose for you? 

Writing dual time books is always a challenge for me as I am a pantser by inclination and having to intertwine two time periods requires a lot of planning. The Last Daughter was also hard because it was written during the pandemic when I was finding it difficult to concentrate and was also dealing with family issues. I was also trying to fit a huge swathe of complex history into a comparatively short word count and I had to edit heavily.

I have absolutely no idea how a pantser can write dual timelines, and yet you do it so brilliantly. I greatly enjoyed The Phantom TreeWhat are you working on next?

Link to pre-order (Aus)

I’m currently revising my next book, The Winter Garden, which will be published in October. It’s another dual time book, set in the present and at the end of the Tudor era/beginning of the 17th century and it looks at the women behind the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. We hear a lot about Guy Fawkes and Robert Catesby, but what role did their female relatives play in the story and how did it impact on their lives? I enjoyed exploring that.

Ashdown House Oxfordshire.

Research is one of my favourite parts of writing about history. Any advice for aspiring/emerging historical fiction writers? 

For any writer, I’d always suggest writing about something you feel passionately about. Your love for your subject will shine out.

Excellent advice that I've tried to follow! 

Love to Love my family and friends for their generosity, kindness and support.

Love to Laugh at the antics of my 8-month-old puppy!

Love to Learn more about history all the time.

Thanks so much for joining us, Nicola! 

If you have a comment or a question for Nicola, she would love to hear from you!

BIO: Nicola Cornick is an international bestselling and award-winning novelist who has written over thirty historical mysteries and historical romances in a career spanning twenty years. Her books sell in over twenty-five countries, have been translated into many languages and been published in multiple formats including e-book, audio and manga. She currently writes dual time fiction for Harper Collins HQ. She is historian and guide at the National Trust 17th century Ashdown House in Oxfordshire.

 In her spare time Nicola is a guide dog puppy walker.

The gorgeous Baden, guide dog.





Link to buy The Last Daughter paperback: