30 January 2014

Getting to know you with Narelle Atkins with giveaway

Getting to know you with debut and Aussie author Narelle Atkins. With giveaway.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Canberra, Australia with my husband and children. I also work ten hours a week as a retail service supervisor. It’s a job that provides endless people watching opportunities. I write during school hours, and all the time when I’m on deadline. My kids cope because we consume copious amounts of chocolate and I don’t notice if their bedrooms are untidy.

2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?
I loved reading Enid Blyton books. The Faraway Tree, The Famous Five, and The Secret Seven series were my favourites. I also liked the Narnia books and the Anne of Green Gables series. (Jenny here I loved Enid Blyton and the Magic Faraway tree series was one of my favourites I so wanted a tree like that to climb, I use to pretend I was in those strange lands)

3. Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and write?
Romance is my favourite genre to read and write. I write contemporary romance set in Australia. I read across genres, mainly Christian fiction, but I always gravitate back to romance. Contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, I read them all.

4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?
Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women series inspired me to think about writing. Jo was a writer and I thought that would be a cool job. I remember tears pouring down my face when I read the part where Beth died. Years later, when my son was five, he contracted scarlet fever. My first thought after receiving the diagnosis from my doctor was Beth died from scarlet fever complications. My son was fine, the antibiotics did their job, and I was thankful for modern medicine.

5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I’ve always loved writing stories. I was the pre-school kid who had numerous imaginary friends and thought that was normal. I found the high school English curriculum dry and boring, for the most part. There wasn’t a lot of opportunity to explore creative writing. Pride and Prejudice was the novel we studied for my HSC final year exams, and a definite highlight of the English curriculum.
I went to university and gained an Economics Degree. I was an avid reader but didn’t think about writing as a career. In my mid 20’s, a few years after I married my husband, I started thinking about writing romance. My husband is my biggest supporter. I started writing my first book which will be released in November 2014, sixteen years after I started writing it.

6. How did you go about becoming an author?
I always wanted to write sweet category romance. I contacted Harlequin Mills and Boon in Australia and they mailed out a copy of their submission guidelines. This was back in the days before I had internet access at home. The guidelines included a recommendation to join Romance Writers of Australia (RWAust), so I joined RWAust and a local in-person monthly critique group.
I was brand new to fiction writing and soon realized I had a lot to learn. I read an article by Mary Hawkins in HeartsTalk, the RWAust newsletter, and discovered the inspirational romance genre. I went on to join Romance Writers of America and their Faith, Hope and Love inspirational chapter.
I took a long break from writing when my children were small. I admire anyone who can write around small children. One of my kids didn’t sleep well for years, and sleep deprivation drained my creative energy. I didn’t lose my burning desire to write, and if anything it grew stronger during those years. In 2006 I was more determined than ever to revise my first book and start my second book.
In 2007 I entered and finaled in a number of romance writing contests. I started critiquing with other writers, joined ACFW, devoured writing craft books and attended writing conferences. I sold my first book, the one I started writing in 1998, to Harlequin Love Inspired Heartsong Presents in September 2012.

7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
I should say an economist, because that’s what I trained to do.

8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?
I like to travel and explore new places. Road trips are fun and I’d love to travel more overseas.

9. Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?
I love visiting the northern beaches in Sydney. I grew up in a house on the northern beaches with ocean views and I spent my summers at the beach.

10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?
I’d like to have a meal with Francine Rivers because I love her writing and books. Roger Federer because he’s my favourite tennis player. I’m watching him play at the Australian Open as I’m answering these questions. Steve Waugh because he’s one of my long-time favourite Aussie cricket players and I’m reading his latest book, The Meaning of Luck.

Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will
be coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web?
I have six upcoming releases with Love Inspired Heartsong Presents. My debut book, Falling for the Farmer, is a February release. The Nurse’s Perfect Match will be released in May 2014, followed by the Doctor’s Return in August 2014. These books are set in the fictitious town of Snowgum Creek near the Snowy Mountains in Australia. My series set in Sydney, Australia will be released in November 2014, February and May 2015.

And she’s incredibly grateful when Jack Bradley offers her a job on his apple farm. Working side by side in the orchards with her best friend’s brother seems like the perfect way to get over her disastrous engagement. Until Kate finds herself falling hard for the handsome farmer.
Jack Bradley knows city-girl Kate isn’t here to stay. Yet suddenly he’s imagining a life with her in the country. When Kate considers going back to the city, can Jack find a way to show her that her real home is here on the farm, by his side?
I can be found online at

Narelle is offering one copy of her new book to someone who leaves a comment on the blog. This is an international giveaway and ends next Thursday Feb 6.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Iola said...

Excellent interview! Thanks, Narelle and Jenny.

Linsey said...

Hi Narelle and Jenny, that was a great post. I learnt so much about you Narelle. It's encouraging to read about how you got into writing and the journey you've been on. I'm excited for you that your books are being published. Falling for the Farmer sounds like it would be a fun read. I'd love to be in the running for a book.

Narelle said...

Hi Jenny, thank you for the invitation to visit your blog. It's a pleasure to be here :)

Hi Iola, thanks for stopping by :)

Hi Linsey, thanks for your encouraging comments :) I will admit to spending a lot of time praying for patience, and there were times when I thought I'd never be offered a contract. Good luck in the drawing!

Mary Hawkins said...

And I thought I knew you fairly well, Narelle! You certainly have overcome many challenges to achieve success at last. Thank you for that encouragement about the Heartstalk article. It is a good example of never knowing how God can use our writing efforts in ways we may never know about.

Ausjenny said...

Thanks for visiting.
Linsey you need to fill in the form above to enter the contest.

Sonja said...

That looks like a great read and a great interview as well. I also loved Louisa May Alcott. It was wonderful!

Jo Wanmer said...

What a great story of determination and focus. I love the way you kept on learning and growing in the craft. Congratulations on your success and may the book be great hits.

Narelle said...

Hi Mary, yes, it's so true that we never know how God can use our writing efforts. Thanks for all the encouragement you've given me over the years :)

Hi Sonja, I remember reading the Little Women series very quickly because I couldn't put them down. I was thankful my mother, who isn't a big reader, had hardback copies of the full series :)

Hi Jo, thanks for your encouraging words :)

Anonymous said...

So excited for Narelle launching her first novel. xx

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo-Anne Berthelsen said...

Interesting to hear more of your background, Narelle--and thanks, Jenny, for the interview. Well done for hanging in there all those years with your writing! God bless you as you negotiate this very exciting part of your writing journey.

Dorothy said...

So great to learn more about your writing journey, Naralle. And thanks for the fun interview, Jenny. Looking forward to reading more now that I've finished and enjoyed Falling For The Farmer. Here's to the next 5 romances!! xx

Dorothy said...

Sorry... Narelle. Not Naralle. :)

Narelle said...

Hi Michelle, Jo-Anne and Dotti, thanks for stopping by :) I appreciate your encouragement and support. Good luck in the drawing!

Anonymous said...

It was interesting to read the background to you becoming published. I'm struggling with that today. I have 11 manuscripts; two have been with an editor over three years, and one for about nine months, but I'm having problems getting a response. There ought to be a better way. LOL

pol said...

Hello Ladies,
I enjoyed all the comments and getting to know this author, I had signed up for this book on goodreads but they are hard to win, I have won a couple. thanks for sharing
Paula O(

Wyn said...

What an exciting year for you with so many new books coming out. They look so interesting I can't wait to read them. The books from your childhood sound interesting. Not being Australian I am not familiar with them. If I see any offered on Kindle I'll download them :) BTW Lucy Maude Montgomery was my father's cousin, so the Anne books were mandatory in our house LOL

Wyndy C

Unknown said...

Narelle, It is nice to get to learn of you and your books. Love the Story line in Falling For The Farmer, would love to read it. Looking forward to adding it to my TBR list
Thank You

Dale said...

Love the interview Jenny and Narelle. Don't enter me in the giveaway though as I already have a copy I am currently reading and enjoying.

Narelle said...

Hi Janice, congratulations on writing 11 manuscripts! That is a big achievement in itself! It's also an achievement to have 3 manuscripts requested by editors.

I remember feeling despondent and wondering if I would ever sell my Aussie contemporary romance stories. Six months before I sold, I started indie publishing Bible study guides and refocusing my creative energy on something that had a tangible outcome. Then, everything changed in a few days when the Heartsong opportunity opened up. I encourage you to hang in there and have your complete mss ready for when the publishing door is opened for you :)

Narelle said...

Hi Paula, It's great to see you here :) I've discovered the Goodreads giveaways are popular with readers. Good luck in the drawing!

Narelle said...

Hi Wyndy, wow, how cool to be related to Lucy Maude Montgomery :) I'm sure it wasn't a hardship to read the Anne books, lol. I was surprised a few years ago when I posted about Enid Blyton on a US group blog, and the majority of American readers hadn't heard of her. Our British literary heritage is strong in Australia. Good luck in the drawing!

Narelle said...

Hi Jackie, It's great to see you here :) I hope you enjoy Falling for the Farmer. Good luck in the drawing!

Narelle said...

Hi Dale, Thanks for your encouraging comments :)

Sherida Stewart said...

Hi Narelle! Your road to becoming a published author is encouraging to read. I remember when you announced in Seekerville or on the FHL loop that you had a contract for not one, but SIX books! Amazing! And they sound great. Thanks to you and Jenny for sharing your story. Blessings!

Narelle said...

Hi Sherida, I'm glad you've found my journey encouraging :) The six book contract is a blessing for so many reasons. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing!

authorkathyeberly said...

I enjoyed your interview, Narelle and Jenny! Sounds like a good book!

Narelle said...

Hi Kathy, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview :) Good luck in the drawing!

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