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Friday, November 15, 2013

Taking Tea with...Fiona Lowe

It is my very great pleasure to welcome one of my best  buddies to take tea with me indeed we do in real life.

Fiona Lowe, HMB Medical, single title contemporary author and now indie author, RITA Award winner and old chum (and my 'go to' girl)... It is lovely to have you here today.

You and I have shared many a cup of tea and other, slightly stronger,  beverages. Perhaps you can tell me what is your most memorable cup of tea?

Thanks for inviting me to tea, Ms. Stuart! It’s  lovely to be here. I’ve drunk cups of tea all around the world but the most memorable has to be the one I had at 5am on a small station in the far north of Malaysia. We’d spent the night on a very over crowded 3rd class train, complete with people on the roof and chickens in the carriage. Unbeknown to us, our night of travel coincided with the eve of Hari Raya Haji, a huge Muslim festival and public holiday and everyone was trying to get home. That train journey is my most memorable!  Anyway, at 5am and with no sleep, we fell out onto our station and I had what I call ‘The night duty nausea.’ I felt so sick and I sank onto a bench seat and said, “I need something to eat.”

My ever-loving DH went looking for food and came across a man squatted down in front of a little fire making chapattis and sweet, hot tea. Now I am usually a black tea with milk, no sugar and served in a china cup girl, but here I was holding a glass filled with black tea, no milk and about an inch of sugar at the bottom.  It was THE BEST glass of tea I’ve ever had. I got a second. I ate the chapattis and fifteen minutes later, I was a new woman! I have never forgotten that cup of tea and just thinking about it braces me with new energy!

You began your writing career writing medical romances for HMB. Your career has taken a few interesting turns along the road.  What was the best career decision you made?

I love writing medical romances but they don’t go on shelf in the USA which is a big market . I was frustrated by that and I also  found myself at a point where I was feeling creatively stale so I wrote Boomerang Bride. It was a totally different book. For a start it was a single-title novel of 93,000 words with scope to tell more than two people’s stories. What I discovered was that it flexed different writing muscles but it also strengthened the ones I had. It brought the joy of writing back and now I love writing the two different styles of books. 

Best career decision? You know, I don’t feel I have made one. I haven’t had a lot of choice. I know we all hear the stories of a few lucky people who have publishing houses bidding against each other to secure their book, but although we hear those stories, they are in the minority.  Boomerang Bride faced 12 print house publishing rejections and I was left with a book I believed in and no one else did. I guess I had two choices back in 2010 when the publishing world was very different from the one we know today and publishing yourself was barely known. I either left it on the computer or I took a punt on it with an eBook publishing house. I chose the then new Carina Press because it was the digital-first arm of Harlequin.  Carina Press have been very supportive of me and their authors. It’s only because of their offer to print one eBook per author that made it possible for Boomerang Bride to be entered into the RWA Rita award and Australian RuBY award.

You recently launched yourself into the world of “Indie” publishing with a 12,500 word short story,  what was the inspiration for that story?

Last year I rode 591km/367miles over nine days on the Great Victorian Bike Ride. Three thousand cyclists turned tiny little towns into tent cities as we cycled up and over steep hills, through soporific heat and hypothermia-inducing cold. As I cycled along, I dreamed up a story about two fictitious people on the ride and then used the journey as the back drop to the story. On The Road Again is a reunion story. Can people change and if so, can past hurts be forgiven? It’s the perfect length to read just before you turn out the light at night.

I was with you at RWA National when you won the RITA for BOOMERANG BRIDE (which then went on to win the RUBY – the Australian equivalent), what were your emotions when your name was announced and what has it meant to you since then?

Fiona, Alison and the golden lady!
I was so blessed to have you as my ‘date’ that  night! I had taken the nomination as a win because I really thought I had no chance against the other more established, single-title authors. So that night, I was there for the glitz and glamour and to see if the author I had predicted to win, would. I remember hearing ‘Boomerang’ and then this whoop of noise went around the auditorium (there were a lot of Carina Press authors and Australian writing mates there cheering - AS: and your "date" was shrieking like she was a teenager at a Bieber concert!) and I remember  you hugging me as disbelief rushed me. I know Angela James , the executive editor of Carina Press, and I shared an ‘OMG, really?’ look.  The win took a few days to sink it. I kept stroking my golden lady and then getting out the cleaning cloth to remove my sticky prints ;-) (and of course everybody else had to have their cuddle too!)

The night I won the RuBY, Angela James texted me to say Boomerang Bride was going into print in the USA. Right now it’s out in mass market paperback!

Have you left the world of HMB Medicals behind?

Not at all! In fact, I have a medical romance out this month. Gold Coast Angels; Bundle of Trouble is a stand-alone novel but it’s also book three in the Gold Coast Angels series. The other three books have been written by Marion Lennox, Amy Andrews and Fiona McArthur.   Bundle of Trouble is a recovery book; two people have been hammered by life and are finding their way back and daring to dream again. 

Which brings us to your “Wedding” trilogy. I loved, loved, loved Boomerang Bride and I am currently reading the second one. What was the inspiration behind this series?

Oddly enough, the inspiration came from a rejection I got on Boomerang Bride. That particular editor wanted the book to focus more on the town. Of course, that would have made Boomerang Bride a totally different book so I thought, I’ll write a small-town wedding series and that is how Wedding Fever and Whitetail, Wisconsin, with its large cast of characters came into be. Saved by the Bride (April 2012) is the first novel where the good citizens of Whitetail are trying to save their town from financial ruin and a mayor who appreciates their best intentions but thinks she knows best. Of course there is a very sexy business man who is a fish-out-of-water, a dysfunctional family and a lot of laughs and the occasional tear.

Picture Perfect Wedding (August 2012) features the sexiest dairyman you’ve ever met, a determined wedding photographer  and a family facing the biggest change in six generations. The final book in the series comes out late January and is Runaway Groom; an Aussie riding from Antarctica to Alaska on a Harley Davidson. What’s his worst nightmare? Being stuck in a town obsessed with weddings so yeah, I made that happen ;-)

Talking about bikes….both motor and the push bike variety, have you got a story? Share it with me and go into the draw for a copy of my short story, On The Road Again

A bit about Fiona:

Fiona Lowe is a RITA® and R*BY award-winning, multi-published author with Harlequin and Carina Press. Whether her books are set in outback Australia or in the mid-west of the USA, they feature small towns with big hearts, and warm, likeable characters that make you fall in love. When she's not writing stories, she's a weekend wife, mother of two 'ginger' teenage boys, guardian of 80 rose bushes and often found collapsed on the couch with wine. You can find her at her websitefacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN (A romantic short story)

“Dr. Felicity Hamilton-Smith desperately needs a change of scene so she signs up for a ten-day bike ride around Victoria. The last thing she expects is to run slap-bang into her former fianc√©. For her, the past is over and best left behind, or so she thinks.
The last time Dr. Drew Baxter saw Felicity was when he broke her heart when he left to serve in Afghanistan. Now, seeing her again, is breaking his”

Available in all eBook formats for 99cents (AS: !) from

An author can dream... getting my dirty fingerprints of the Golden Lady when FL wasn't watching!