by Anna Campbell
I'd like to offer a big Aussie welcome to my friend Fiona Lowe who writes wonderful emotional Medical romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon. I met Fiona at the Australian romance writers conference just before I (and she) sold so it's always felt like a fated partnership somehow! Her new book THE PLAYBOY DOCTOR'S WEDDING PROPOSAL is just out in the UK and Australia and she's here to celebrate in the lair! If you'd like more information on Fiona and her fantastic Medicals, visit her website.
If you'd like to order any of Fiona's books, a great place to buy them is the Book Depository in the UK. They will post any book anywhere in the world, post free. Well worth checking out!
Congratulations on the UK and Australian release of your latest Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical, THE PLAYBOY DOCTOR’S WEDDING PROPOSAL. Can you tell us about this story?
Thanks so much for having me! And a BIG WAVE to everyone. This story is the second in the Outback Warragurra Duo and my working title was ‘The Reluctant Groom’. I guess it is a story of opposites attract and it tells Emily and Linton’s story. Take one country nurse with bright pink hair, raised with five brothers and who can shoot pool and hotwire cars. Put her on the same page as one urbane citified doctor, raised as an only child and who has never got his Italian leather shoes muddy, and watch the sparks fly.
Both this book and your last, A WEDDING IN WARRAGURRA, which as you know I thought was fantastic, are set in the fictional outback town of Warragurra. Can you tell us a bit about this community?
Warragurra is your quintessential outback town. Set on the banks of the Darling River in outback New South Wales, it sits in a land of heat and dust and the buildings tell the story of bygone boom days when silver lined the streets and Merino wool was gold. Today life is tougher with drought and younger people moving to the city but the resilience of country people shines through.
I’d also love your ideas on using setting as a character in a story because I think you do. One of the things I love is that reading a Fiona Lowe takes me into a whole community.
Oh, thank you, I am so glad you think my towns become a character. I love creating settings and in both Warragurra books the heroes are outsiders and the town wraps its arms around them and holds them close as much as the heroine.
Have you ever lived in the outback?
I haven’t lived in the outback but I have visited often on holidays.
Do you use real places as the inspiration for your settings?
I create fictional towns based on real towns and Warragurra was based on Bourke and Broken Hill with a bit of Menindee thrown in and almost every country town in the Mallee area of Victoria where the wheat is grown and sheep and beef are raised. I have also lived in small town USA and I have to say there is a definite connection between small town life in both places…where everyone knows you and probably knows you too well.
What’s coming up next for you?
I’ve hopefully got three books coming out in 2009…books nine and ten are certain and I’m waiting to hear on 11 as I type. My next story THE DOCTOR CLAIMS HIS BRIDE is set on an island off the northern coast of Australia - outback with a sea twist! THE SURGEON'S SPECIAL DELIVERY is back in the red dust of the outback but it also goes coastal for a bit with a sea-change of sparkling turquoise water.
Ooh, I look forward to both of those! In the lair, we LOVE call stories. Will you share yours with us?
Oh, wow, what a treat to revisit this. It’s been just over three years since I got ‘the call.’ I had got very close the year before but the book had been rejected after a revision request on something never mentioned in the request. My hero wasn’t quite there. It was my first ‘no tears’ rejection. Instead I got steely determined and hunted down what was ‘hot in Medical Romance.’ Instead of one theme, I gave them three! My pregnant doctor, in the outback and working for the Flying Doctor’s story got a revision request by phone. I was getting closer. One month later I was reading my son a goodnight story and the phone rang and I let it go as it was bound to be telemarketers at that time of night, right? Wrong. It was my editor. I rang her straight back but she had left her desk for a moment. She finally rang back ten minutes later. She talked about the weather, the RWA conference and I steeled myself for ‘You did those revisions OK but…’ Instead she said, ‘We’d really like to buy your book,’ and I said, ‘That would be lovely.’ The squeals didn’t come for another day and a half as it finally sank in that I was a Harlequin Mills and Boon Author. That book was published as PREGNANT ON ARRIVAL in 2006.
Great story, Fiona. And I'm not surprised that book sold. It was full of conflict and emotion! What do you think is the enduring appeal of medical romance?
I think it’s health professionals who put the health and wellbeing of others ahead of themselves, whose professionalism drives them no matter what the circumstances, no matter the cost to their own lives. And hey, who can resist an incredibly handsome doctor who is in complete control of his professional domain but the love of a good woman can bring him to his knees?
How much research do you do for your stories? Has a stray piece of research ever sparked an entire story for you? It sure has for me!
I do quite a bit of research because I like my medical scenes to be not only interesting but to drive the emotional journey of the hero or heroine. In A WEDDING IN WARRAGURRA, the opening medical scene came from a tiny ‘news in brief’ in the paper about a little girl who had been attacked by a rooster.
Can you give us a glimpse of a typical day for Fiona Lowe?
The alarm goes off at 5.30am and DH jumps out of bed for a bike ride and I fall out of bed and stumble up the spiral stairs to the office, cup of tea in hand. I spend an hour doing my other job as an online counsellor for teenager girls. Then I go into ‘mother mode’, make lunches for my two sons, supervise piano practice and do the school run. (This involves running to and from the school so I can get exercise in, except on Tuesdays when I play tennis in the morning.) Then it's back home where I march through the shambles of a kitchen, ignoring the mess and I finish off the non-writing job. Then I make a pot of tea and start writing. I write until 3.15pm and then it’s back to mother-mode and the afterschool activities and the breakfast dishes get cleaned up around then. I usually write for an hour on Saturday and Sunday as well which I would prefer not to but I basically have less than 6 hours a day to do 8 hours work. I am hopeless at night so this is the pattern I’ve developed. I try and walk along the river with a friend once a fortnight and I’m on school council as well so I don’t become a hermit but just recently I have decided I need to get out more, sit in cafes, and listen to the world as that is an important part of prompting my muse.
Man you're a busy woman! Fiona, do you have a question to get the party started?
I had a lot of fun writing THE PLAYBOY DOCTOR’S WEDDING PROPOSAL and Emily who had grown up with five brothers and called a spade a spade was completely opposite from the type of woman Linton usually dated. What do you think it is about opposites that attract?
Fiona has very generously offered one lucky commenter today a copy of her latest Mills & Boon Medical Romance, THE PLAYBOY DOCTOR'S WEDDING PROPOSAL, and a fridge magnet. So get commenting, people!