It’s been a quiet two years on the writing front since the release of my third Chalk Hill book, Last Bridge Before Home in December 2020, but while I haven’t had a new book out in 2021, I’ve been busy and there is good stuff happening.
I’ve just finished the second series of edits on my 2022 release with Harlequin MIRA (Harper Collins). This is a revisit to Chalk Hill in a whole new stand-alone story called The Vet’s Country Holiday.
The heroine is Isabella Passmore, a Perth city vet. Izzy makes a very brief cameo at the beginning of The Cafe By The Bridge. She’s Taylor’s friend and in The Vet’s Country Holiday, Izzy comes to stay at Taylor’s house to look after Taylor’s dog Bruno while Taylor and Abe are travelling.
This is a snippet of what my editor, Rachael Donovan, said when she read the submission draft: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the read, and think readers – old and new to Chalk Hill – are going to love it! I never thought I’d find myself chuckling over a chicken, but such is the power of your storytelling! Poor little thing.’
It’s always great to get that sort of feedback, and that was before all the spit and polishing that goes into the editing process. 🙂 Not long to go now and I’ll have a new cover to show you.
My second big piece of news is: I’ve joined independent publishing group, Pilyara Press.
Established in 2018 by former lawyer, Jennifer Scoullar (herself a best-selling author with Penguin Random House), Pilyara Press is described as ‘a trail-blazing group of professional writers who have left behind the Goliath world of publishing to form a small independent press. We offer a diverse and distinctive range of books, created on our own terms. We’re a bunch of professionals, and each of us brings a very specific talent to the group.’
I joined Pilyara Press for two main reasons. First: I appreciate the quality of authors already involved (they include Jenn J McLeod, Monique Mulligan, Kate Belle (I’m an absolute fan-girl of Kate), Kath Ledson and Jen Scoullar herself.) Second: I believe Pilyara will be a good fit for some books I want to publish moving forward.
While I’ve been very lucky to have The Chalk Hill Series and other paperbacks and e-books published by Harper Collins, which has opened enormous opportunities for me in Australia, I’ve had trouble getting other genres and styles accepted by the big publishers here.
There is debate about the ‘Lily Malone brand’… established in rural romance and romance settings, and whether my readers are ready for different genre writing from me. While I want to continue writing rural romance, I am keen to branch into other areas.
My new book, and the first that I’ll publish with Pilyara in 2022 is called The Waterhole. It’s a contemporary story of complicated family dynamics with a crime/mystery element that kicks off when excavations along a small-town creekline discover decades-old human bones.
While the timeline is a little fluent in order to fit around the release of The Vet’s Country Holiday, I am hopeful The Waterhole will be ready for release in January 2022. If I really pull my finger out, I might even have it available in December in time for Christmas.
Two books in the next six months! Now that’s exciting!