I’m thrilled to have Tea Cooper drop by today, and it’s not just because she’s such a nice person and writes great stories (although that’s important!) – it’s because she’s here to talk about the re-release of Lily’s Leap.
If you read this blog regularly you may have a vague memory of our chat when this book first came out in May 2013. So here’s an update!
- Has “Lily’s Leap” altered since it was originally released, if so, how?
Yes, it has! The original story is the same but the ending is longer, a little less rushed, if I am truthful. It’s been an interesting journey because Lily’s Leap was the second book I wrote and my writing style has changed. I think it’s tighter and most importantly because it has been released by an Australian publisher it more truly reflects Australia. I like to call it a historical rural romance.
2. Can you tell us a bit about the gorgeous new cover and how well it sums up the story?
I’m thrilled with the new cover. Lily is just right – the pampered daughter of a colonial upstart who has no intention of being pushed around. The background is Dungarven – the horse stud she calls home.
- What was it like going back to Lily and Tom – meeting up with old friends, or a bit awkward at first?
Definitely meeting up with old friends but knowing so much more about them, as though you’d had a chance to “spy” on them so I knew what they were thinking.
- What/who inspired you to write the story?
Without a doubt Patrick Bruin! On Tuesday, February 16th Patrick made the mistake of bailing up the local JP Mr Thomas Crawford. I say made the mistake because he’d run off at the mouth and bragged about what he was up to. Someone dobbed him in. Mr Crawford was there with his servants, all armed, and Patrick was mortally wounded and died in Wollombi Lock-Up. Mind you none of those things happened Tom!
- Would you consider a follow up story?
That’s an interesting question because Lily is actually my first Wollombi story and Matilda’s Freedom, which released in July 2013, is the follow-up. Both books stand alone but there are a few characters who appear in both stories – my favourite is Jem the Aboriginal tracker.
And a bit about you…
- You’ve had lots of books published since we last chatted, how do you find the time? Are you a fast writer who hides away for days on ends, or is it a little bit here, a little bit there?
I have to admit to throwing in the towel and giving up full time work so I have more time than a lot of people. I’m a bit of a marathon writer. Once I get the plot sorted I like to write a quick and dirty first draft in as little time as I can manage. I live it and breathe it until it is done – mind you it then takes me the same amount of time to do the first edit!
- What are you reading at the moment, and are there any particular authors that are must-reads?
My latest favourite is author is Kate Morton. Right now I can’t get enough of her books. I’ll read anything by Deborah Challinor as soon as it comes out – I love her books and I also have a “bit of a thing” for non fiction, especially anything that is historical. I picked up The Art of Beauty by Madame Lola Montez at the local flea markets recently, first published in 1858. Books like that are a must read.
- Has life changed for you over the last couple of years/since you’ve signed with your new publisher?
Yes! I am now published by Escape Publishing – an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises Australia. It is an absolute delight to work with an Australian publisher when you write Australian romance!
- Best bit of advice you’d give an aspiring author?
Be patient – don’t jump at the first contract you are offered. Check out all the possibilities before you sign on the dotted line. And write – and keep writing!
- Best bit of advice you’d give yourself now as a writer, if you could relive the past couple of years?
As above – be patient!
- Have you any other books in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
Yes! In October, 2014 my first 1920s romance releases with Escape. It’s called Jazz Baby, set in Sydney in the 1920s. It was a pretty nasty place to be. In February, 2015 Forgotten Fragrance which is the first book in a family saga From the Ocean to the Outback – set aboard a whaling ship somewhere between Tasmania and Sydney releases. Lots of pirate like characters and of course romance, and the spin-off from Jazz Baby, The Wages of Sin, will release sometime after that.
Thanks, Susie! Lovely to visit again.
From Escape's Queen of Australian historical romance comes a story about a privileged member of Australian's squattocracy, a bushranger, and a very special horse.
Born into the rough, but privileged society of the Australian colonial landowners, Lilibeth Dungarven finds herself married, widowed, and, much to her distress, back under her father’s thumb, all before her twenty-first birthday. Determined not to forgo her dream of breeding the perfect racehorse, Lilibeth ignores propriety and sets out to restore the family’s flagging fortunes.
When Captain Tom and his mismatched band of bushrangers stumble across a mob of the best horses they’ve ever seen, and the daughter of the famed Dungarven horse stud, they know their fortunes have changed. Their catch is worth a king’s ransom. All they have to do is hold her for seven days. How hard can it be to control the pampered daughter of a colonial upstart?
ISBN: 9780857991713 Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Amazon and Goodreads Reviews:
“Forget work, forget all your responsibilities and slide into this delicious story ... a well-written book by a talented writer ... since I doubt I’ll be visiting Australia, it was a treat to feel like I was there, herding horses to market across the Australian Outback. The landscape assumes the position of a character in this exciting romance; playing a pivotal role in Lily’s adventure. A fabulous read by a very talented Aussie author … I have no hesitation in HIGHLY recommending Lily’s Leap.”
Hunter Valley, Australia 1848
Lilibeth Dungarven’s cry of pure pleasure soared skywards as the massive black stallion rose to clear the fallen tree, sending the horrors of the last four years scuttling into the dirt of the ancient land.
Clenching her knees against Nero’s heaving flanks she bent low, ducking the overhanging branches framing the bush track, her cheek pressed to the warmth of his muscular neck. When the erratic pounding in her chest settled she drew Nero to a shuddering halt and pushed the damp curls back from her forehead.
A pair of black cockatoos, disturbed by her madcap gallop, shrieked their annoyance and resettled in the whispering casuarina trees. The crack of their beaks as they threw the mangled nuts to the ground filled the silence. Below her the ribbon of sandstone road weaved its way towards Payne’s Crossing and she shielded her eyes from the sun, searching for her mob of horses.
A glint of reflected sunlight drew her eye to a mounted figure in the middle of the road. Despite the hat pulled low shadowing his face, the stockwhip crack of his words registered deep in her belly.
‘Bail up! Guns down and off the horses.’
‘What do you think you...?’ Constricted by the tension in her throat her words petered out. No one would dare steal such a valuable mob of horses. They were branded. Everyone in the colony knew the Dungarven brand. To lose them was unthinkable. Years of breeding — the first pure Dungarven bloodlines. Months proving herself capable of managing the sale and the trip to Sydney. And now a hold up! It would not happen. Not if Lilibeth Dungarven had any say in the matter.
About the author:
Téa Cooper lives in a stone cottage on one hundred acres of bushland, just outside the time-warp village of Wollombi, NSW Australia. When she isn't writing, Téa can be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who offer a never-ending source of inspiration.
Lily’s Leap is Téa's second Australian historical romance set in Wollombi. Her first, Matilda’s Freedom is available now.
In October, Jazz Baby, a 1920s rags to riches story set in Sydney will be released and in February, Forgotten Fragrance, Book I of a family saga entitled From the Ocean to the Outback. At the moment she is working on a parallel time-line series called The Adventures of Miss Abigail Wynter. She has also written three contemporary romances.
Where to find out more:
And here's a glimpse of that follow up book!