I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Australian romance author, Jenny Schwartz.
Jenny, thank you for taking the time to stop by The Australian Bookshelf to talk about your latest release with Escape Publishing, Mistaken Engagement.
Hi Lauren, it’s wonderful to be here. I’ve been following you as Jayne on Twitter for ages. I’m thrilled to have a chance to chat longer than 140 characters—though that’s fun, too.
Please describe Mistaken Engagement in five words.
Fun Australia Day holiday romance
What inspired you to write Mistaken Engagement?
2012 was the year the big international romance publishers announced new Australian digital imprints, including Harlequin’s Escape Publishing, who published my short story, Drawing Closer, in December. Well, that got me thinking. Surely an Australian publisher presents a brilliant (and long-needed) opportunity to write romances that celebrate Australian holidays? So I sat down and wrote “Mistaken Engagement” to celebrate the fun and community spirit of Australia Day. Then it was a whirl of hyper-activity to get the book ready for a January release.
You tend to write a number of genres, what do you particularly enjoy about writing romance?
The happy ending. Like you, I’m signed up for the Australian Women Writers challenge, but one of the tricky things for me in reading and reviewing out of my comfort zone is that outside of romance novels, there is no guarantee of a happy ending. (Ok, so I’ll confess. I cheat and either read reviews or read the last couple of pages of a novel to check it has a happy ever after before I commit to reading it). I love the hope that powers a romance novel, and that’s the heart of why I enjoy writing them.
Mistaken Engagement falls into the ‘short story’ category, what do you enjoy more about short story writing than novel writing?
I’m a huge fan of short stories. One, because they respect how busy us readers are and deftly fit a stolen hour of indulgence. Two, as an author they let me try different genres and styles. I’ve written short stories that range from cosies for magazines like The People’s Friend to disturbingly funny stories for horror ezines.
Most of all, I think short stories, like Mistaken Engagement, are perfect holiday reading. They capture the essence of what is being celebrated, share it and put readers in the mood to share that joy with others.
What are you currently working on?
I have two projects on the go. One is a secret, but I’ll give you a whopping great hint. Think of Anzac Day, another important Australian holiday. Moving on quickly before anyone realises I’ve spilled the beans. My other project is a new steampunk series, this time set in London and…um…really quite sexy. It is so much fun to write. I’ve fallen in love my dirigible pilot hero. Fingers crossed, you’ll be hearing about The Bustlepunk Belles soon.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Read, but then, all of us would say that J I also let myself be bossed around by a stubborn but adorable golden retriever called Toby, garden, cook and take slightly blurry photographs.
And just for fun, when writing do you prefer…
Coffee, tea or hot chocolate? Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and I’m kind of fussy about my hot chocolate. I add cocoa powder to full cream milk, a teaspoon of sugar, a dash of vanilla essence and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Then I stir madly as it heats. Yum.
Plotting, pantsing or both? One day I hope to be an organised plotter. But for now, I definitely make it up as I go.
Quiet solitude or background noise? Quiet solitude every time. Um, do you know where I could find some?
A warm, sunny day or a rainy day? I’m answering this on a heatwave day, so RAINY! But normally I love the sun.
Typing or pen and notepad? Typing. I knew those high school typing classes would be useful one day! Pen and notepad are for when I attempt poetry.
Thank you so much for stopping by Jenny.
Jenny Schwartz is a West Australian author. Her high school yearbook predicted she’d be a writer – something about always having her nose in a book. When not living up to others’ expectations, she enjoys lazy days in the suburbs and is working on a collection of life-saving recipes, “Simple Meals for Forgetful Cooks”.
Mistaken Engagement can be purchased at Escape Publishing and other ebook retailers.
Saul knows he crossed the line when he claimed a surprise engagement with Grace. But her hysterical denial – and the way she’s avoided him ever since – has made things awkward, but it can all be worked out.
The Australia Day long weekend down at her family’s beach house is the perfect time to show everyone that they’re friends, with not a broken heart between them. But can a fake engagement become life-changingly real?