I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Australian romance author Alissa Callen about her new book release with Random House, Down Outback Roads.
Hi Alissa, welcome to the Australian Bookshelf! How would you describe Down Outback Roads in five words?
Thanks so much for having me.
Five words to describe my new rural would be:
Red dust. Secrets. Heartbreak. Romance.
Full book synopsis:
Sometimes you need to give yourself permission to fall in love.
Kree Garrett’s younger brother Seth is all the family she has left, so when he goes missing in the Australian outback, she doesn’t think twice about leaving her American home to find him. When Seth is rescued Kree vows to find a way to thank the small town of Glenalla. It isn’t long before she falls in love with the tight-knit rural community. But is it really the town she’s falling for?
Ewan Mackenzie has given up everything for his brother’s family, but he can never give enough to assuage his guilt at what happened one dark night, years ago . . . Ewan knows he doesn’t deserve a second chance at happiness, but when beautiful, open-hearted Kree stays to fight to save his home town, he finds it hard to keep his distance.
Can Kree and Ewan leave their pasts behind for long enough to find a future together?
Down Outback Roads features the small rural town of Glenalla that features in Beneath Outback Skies, why did you choose to tie these books together by their setting?
To be honest I didn’t start out to write a series but when I finished Beneath Outback Skies, I wasn’t ready to leave the small close-knit Glenalla community. As the rural town is based on my local area, I’d be driving around the country roads or seeing a horse truck parked outside my grocery store and more stories and characters would fill my head. Am hoping to also do a third book in the series.
What do you love about living in rural Australia?
Everything. The sunsets, the smell of rain, the colour and the animals, both native and farm. I also know my children are growing up surrounded by freedom and space and in a community that models resilience and compassion.
What did you enjoy most about writing Down Outback Roads?
I like the whole writing process but my favourite part for Down Outback Roads was perhaps the planning and research phase. Some of my children attend boarding school at another country town so on the long drive there I’d often stop to take photos or scribble notes as my plot ducks would align themselves.
And just for fun, when writing do you prefer…
Coffee, tea or hot chocolate? Hands down, am a hot chocolate connoisseur.
Plotting, pantsing or both? Call me crazy, both.
Quiet solitude or background noise? It depends on the scene. For an emotional scene I prefer silence, while for a buoyant one, background noise. At the moment I have new cows mooing out my window so am not sure what my current scene will turn out like!
A warm, sunny day or a rainy day? Can I choose a snowy one? There’s something about a winter’s day in the mountains that always makes me smile.
Typing or pen and notepad? For any ideas that hit me at inopportune times (like when cleaning out a water trough), pen, and then for all other writing times, typing.
Thanks so much again for having me.
When Alissa Callen isn’t writing she plays traffic controller to four children, three dogs, two horses and one renegade cow who really does believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. After a childhood spent chasing sheep on the family farm, Alissa has always been drawn to remote areas and small towns, even when residing overseas. Once a teacher and a counsellor, she remains interested in the life journeys that people take and her books are characteristically heart-warming, emotional and character driven. She currently lives on a small slice of rural Australia in central western New South Wales.
Down Outback Roads is available from May 1st. Alissa’s first novel, Beneath Outback Skies will be released in print on the same day.