Monday, August 11, 2014

Interview with Autumn Macarthur, Plus a Giveaway!

I'd like to welcome Autumn Macarthur, a new member of Beyond the Borders and a first-time blogger here at ICFW. It's an important time for Autumn, as she prepares to launch her first book in September, a novella set in London titled THE WEDDING LIST. Her genre is contemporary Romance, with deep Christian undertones.

But let's back up. Autumn is Australian and lives in London with her British husband. She's a nature enthusiast, and she can tell you what to eat for longevity and optimal health. In short, Autumn has the mind of an entrepreneur, breaking into the Indie Market, and the spirit of a woman called to inspire. Welcome, Autumn!

Click to Tweet: Celebrating Autumn Macarthur’s first release: THE WEDDING LIST.

Autumn, if you don't mind, I’ll get right to your faith, which comes through in your writing, your smile, and your ever upbeat emails to our Beyond the Borders group. Who or what has been your greatest Christian influence? Did you experience a conversion at some point in your life or has your faith developed naturally since childhood?

Faith is a good place to start! I grew up in a household that didn’t welcome the hunger I had from an early age to learn more about God and to go to church. Dad claims to be an atheist, but I suspect he’s a lapsed believer who became angry with God after a personal tragedy in his teens.

I persevered and was allowed to attend church and go on Christian camps. At sixteen I first gave Jesus Lordship of my life, but there’s been a bit of a backwards and forwards struggle since then! Like my father, I spent far too many years angry with God when something I very much desired was denied me. Now, of course, I can see the effects of my mistakes, but at the time it was way easier to blame God than take responsibility.

Thankfully, God didn’t give up on me and about eighteen months ago I recommitted my life to Him. It’s still an everyday struggle to surrender and trust, but I love knowing He loves and supports me and understands my struggles.

He is the driving force behind everything I write.

I admire the honesty with which you write about your faith, the tug-of-wars and the Ah! moments we have with God. When writing, do you start with the faith element in your story as a springboard or with the story/plot itself?

I develop my characters first, usually the heroine. Once I know what gets in the way of her having the fullest possible relationships, not just with her romantic love, the hero, but with God, it’s clear what lessons of faith she needs to experience.

God has a tendency of teaching me the same lessons as I write! Often, as I pray about a personal issue, I’ll see how that same issue applies to a character. I hope that gives my stories sincerity and emotional depth and will satisfy readers. In a way, I’m right there with the heroine, going through the same emotional and spiritual journey, laughing with her and crying with her, too.

You've mentioned that you have a love affair with London. I live in London, as well, and love the taxi cabs. You can fit a baby's wagon in the back without folding it down! Can you name one aspect of London you most appreciate? Your first book is set in London. Any plans to use an Australian setting in the future?


David Iliff
I love the traces of history visible throughout London, not just the big attractions like Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, but the random kiln in Notting Hill and the pubs that Dickens frequented.

THE WEDDING LIST is part of a series set in London I’m calling Love In Store. The series revolves around the staff of a London department store, with both American and Australian characters making appearances.

I love writing stories set elsewhere, too! I have plans for a series set in Oregon, U.S.A., the revised full of the first book is currently under consideration at Harlequin Love Inspired. I’m also working on two series set in Australia, one in a small rural town and the other set in a coastal village.

You blog about the little miracles you see in your garden. Does your passion for food and gardening make it into your writing? How about your three spoiled cats and dandelion-munching guinea pig? I couldn't resist asking!

I’m soon to start writing Book 3, with a foodie heroine who runs the kitchenware department at the store. A runaway hamster makes a guest appearance in Book 2. So far though, no gardeners, cats, or guinea pigs. I’m sure they will come!

I'm going to sneak this one in here: What is your favorite food from your garden?

LOL, if you saw my garden, you would know I can’t grow much food in it. The only vegetable  I have consistent success with is garlic, and that’s such a love/hate thing for people. Thankfully, I love it!

Michael Spencer
Bruschetta is a quick and easy summer dish using garlic. I made it for a picnic when my  husband and I were first dating, and he loved it so much it could be the reason he married  me!

So, while we’re on the topic of love, tell us a bit about your soon-to-be-launched novella THE WEDDING LIST. I love the title!

I’m always happy to talk about my stories! THE WEDDING LIST is the first in the Love in Store series. It will be released as an ebook on Amazon in early September. BELIEVE IN ME, Book 2, was a semi-finalist in the Inspirational Romance section of the Harlequin So You Think You Can Write contest last year. It will be out in October, and Book 3 with follow in early December.

THE WEDDING LIST features Beth Forrest. With her eye for beautiful design and her cut-glass accent, no-one would guess Beth’s impoverished background. It’s all throw pillows, china patterns, and upper class brides as she manages the Wedding Registry at Pettett & Mayfield, the stately maiden aunt of London department stores. It’s not quite her dream job, but each bride she helps plan their perfect home brings her one step closer to financing her own.

When James Tetherton-Hart, brilliant in his research lab but awkward and disorganised in everyday life, comes to the store in desperate need of both a gift and a partner for a wedding that evening, all her careful plans and meticulous checklists are turned upside down.

Now Beth's first love is back, determined to make her his partner for life, not just the evening. But unless Beth can let go of the mistaken beliefs that separated them before and learn the breadth of God’s love for us all, her only gift from the wedding will be another heartbreak.

I invite readers who want to find out more about my books and their release dates, as well as access exclusive members-only contests and “behind the book” blog posts, to sign up for my newsletter at http://faithhopeandheartwarming.com.

Sara, thank you for your thoughtful questions! I know we have folk from all over reading the blog. I’d love for readers to share what makes where they live special for them. I welcome any questions about my books, my writing process, or anything at all!

A giveaway of THE WEDDING LIST will go to one randomly selected reader who comments. It will be available early September to coincide with the launch. Formats include Mobi for Kindle, epub, or pdf. Don't forget to leave a comment!

Autumn Macarthur is an Australian writer of inspirational romance living near London with her very English husband, three spoiled cats, and a guinea pig with a dandelion addiction. She loves reading, cooking, gardening, and writing deeply emotional stories to make you smile and remind you how big and wide and deep God's love and forgiveness can be. When she's not talking to her strawberry plants or cherry blossoms, she can be found blogging at http://faithhopeandheartwarming.com, on Facebook as Autumn Macarthur, and on Twitter as @autumnmacarthur.


Interviewed by Sara Goff:  http://www.saragoff.com/

33 comments:

  1. Hi Autumn, Welcome to ICFW and congratulations on your upcoming indie book release! Very exciting :) Sara, thanks for introducing us to Autumn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Narelle! It's a very exciting time and very busy. I look forward to adding your new release too, I love Aussie set stories!

      Delete
  2. Hi Autumn,
    It was lovely to find out more about you and your new book. I made a few trips to London when I was younger, so the setting sounds great. I appreciate your candid honesty in this interview.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, Paula! I'm a motor mouth, and my stories are the same. Except edited!
      I do adore London. Big, noisy, dirty, and with heartbreaking extremes of poverty and wealth, where you'll find a homeless person sleeping under a cardboard box in the doorway of a shop selling real gold bathroom fittings (yep, that comes into my stories too). But it's also beautiful and vibrant and alive, and full of history. And like everywhere, full of God's love and all the possibilities that come with that.

      Delete
    2. In fact, I got a newsletter from the homeless shelter I support today, and that has inspired me to give a percentage of my income from the entire Love In Store series that The Wedding List is part of to the shelter!

      Delete
  3. Autumn, thanks for joining us here today. I'm looking forward to the release of The Wedding List!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank YOU Sara! Thanks for posting the blog post and all the hard work you do for Beyond the Borders.

      Delete
  4. Congrats and good luck on your upcoming release!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Angela! It's a fun and exciting time, only twenty days to go to release!

      Delete
  5. Hi Autumn! Great to hear about your life and your upcoming release. Wishing you all the best. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Valerie! Congratulations on Raspberries and Vinegar winning best contemporary romance too! It's on my Kindle now :)

      Delete
  6. Hi Autumn,
    Awesome guest spot! So great to meet you and hear about your upcoming release. The Wedding List is on my TBR, and I'll eagerly waiting to read it this fall. I am also an avid gardener. My tomatoes are falling off the vines. You inspired me to make some bruschetta tonight. Congratulations on your successes!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Enjoy that bruschetta Lisa, and I hope you enjoy The Wedding List as well! Thanks for commenting!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congratulations on your debut, Autumn! It was great getting to know you a little better. Great interview, Sara!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sandra! Sara did an awesome job! An interview is only as good as the questions!

      Delete
  9. I'm super excited about this series! Blessings as you continue to follow God's direction in writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shannon! He is definitely in charge here, not me :)

      Delete
  10. Autumn, welcome to ICFW and congrats on your upcoming release. Sounds like something right up my alley so I can't wait to have a read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a wonderful group! I hope you enjoy The Wedding List!

      Delete
  11. Congratulations on your book release, and I enjoyed the interview! It's great getting to know you a bit better!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa! It's been great being here.

      Delete
  12. I found it interesting that you're working on a novel set in Oregon, USA. I like driving through the state and seeing the three distinct regions each with its own weather patterns - cold wet coast, temperate Willamette Valley and, once you get over the mountains, dry, dry, dry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen! A writing buddy of mine lives near Jacksonville OR, in the Rogue River Valley, so I decided to set my US series in that beautiful area. I just wish I could go visit. So far, it's all based on Google and asking her lots of questions! I just have to make sure that Google results aren't for Jacksonville FL. That could end up with a very strange environment!

      Delete
  13. I don't typically read romance, but The Wedding List sounds like great fun! Looking forward to enjoying it. Great interview - thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pam! Nice to meet you and thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  14. Great interview, Autumn. Book sounds terrific. Love the idea of you chatting with strawberries and cherry blossoms. Don't feel so bad yakking to my poppies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, yes, never feel bad about talking to your poppies! Those lovely nodding heads, they almost answer back!

      Delete
  15. Just giving away one ebook isn't enough, so I'd like to offer a copy of The Wedding List to everyone who has commented so far!

    Please would you email me on autumn (at) autumnmacarthur (dot) com with your preferred ebook format, and I'll get a copy to you as soon as it's ready for release!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, that's super generous! Thanks so much, Autumn.

      Delete
  16. I am looking forward to reading THE WEDDING LIST. This will be the first book I have read written by a Christian and I am anxious to discover the uniqueness of itl I know it will be a blessing to me. I receive emails from my friend, Hallee Bridgeman quite often and she mentioned you and THE WEDDING LIST in her last correspondence. Thank you, Autumn.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you Daggy! The Wedding List is free on most sites now, so I hope you can download a copy! This is the link to the Amazon US page- http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N6RNRVI

    ReplyDelete