• Blog

    Author Pamela Cook stops by for a guest post – What’s all the Fuss About Rural Romance?


    What’s All The Fuss About Rural Romance?

    Rural Romance Novels

    Pamela CookAuthor Pamela Cook
    If you live in Australia and have frequented the book section of any of the big chain retailers (Big W, Target, Kmart) or even bookstores in the last few years, chances are you’ve seen quite a few covers featuring girls wearing hats, possibly on horseback and maybe with a windmill somewhere in the distance. What you have witnessed is the still growing phenomenon that is Australian Rural Romance.

    So what is this thing called Rural Romance, why do Australians love to read it and why is it still so popular?

    Since the queen of the ‘genre’, Rachel Treasure, first appeared on the shelves back in 2002, title after title has been published. And it’s not all about the romance – crime, suspense, environmental concerns, social issues, family relationships, history – a whole slew of themes are dealt with by writers who may or may not live on the land. Most of the novels being written do contain romantic elements, if not a straight romance narrative, and all of them are set in country towns or on properties hence the category, Rural Romance. Best selling authors in the genre include Fleur McDonald, Rachael Johns, Fiona Palmer, and Cathryn Hein to name just a few.

    At the time I wrote my first published novel, Blackwattle Lake, in 2009, I’d never heard of Rural Romance. But by the time it was accepted for publication (by Hachette) in 2012 the genre had become well established. And it’s popularity has continued to grow, which isn’t all that surprising given our cultural history.

    Australians have always had a love affair with the bush. Our literary heritage is based on the writing of Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson, Neville and a long list of other writers who used various country or outback locations as settings for their stories. The narratives were often about tough men and hardy women who braved the dangers of the land, overcame disasters and often faced death but finally succeeded. Today’s versions of those stories aren’t all that different. They appeal to our desire to see the underdog triumphing over adversity and to our love affair with open spaces where even those of us who live in the city find a sense of escape and freedom.

    The heroines of today’s Rural Romances aren’t the man-desperate-swooners many people associate with the back-in-the-day Mills and Boon titles. They’re independent, feisty, smart and have a lot going on in their lives which makes the romance side of their stories much more interesting. If they’re going to have a man in their lives he’d better be worth it – and that brings us to the heros of the genre. These guys are hot, sometimes brooding, but with a lot more to them than a six pack and a bare chest. And when the couples do finally get together the sparks fly – sometimes with the bedroom door open just a crack for the reader and often with it ripped right off the hinges.

    As I mentioned earlier the wide variety of ‘sub-genres’ within the Rural Romance category really does provide something for everyone. Whether you like your romance undiluted, or if you like to cross over into the realms of crime, mystery or history, you’ll find a story to suit your taste. Don’t be fooled by the covers – while the girl with the hat on the horse thing is a way of marketing the books to the target audience I’m sure there’s a lot of other readers out there who would really enjoy these stories if they gave them a try.

    Love, get-away-from-it-all locations, sexy heroines and heroes, interesting characters and page-turning storylines – what’s not to love about Rural Romance?

    You can check out who is who in the world of Rural Romance and browse the virtual bookshelves right here on this site: www.australianruralromance.com

    Happy reading!

    Close to Home - Pamela Cook - CoverClose to Home is Pamela’s latest release

    A compelling story of love, lies and loss in a small country town.

    Orphaned at thirteen, Charlie Anderson has been on her own for over half her life. Not that she minds – she has her work as a vet and most days that’s enough. Most days. But when she’s sent to a small town on the New South Wales coast to investigate a possible outbreak of the deadly hendra virus, Charlie finds herself torn between then haunting memories of her past and her dedication to the job.

    Travelling to Naringup means coming face to face with what is left of her dysfunctional family – her cousin Emma, who begged Charlie not to leave all those years ago, and her aunt Hazel, who let her go without a backward glance. But it also means relying on the kindness of strangers and, when she meets local park ranger, Joel Drummond, opening her heart to the possibility of something more …

    As tensions in the town rise, can Charlie let go of the past and find herself a new future in the place she left so long ago?




    Buy Links

    Booktopia: http://bit.ly/1LVW4pY

    Close To Home will also be available at Big W and your local book store.

    You can find more about Pamela and her novels at her website: http://www.pamelacook.com.au/



    8/14/2015 05:00:03 pm

    Hi! Monique and Pamela,
    When I arrived in Australia,I fell in love with the Outback after watching, McLeod’s Daughters. My pen friend said there are stories also and they are called Australian Rural Fiction.Got my membership at the local library and since been a huge lover of Rural fiction.The first book l read was Man Drought by Rachael Johns and The Farmers wife by Rachael Treasure.Rural Romance can take the reader on a journey through Australia. Love it.
    8/14/2015 05:17:21 pm

    I agree books are a great window to a country. Whenever I travel I try and read books set where I’m visiting. Rural romance is a wonderful way to explore Australia without actually having to hop on a horse or sheer a sheep…or even leave home.

    Pamela Cook
    8/16/2015 11:03:03 am

    I was a McLeod’s fan too Jessy! So glad you’re enjoying all the rural reads out there at the moment. Thanks for commenting and for your support.

    8/16/2015 11:34:36 am

    Your welcome, Pamela

    Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie
    8/26/2015 10:34:10 am

    Oh my goodness. I’m hearing so much about Rural Romance but didn’t know about australianruralromance.com

    I’m going there now to check out some of the great titles…! 🙂
    8/26/2015 10:48:02 am

    Julie it is huge here…I think I heard 20% plus of romance books are rural romance when I was at the RWAus on the weekend…that’s a big chunk of the market…

    Sandie Docker
    8/26/2015 09:25:44 pm

    Rural Romance is SOOO big here in Australia. And not just in romance, in Women’s Fiction, any genre. When I was draft my synopsis for my current wip, my “editor” made the change from ‘In dusty Lawson’s Ridge…’ to ‘In outback Lawson’s Ridge…’ And guess what, the first person in the industry to read the synopsis made an ‘oohhh outback Lawson’s Ridge’ comment.

    Being a country girl (coastal country not outback), trapped in the city, I can fully get why stories about country town and country folk are so popular. God I miss the country!

  • Blog

    Two 99cent books, writers’ groups and Musical Monday.


    A Fair Exchange - 99 Cent Sale PromoI really am not quite sure how it got to be Monday again. What is happening to 2014? Whoever has control of the handbrake is welcome to pull it now and make things stop or slow down a little bit. I will be totally fine with that.

    Last week I went to an event for writers’ groups at the NSW Writers Centre. My friend Pamela Cook spoke on behalf of our group which was the Writers’ Dozen but these days is the Writers’ Half Dozen. It was a lovely night and really interesting to hear about the many groups out there and see so many enthusiastic writers.

    It was also a sharp reminder of the importance of community and the need we all have to be supported on our journeys. Our little group has had remarkable results in terms of people being published, continuing to write, winning competitions and the other tangible signs of success. More than that though it reminded me what a gift those people and that group have been in my life.

    I’m plugging away on the sequel to Any Way You Slice It, Book 2 in The Upper Crust Series. One of my problems is I have too many ideas and not enough time, and probably discipline, to complete all the projects I would like to. I really must get a working title for that novel. I had one in the middle of the night a couple of weeks back and wrote it down…must find that piece of paper.


    Any Way You Slice It - 99c Sale Promo - Upper Crust SeriesAny Way You Slice It is still 99cents and this weekend until Tuesday A Fair Exchange is 99cents too. If you haven’t read them now is the time and if you have I’d really appreciate a review.













    Musical Monday has rolled around again.

    As I was driving home from the NSW Writers Centre I was listening to a radio show where people call in requests and someone requested American Pie. I hadn’t heard the song in forever and that was a good thing because when I heard it Wednesday I was struck by the beauty and complexity of the lyrics a bit like when you hear or read something for the first time.

    So given I am writing books about pies I thought it was fitting.

  • Blog

    What I’ve Learned on My writing Journey – Pamela Cook


    Blackwattle Lake - CoverToday in the continuing series on What I’ve Learned on My Writing Journey I have Pamela Cook author of Blakwattle Lake and the upcoming release Essie’s Way.

    Three Things I’ve Learnt On My Writing Journey –
    Pamela Cook

    As a recently published author I’m pretty new to this writing game and for the last eighteen months I’ve been on a huge learning curve so the topic of this blog post is very apt.

    Thanks Monique! I sat down and brainstormed the things I’ve learnt on my writing journey and came up with a very long list. Some of these things I’ve learnt over a much longer period of time – I’d been writing for 12 years before being published but I’ve decided to focus on three things I’ve learnt since my debut novel was released last December.

    1. Write The First Draft Fast

    I spent over five years on one novel, much of which was spent writing sections and revising them over and over rather than moving forward. That novel taught me a huge amount about the craft of writing – description, word choice, sentence structure and the like. But it taught me very little about plot and structure. The two subsequent novels were written very quickly, one as a NaNoWriMo (50,000 words in a month) and the other over three months. In both cases I forced myself to keep going with the story, resisted the urge to re-read or revise and in both cases the story unfolded organically and the structure seemed to come a lot more easily. Both of those novels were accepted for publication.

    Stop-start drafting allows your inner critic to whisper insidiously in your ear. You find yourself second-guessing the quality of your writing and the direction of your story. It may even nag you enough to block your writing altogether.

    2. Whether Your Book Is Published Or Not Is Largely About The Market and Not Necessarily About The Quality Of Your Writing

    I have read some amazing manuscripts – beautifully written, wonderful characterization, interesting plot – a whole variety of stories written by writing buddies. Yet sadly many of them have been rejected by publishers. The reality is that it’s all about the market. Even if a publisher loves a manuscript the bottom line is that it has to be approved by the marketing department. Much depends on popular taste at the time, what other titles the publishing house already has out there and how many copies they think it will be possible to sell. If your book has a strong commercial flavour it may be easier to get it over the line than if it is highly literary. Of course literary works are still sought after but it may take longer to find the right home for such a work. In my own case I just happened to write a novel set in the country which had some romantic elements right around the time the Rural Romance genre was starting to boom. Fortunately for me there was already a market out there for the type of book I’d written which made it that much easier for my manuscript to be picked up. Ultimately you need to write what comes naturally and what you love to write. And now there’s always the option of self publishing if a more traditional deal becomes hard to find.

    3. Hard Work and Perseverance Trump Talent

    I know some will disagree with this belief but after my own experience, and observing the writing journeys of many others I’m sticking by it. Of course there are some writers out there who are born with a natural flair. All they have to do is put pen to paper and the words flow. But that doesn’t guarantee publication. If having your book published is your ultimate goal you need to write, rewrite and then write some more. This will take hours, days and years of your life and you need to be prepared to devote a great deal of time to your writing. Discipline, time management and the ability to say no are all essential requirements if you are aiming for publication. Even the most gifted writers need to put in the hours.

    Those of us who are lesser mortals may have to work a little harder at perfecting our craft but it is the writers who keep at it, who take rejection in their stride and learn from it, and who are determined to find readers – whether through traditional or indie channels – who will be the most successful.

    There’s quite a few other things I’ve learned – and continue to learn – on my writing journey. I’ll be blogging about them in the future. But for now, happy writing, and keep at it.

    Pamela’s books are published by Hachette Australia:

    You can find Pam on her website:

    On Facebook


    Jennie Jones
    8/28/2013 11:53:30 pm

    Monique – what a wonderful blog you have. I had the pleasure of meeting Pamela recently and chatting about writing so it’s wonderful to read her take here. I have to say, 1) So true – but so hard to write the first draft fast! 2) I agree, no matter how hard it is to bear, but these days, it’s becoming easier for those who truly yearn beyond belief to write, to become published. 3) Yes! That’s my view too. Perseverance will out, eventually. It has to, because perseverance means a writer continues to learn and learn and learn … and therefore get better and better and better. Thank you, ladies for an inspirational post.
    8/29/2013 08:34:08 am

    Thanks for stopping by Jennie! You did such a great job as MC at the #RWAus2103.

    It is solid advice isn’t it? Hard to apply but good to remember 🙂

    Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons
    8/29/2013 09:19:09 pm

    Oh yeah! I so agree. What a year!

  • Blog

    Let’s link up


    Hearts AfireToday I’m going to provide you with some chat and then some links to places I’ve been mentioned in cyber space this week or places I think might interest you.

    As you know I was at the Romance Writers of Australia conference on the weekend. One attends a conference like that for a variety of reasons including professional development, the opportunity to pitch to agents and publishers and as well as networking with other authors.

    I did pitch on the weekend so I need to get busy preparing my submission while busily prepare to launch my next indie title.

    It is a wonderful opportunity to meet people who want to talk about writing and books. (What could be better?) It’s also a chance to put faces to the many writers you meet on Twitter, Facebook and via blogs.

    Now I’m home it’s time to link up. I need to e-mail people, find their Facebook author pages and follow them on Twitter before I do what I did last year and misplace all those lovely business cards I’ve collected.

    Speaking of linking up here are a few links where I’ve been mentioned around the web this week.



    The lovely Cindy Roesel wrote this lovely piece about Mr Right and Other Mongrels on her blog today.

    My friend Pamela Cook who I travelled to the RWA with did a great blog post yesterday about our travels.

    And I understand my novel Hearts Afire has been nominated at Indie Author News for favourite indie book for September here. If you liked it and would like to vote for it this is the link.

  • Blog

    2013 the writing year that was


    Mr Right and Other MongrelsIt’s New Year’s Eve and as we all know it’s a time for reflection if we choose to let it be.
    Looking back on my year a whole lot happened in the writing zone for me.

    I blogged pretty much the whole year and with pretty consistently. Along the way I got to meet and interview loads of wonderful authors and grill them about their writing process and learn about their books so that was a whole lot of fun.

    In May of course, I launched my first book Mr Right and Other Mongrels which was quite a trip! It’s been en entirely positive experience and I learnt so much from going through it.

    I also learnt that even you would think getting the second book out afterwards would be easier – surely I learnt something from the first one – that was not the case and Hearts Afire ended up taking three extra months to hit the shelves as a result of a series of delays. That’s why when people ask me when is the next book out I’m now very reluctant to say a date or even a month out loud because I’m now aware that I could be speaking nonsense.





    Hearts AfireAnyway Hearts Afire eventually hit the shelves in October and that has been a whole lot of fun as well.

    Thanks to all of you who bought, reviewed, blogged, tweeted or shared the news of my books to the universe. I deeply appreciate your support.

    I’ve learnt a bit more about promotion via social media along this journey and have met some amazing people out there in cyber-space which has been lots of fun. I’ve met some wonderful authors and some cool readers as well.

    I’ve also done lots of wonderful things as part of my writing year. I had a great weekend away with members of my writing group back in February.

    I attended several events at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in May and hung with some wonderful friends and authors.

    I went to the Gold Coast for the RWA in August where I had an amazing time and met some wonderful authors – some whom I had ‘met’ in cyber space and some who were entirely new to me. It was a wonderful experience.

    I’ve also been lucky enough to attend book launches for several old friends this year including Edwina Shaw and Pamela Cook.




    So if 2012 was anything to go by I expect to have an exciting time in 2013!

    Here are a few snapshots of the year that was.

    Writer Friends Group PhotoSome of the Writers’ Dozen in Milton in February for a writing retreat.

    Monique McDonell Kindle Digital Launch Mr Right and Other Mongrels
    Virtual book launch for Mr Right and Other Mongrels.

    Hearts Afire Paperback Cover Preview
    Hearts Afire paperbacks!

    Favel, Monique McDonell and Edwina Shaw

    Catch up with Favel Parrett and Edwina Shaw in Sydney. Two of the Joondi 8.

    Pamela Cook and Monique McDonell at Book Launch for Blackwattle Lake

    With the lovely Pamela Cook at her December book launch.