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At Home With… Alissa Callen

To celebrate the upcoming January 1st release of THE JANUARY WISH, the first book in my small town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’ve started a new interview segment called ‘At Home With…’

Today, we’re paying a visit to rural romance author Alissa Callen!


Alissa Callen x1. Hi Alissa, where are you from and how long have you lived there?

I live in the red earth country of central western NSW near Dubbo. We used to live two hours further west but have been in Dubbo for the past sixteen years. Where does the time go?

2. What do you love about the place you call home?

We live on a small slice of rural Australia and I love everything associated with life on a farm. I have four children so really appreciate the unlimited space, the local sense of community and the chance for my kids to grow up away from a computer screen.

3. Do you have a favourite local cafe, restaurant, bar, club, business, or store? Give them a plug here!

My favourite café actually comes from a neighbouring country town called Orange. The toasted BLT’s are sublime along with the home made gingerbread biscuits that arrive with your coffee.

IMGP34184. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

We have two dogs, Dusty, a red-heeler cross, and Milly, a Jack Russell who has a rap sheet at the local vets an arm long. She’s been bitten by a brown snake, electrocuted, had a grass seed in her eye and eaten rat bait from the feed shed. We also have a thoroughbred called Big Bad Banjo and the obligatory small grey pony, called Gidget. All our pets are much loved and spoilt rotten.

[Juliet ~ Milly, what a trooper!]

5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?

Can I say an outdoor room? I love my rose garden. I have over 100 roses and a trellis of Pierre de Ronsards that creates a beautiful living wall every summer.

6. If you had to evacuate your house, what three items (apart from people and pets!) would you take?

We very nearly had to this last summer when we had a grassfire in our front paddock. My top three things to grab were the kids photo albums, the filing cabinet draw with birth certificates etc and the usb containing my latest rural.

IMG_0307 a

7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?

In a perfect world I’d love there to be more local employment opportunities for country kids so they didn’t have to head to the city or to the mines for work.

horse 1 a8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?

My youngest calls our family favourite movie the Mr Darcy Show, but it actually is the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice.

[Juliet ~ Lol, the Mr Darcy show. Now there’s an idea!]

9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?

I’d forgo the dinner party for a month’s worth of dinners that could be put into the freezer!!

[Juliet ~ ahh, very practical!]

10. Name three books on your To Be Read bookshelf or e-reader:

Both my husband and my kids have worked out how good it is to read on an ipad so at the moment the three books at the top of the ipad list are:  The Booger Book: Pick It. Lick it. Roll it. Flick it. (for the 12 year old Little Farmer), The Silver Brumby (for Miss Mini Farmer) and Blood Secret – Jaye Ford (for Big Farmer).

[Juliet ~ LOL again! Can’t say The Booger Book is on my TBR pile but Blood Secret definitely is.]

11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:

Cattle vaccine.

[Juliet ~ Loving this interview. Can’t say I’ve ever had cattle vaccine in my fridge either. ;)]

12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?

There are too many fabulous destinations to choose from – have been lucky enough live overseas and every country has their own unique culture, cuisine, history, natural beauty and attractions.

13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?

a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.

b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).

c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.

d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.

LOL – me: d)

Laid back Big Farmer: a)


Thanks Alissa!

>> Even though Alissa Callen would probably love you to pay a visit, why not visit her online right now?

Website : Blog : Facebook : Goodreads 


>> And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her books here:


Book cover RHBeneath Outback Skies – Buy here.

Paige Quinn will let nothing and no one distract her from caring for her wheelchair-bound father, Connor, and fighting for her remote, drought-stricken property, Banora Downs. Least of all a surprise farm-stay guest named Tait Cavanaugh, whose smooth words are as lethal as his movie-star smile.

Except Paige can’t help noticing that, for a city-boy, Tait seems unexpectedly at home on the land. And he does ask a lot of questions…

It doesn’t matter how much he helps out or how much laughter he brings into her life, she soon suspects he is harbouring a big secret – the real reason he has come to Banora Downs…


What Love_cvr smallWhat Love Sounds Like – Buy here.

Outback speech pathologist, Mia Windsor, believes her morning from hell is over. Then suited-up, city-boy Kade Reid strides into her office and announces he and his wide-eyed niece are the clients that she will be living with for the fortnight.

Kade Reid adheres to a single edict — money is as important as breathing. But when he becomes an instant father to four-year-old Tilly, he escapes to the only place he was allowed to be a child…the family property of Berrilea.

As Mia and Kade work together to help Tilly overcome her speech delay, can they face their fears in order to give Tilly the family she so desperately needs?

Past, Present, & Future with Alissa Callen

In celebration of the upcoming release of my debut novel, Fast Forward (see announcement here), I’m doing a series of interviews with authors about their past, present & future. Today, please welcome… Alissa Callen!


1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a child I’d read books by torchlight and scribble stories that I’d put under my pillow for safekeeping only for them to end up in the wash. So have always wanted to read and write and lose self in fictional worlds where no washing ever needed to be done!

2. What did you do before you became a writer?

My background is in education and counselling but for the past fifteen years have been lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mum and traffic controller to four now-not-so-little children.

3. What is one of your most treasured memories from the past?

Reading. Being the eldest of seven kids peace and quiet was a rare commodity, so I’d take a book to the shearing shed and hideaway in the lanoline-scented silence. Even now I still have every horse book I ever bought as a child.


4. What’s your latest/upcoming release about and/or what are you currently working on?

Am very fortunate to have two books coming out in quick succession in 2013. January sees the release of What Love Sounds Like with Escape Publishing and then February 1 will have a launch title for the digital-first Random Romance list of Random House called Beneath Outback Skies.

Pony5. What’s a typical day like for you? (If there is such a thing!)

How my day unfolds is subject to the eating habits of a thirty year old grey pony. Depending on what time she finishes her breakfast, I will have either answered emails or have spent far too much time surfing the web. Then once she is back in her paddock (have learned not to start writing before then as can forget to untie her!) I write until twelve. Have lunch. Then write until school pick up at three. Then if am not required for taxi duties will sneak in a little more computer time before dinner.

6. Name three things you are grateful for in your life right now:

My long-suffering husband

Fabulous friends

Romance Writers of Australia


7. If you could fast forward in time to any age or year for just one day, what would you choose & why?

I’d choose 4 days – one for each of my children – with no set date, just so I could share in one of their future milestones and check that they were doing okay.

Book cover small8. If you could have any new technology or invention in the future that would make your life a whole lot easier (or more fun), what would it be?

Would love an internet connection that never drops out and only has one speed – fast! And for my husband I’d like a set of car keys that would come to you when you whistle!

9. What are your hopes & dreams for the future?

To keep writing the stories that sprout like mental-mushrooms when I sleep and to live long enough to see my children grow into the special adults that they will be.

Thanks so much Juliet for having me and I wish you all the very best for your own present and future.  I don’t need a crystal ball to know that your future will be bright and filled with many fabulous new releases like Fast Forward.

You’re welcome, Alissa, and thank you for your nice words! 🙂

WLSLVisit Alissa online:


Blog: Words, windmills and plot wrinkles @

Facebook: Alissa Callen – Author

Random House

Buy WHAT LOVE SOUNDS LIKE via Escape Publishing or your favourite ebook retailer.