Thursday, July 12, 2007


I first met Barbara Hannay at the Romance Writers of America conference in New York. Since then we've shared a meal in London and maybe, one day, we'll get together in Australia.
Here's what she has to say about her Rita nominated book CLAIMING HIS FAMILY...
A marriage renewal…

Many of my stories have ended with happy marriages in the Outback, but in Claiming His Family, I asked, what if, this time, one of my characters simply cannot face the unrelenting isolation, the hardship and danger in remote Australia?

Erin Riley, a born-in-the-womb New Yorker, has agreed to take her little boy to the Outback to meet his father – her ex-husband – whom she hasn’t seen for five years.

Seeing Luke again, Erin’s not sure how she’s supposed to act around the man she once loved so deeply.
The memories of their marriage come flooding back… the happy times, and the problems that tore them apart. Now Luke is determined for her to stay. But Erin knows their problems have not disappeared, so how can she give their marriage a second chance – and let them become a family again…?

Here's an excerpt ...

“There’s no point in my coming to the airport,” Erin said, keeping her gaze no higher than Luke’s broad shoulder. “I’ll say goodbye here.”

She knelt beside Joey and gave him a hug and a kiss and then another hug. Joey clung to her and she could feel his little body trembling with excitement and just a little fear. “Daddy’s going to take good care of you,” she whispered. Then she said more brightly, “You can call me when you get to Warrapinya. I’ll expect to hear all about your adventures.”

The boy nodded against her shoulder, and she gave him one more kiss, a final hug.

“I love you,” she whispered and then she stood. Her eyes met Luke’s and she forced a smile. “I packed a photo album in with Joey’s things. It’s for you. I had copies made of all the best ones. Of Joey. You know. All the milestones.”

“Thanks.” His voice sounded rough around the edges.

“You’d better get going,” she said, keeping her chin bravely high.

“Indeed.” With two fingers he snagged Joey’s suitcase.

Erin opened the door. “Have a great trip now.”

The man and the boy passed through the doorway.

“Bye, Mom.”

“Bye, Joey-boy.” Erin swallowed to push away the sharp lump in her throat.
Luke was still watching her closely, and then he set down the suitcase. “I’d better say goodbye, too.”

Before she had time to understand what was happening, his hands were at her waist and he was kissing her.

Her heart took a leap. She felt a hot rush of excitement as he drew her against him. Within seconds she was trembling beneath the unexpected warmth of his lips.
She had tried so hard to forget what Luke’s kiss was like. She’d blocked from her mind the physical desire she’d always felt for him. But now her senses sprang to life. The taste of Luke Manning sent her skin aflame. Her heart was a flower bursting into bloom.

“No!” Joey’s voice shouted beside them. “No, Dad, stop it. Mommy doesn’t want you to kiss her. She told me.”

With a sharp groan, Luke lifted his head. His arms released her as quickly as he’d embraced her and he stepped away.

Stunned, flushed and breathless, Erin sagged against the door frame.

“Are you all right, Mommy?” Joey looked worried and he touched her hand.

She took a quick breath and nodded and she squeezed his fingers to reassure him. “Yes, sweetheart, of course I’m okay. I’m fine.”

Her eyes sought Luke’s, but he was already bending to retrieve the suitcase. When he straightened, she saw that his face was flushed and his eyes were burning beneath stern brows. He stood very stiffly and gave her a curt nod, and then turned to the boy. “Are you ready, Joey?”

“Yeah, sure. I’ve been ready for ages.”

“Then we’d better be on our way.”

Now they were heading down the hall and Joey flashed Erin one last, searching glance over his shoulder.

She waved and smiled fiercely to show him she was fine.

“I don’t know why Mom doesn’t want you to kiss her, do you, Dad?” she heard Joey ask, and she knew that Luke said something in reply but she couldn’t hear his answer.
It must have been flippant, because as she watched, Joey laughed and then he gave a little skip and he took his father’s hand and then they turned the corner and disappeared.
More from Barbara...
And finally....

When Liz Fielding first asked me to join her in writing a trilogy with Jackie Braun, I didn’t hesitate – not even for a split second. And what a wonderful journey we’ve been on together, from the early discussions through all stages of the writing process.

In much the same way, our three heroines, Belle, Simone and Claire support each other when they return home from the Himalayas to face the challenges of their pasts. For Simone, revealing the truth about her own past is terrifying, but she’s plunged into even deeper turmoil when she loses her private dairy and compromises the shared secrets of her two friends.

Simone never expects to find that very special man, someone she can trust with the truth about her past and her hopes for the future. She has no idea that Mr. Right is just around the corner. Fpr more information, check out Barbara's website

Coming in September from Barbara Hannay

Needed: Her Mr. Right, the second book in the SECRETS WE KEEP trilogy…
And for a chance to win a signed book from Barbara's backlist, why don't you tell us what it is that you love about stories set in the Outback?
Draws for the prizes won't take back until after the weekend when the travellers have returned from conference.


Annie West said...

Hi Barbara, it's great to see you here. Good luck with the upcoming RITAs!

What do I like about outback stories? The sense of space, of the unique feel of the place, plus the fact that it's the sort of location where, despite the vast distances, hero and heroine are usually stuck with each other, unable to escape from their problems/feelings. What fun!


Kelly Hunter said...

Best of luck with the doorstop acquisition, Barbara. What a fabulous field of finalists. Congrats regardless!

What do I like about outback stories? Well it's not the exotic locale and harsh grandeur of the place. I live in rural Australia and the dirt outside the door is red. It runs for miles... Nope, nothing romantic there - not in reality. Too much dirt. Far too many flies.

But in a book...well then, that's different. In a book the outback is a protagonist in itself. It can break you, make you, make you realise what's important. Add a hero who has tamed it (or tamed his slice of it) and you're automatically talking about a man of strength and honour. Add a heroine who can tame HIM and I'm in heaven.

yup, when it comes to outback stories I'm sooo easy.

CrystalG said...

I like outback stories because of the scenery that is described and the culture.

Kate Hardy said...

Nice to see you here, Barbara (and it was lovely meeting you at AMBA when we went for tea at the Ritz with Jenny).

I think for me it's the sheer scale of the place. It could swallow up my part of the world whole - several times over! And as Kelly said, it becomes a character itself. (Very Thomas Hardy... Down Under, that is *g*)

I'm used to wide skies, but I'm also used to lots of little tiny villages around - I think being in a place where there was nobody else for miles and miles and miles would be pretty scary. So a hero who didn't turn a hair at that - someone who was brave and capable - would definitely hit the button for me.

Mary Blake said...

I have always enjoyed Outback stories because the locale is so far removed from my own corner of the world. Everything the authors describe is new to me, and I truly feel transported to a different place.


Barb said...

Wow, This really is like coming to a party and meeting up with old friends and interesting new chums. And so great to read your comments about stories set in the Outback.
I have to agree that the Outback becomes another character in many of my books, none more so than in CHF. And, mostly, the o'back is the "baddie." :)
But I try to show its grandeur and beauty, too -- and the way the heroine comes to see the Outback more through the hero's eyes as she begins to fall in love with him.

Fiona Lowe said...


Congrats again on being a RITA finalist...such a great book! I love the outback ...the colours, the space, the sky that goes on forever. And I love how it becomes a part of the story, challenging the H& can really ramp up the conflict.

Anne McAllister said...

Best of luck with the RITAs, Barbara! Will be keeping good thoughts!

Valerie said...

Hi again,

I think Outback stories are interesting because its a place I've never been to, so reading about the scenery and culture, its like taking a trip without leaving my home!!


Eva said...

Wild, open spaces, new, different world.

Congratulations to all the RITA finalists!

JOYE said...

I grew up in the west of the United States and I think it has some of the similar things that the Outback has-wide open spaces, clear blue skies, rugged terrain, and rugged, appealing men. It is one of the places I have never traveled to so I always pick up those books. I guess you could say I am an armchair traveler.
Hope you win

Lisa Avila said...

I love listening to men from Austrailia talk, and when I read a book about the outback I picture Crcodile Dundee or The Crocodile Hunter, both of whom I love.

Sue A. said...

Australia is one of those places I've always want to go to so I enjoy visiting it whenever I can even if it is only through books.

Becky said...

What I like about the outback is the wide open space and the sense of secludedness you feel. It gives you the sense that that's a perfect place for a romance to play out because no one's around. It's just you and your lover.

Pam said...

Good luck, Barbara.

Outback romances are interesting because it's very different than my own country - the language, the wide open spaces, the animals...Crocodile Dundee at time, Thunder Boys from Down Under now, lol.

Jackie said...

Since I've not been to Australia it's always interesting reading about the countryside and the cultures that are described in books set in Australia.

Maureen said...

Congratulations on your nomination Barbara. I enjoy stories set in the Outback because they bring me on a trip to this place that I have never seen which is so different from where I live.