It gives me great pleasure to welcome debut author Maya Linnell to Behind the Pen today, here to share with us a few of her favourites. Over to you Maya…
What is your favourite…and why…
Character from one of your books?
One of my favourite Wildflower Ridge characters is Nanna Pearl. She’s only a minor character, the grandmother of the lead male Tim, but her huge heart, permed lilac hair and penchant for fluorescent workout gear make me smile every time.
Scene from one of your books?
I’ve got a soft spot for the scene where Penny rediscovers her late mother’s recipe book and decides to have a crack at baking herself happy. A city girl for all of her professional life, Penny slowly reconnects to her rural lifestyle when illness forces her back home. I have many glossy, properly published books in my collection, but nothing beats the dog-eared pages of my recipe compilations, filled with items like Mrs Schiller’s pudding, Tree Kent’s pineapple sponge, Grandee’s ANZACS and Emma’s choc chip bikkies. I especially love the ones from my grandmother, who still bakes at age 90. When my baking days are over, I’d like to think my children will have the same fondness for my handwritten recipes. The pages are sprinkled with cocoa, stained with tea, and there are notes next to best-loved ones, like the banana cake that won a blue ribbon at our local show in 2019 and everyone’s favourite chocolate slice.
Movie of all time?
Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. This version came out when I was a teenager, and every time I hear a song from the soundtrack, I’m taken straight back to my crush on Leonardo DiCaprio and the repeat viewings of the movie with my high school girlfriends. The scene at the fancy dress party – when Romeo and Juliet are looking at each other through the fish tank – still gives me the shivers.
Book that you always keep a copy of and recommend to others?
I have quite a collection of Rachael Johns’ books, but I’m looking at my bookshelf as I type and they all seem to be on loan! Must restock so I have more to hoist on friends suffering reading slumps.
Fashion accessory that despite having plenty of, you still keep collecting?
Scarves. They have a habit of mysteriously multiplying… Living in south west Victoria, there are plenty of scarf-wearing months in the year, and I treasure the hand-knitted ones from my grandmother, scarves my sister Zoe brought me in Turkey and gifts from friends and family.
Drink that you enjoy every day?
Tea – strong and white, no sugar, steaming hot. I’m not fussed on coffee, but I don’t know how I’d manage without tea.
Treat you indulge in?
I’ve gotten into the habit of doing ‘Yoga with Adriene’ several times a week. There are hundreds of free yoga classes on her YouTube channel to suit every mood and time limit, and she talks a lot about showing up and giving yourself the gift of yoga. I don’t always feel like dragging my butt onto the yoga mat, but I’m better off for it. Every. Single. Time!
Place to be?
The light-filled office in the house we built ourselves is a great place to write. If I look straight over the top of my computer screens, I can see our steers in the paddock and the cargo ships on the horizon, lined up to come into port. The chook house is to the west, alongside sheets flapping on the clothesline near the prettiest section of my rose garden, and to the east are views across our neighbour’s paddocks.
Person you admire?
Anh Do – This guy is impressive on all fronts. His inspiring memoir The Happiest Refugee had me crying and laughing, his kids books keep my children captivated, and his artwork is incredible. On top of that, he seems like a really nice guy.
Season of the year?
Spring! I love gardening, and my flowers are at their best in spring. There’s the promise of warmer weather on the way, everything’s had a great soaking of rain, the ranunculus bulbs mass planted near the chook house are in full bloom, my irises are in top form, and the fruit trees are blossoming. It’s the time of year I dig up all my dahlia bulbs and divide them ready for replanting and sharing with friends. Still cool enough to wear woolly cardigans but there’s also the occasional novelty of T-shirt wearing weather.
Four sisters, one farm and a second chance at following your heart.
‘A moving tale of endings, new beginnings and love. A page turner.’ – Fleur McDonald, author of the bestselling Where the River Runs
Penny McIntyre loves her life as an ambitious city professional, with a marketing team at her fingertips and a promotion just within reach. So when she’s floored by a mystery illness, and ordered back to the family farm for three months’ rest and recuperation, she is horrified to find her perfect life imploding.
Within days, Penny has to leave her much-loved job, her live-in boyfriend, and her beloved city apartment … to return to the small country town in which she grew up. Back to her dad and three sisters, one of whom has never forgiven her for abandoning her family. And to her ex-boyfriend, Tim Patterson, who was the biggest reason she ran away in the first place.
When Penny’s father is injured in a farming accident and Tim campaigns to buy the property, she must choose between the city life she loves and the farming dream she buried long ago.
Wildflower Ridge is rural fiction straight from the heart.
Allen and Unwin will publish Wildflower Ridge on June 3, 2019
Follow Maya online:
Maya Linnell grew up in a small country town, climbing towering gum trees and reading her way through her family’s bookshelves before discovering a never-ending supply of novels at the local library. She found her feet in journalism, working at a rural newspaper before segueing into public relations and now fiction writing and blogging for Romance Writers Australia. Wildflower Ridge is her debut novel and gathers inspiration from her rural upbringing and the small communities she has always lived in and loved. Maya currently lives in rural Victoria with her husband and children.