Hello Monique, congratulations on the release of ‘A Fair Exchange’, and welcome to Author’s Limelight!
Here’s the blurb-
Who hasn’t wondered about their first love?
What went wrong?
Where are they now?
What if you got a second chance?
Amelia Armstrong is about to find out.
What a shame her long-lost love, Matt, has returned (looking way too good and acting way too sweet) when her life is a shambles and she has finally decided once and for all to put herself and not whichever man is currently in her life, first.
How do you balance that desire to recapture that loving feeling with the need to finally be the best version of yourself?
What if this really is the one, how do you choose when to stand your ground and when to cut your losses?
Amelia takes a journey from Sydney to New York and back again trying to find the answers while negotiating with pop-divas, ex-lovers, crazy teenagers, a well-meaning cousin and the tabloids.
A Fair Exchange is a story about being a grown up when, maybe, you’d much rather be sixteen again.
What was the first story you ever wrote? I don’t remember the very first story I ever wrote. I wrote a lot of stories as a kid. I had notebooks full of them. I do remember writing a story about Sunny the Easter Bunny that I got to read out to the school assembly in Year 1.
Of all the individuals you have created, do you have a particular favourite? What appeals to you the most about this character? That is such a hard question. I always love my female leads, I consider them friends that I get to hang out with for the duration of the novel. In A fair Exchange my favourite character is Matt. He has a big heart and even though he’s had a few tough breaks he is a really optimistic and generous character.
Has being published changed you at all? If so, how? I think being published has opened me up to a whole new world of people I wouldn’t have accessed otherwise. Lots of writers and readers have come in to my life. Also I’m really bad at talking about myself in real life, I love asking questions and finding about other people but being a writer I’ve had to get over that a bit or no one would ever know I’d written a book.
What would we find on your bookshelf / e-reader? I read loads of romance and I also read lots of chicklit and literary fiction. In paperback this week I’m reading The President’s Hat for book club, I recently read the latest Fannie Flagg book, The All Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion. On my Kindle you’ll find a mish mash of romance, writing books, cosy mysteries and chicklit. One of the lovely things about writing is you meet lots of authors and I tend to readapt least one book by an author I’ve had contact with, and if I like it then more.
What’s the most unappealing thing you’ve ever eaten? I don’t like soggy food at all. I can’t have pie and ice cream because it gets mushy, no cereal for the same reason or trifle. Having said that, isn’t tripe the most disgusting thing anyone has ever eaten?
If you could be any of the following characters for one day, who would you be and why? How would you re-write the ending?
a) Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind.
b) Thelma or Louise from Thelma and Louise.
c) Princess Leia from Starwars.
d) Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffanys.
I’ll take D Holly Golightly thank you. (I’d be no good in a war so that eliminates A and C and I don’t want to die so there goes B). I’d give them a happy ending of course. Maybe a nice penthouse overlooking central park and I would like a proposal with a ring from Tiffany’s as well.
Of all the books in history, which do you wish you wrote and why? Little Women, it’s my all time favourite book. I love the family and I adore Jo.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why? I do think I’d enjoy being able to fly.
If you could go back in time, where would you go and when? What is one thing you would want to take with you? Fun question. I think I’d got to the 1960’s in the USA, maybe I watched too much Happy Days as a kid but it has an idyllic look to it. I might take a computer so I could write down what I saw.
Can you tell us about your works in progress? This week I have released my fifth novel A Fair Exchange. It draws a little on my own experience as an exchange student as a teen and looks at what happens when your first love comes back into your life (that part isn’t based on experience). I have also just completed a novella which I hope to have out mid-year.
Finally, can you give us a sneaky excerpt from ‘A Fair Exchange’, please?
It was not as if he was the first one to mention it. In the past week everyone who had entered my apartment had commented on the shiny new Vespa parked in the middle of the otherwise empty living room. In fact, each and every one of them had imaginatively said “Amelia you have a red Vespa parked in your living room!” And they all said it in a tone that implied I might not have noticed, as if it may have magically appeared there.
How could I not notice a vehicle parked in what was otherwise an empty room?
What amazed me was that the Vespa was what they chose to comment on.
Not that Nick had dumped me, after ten years, for a twenty-one year-old. Nor that he had moved out, taking basically all the furniture and leaving me with a great view over the beach and an enormous mortgage.
No one even commented about the fact that I, in turn, had quit the fabulous job that had always meant way too much to me.
No, they commented on the Vespa.
What I could not understand though was why it hadn’t bothered me until right then, when Matthew Blue commented. And when he did comment, why had I collapsed into this embarrassing sea of tears? How had this happened? How had I become this sobbing pathetic figure of womanhood? And more importantly how had I ended up thirty-six and alone?
Didn’t I used to have so much potential?
Everyone had said so, hadn’t they?
“Amelia Armstrong is something special.”
I was one of those shiny young girls who took risks and dreamed big.
I was one of the smart ones who knew what she wanted and went after it.
I was one to watch.
If I hadn’t been that kind of a girl I would never have met Matthew all those years ago.
A different girl would not have found herself, on the other side of the world, at sixteen, staring into his dark and dreamy eyes. S
o where was that girl right now, I wanted to know? And how had a girl with so much potential gotten it so horribly wrong?
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