Susanne Bellamy Is Going Places!

Sue 1Today, I’m delighted to introduce to the lair one of the nicest people I know, bubbly Aussie contemporary romance author Susanne Bellamy. Sue and I met at a workshop Bandita Christina Brooke and I ran for the Brisbane Writers Festival some years ago and it’s always such a pleasure to meet up with her and catch up on her doings. So I thought you guys should share in the fun!

You can find out more about Sue and her books on her website:

And Sue is a Facebook maven! You can find her at

Susanne, welcome to the Bandita lair!  I’m so excited to introduce our Bandita Buddies to a great new Aussie author. Firstly, can you please tell us about your latest release ONE NIGHT IN SORRENTO?

Delighted to visit your lair, Anna! I’ve been in my writing cave recently and needed to venture out!

Sue 2Italy has fascinated me for a long time. As a young teenager, I went to Italian language classes with an older sister and fell in love with the language; it’s not called a ‘romance’ language for nothing! Films such as “Roman Holiday” and “Only You” fed my addiction, and Italian dishes are my favourite foods. When I decided to try the novella form, I was on the Amalfi Coast and the story sprang almost fully formed into my mind.

Rhiannon Butler is on a business trip to Sorrento in place of her ill stepfather when an accident throws her in the path of Luca d’Alberghi, leather-clad and riding a monster motorbike. Serious chemistry sparks between them when they take a ride along this glorious coastline. What will one night in Sorrento bring?

Yummy! What were the inspirations behind this book?

Would you believe—the Amalfi Coast road! My husband and I spent a week there. The road has to be experienced but honestly—it was the inspiration for Luca and Rhiannon’s story. They meet on this road and Luca in his leathers takes Rhiannon up on his modern version of the ‘white charger’, a very big silver and black motorbike! There is something magical about this stretch of coast with its myriad bends and narrow passages. Brilliant driving and common sense negotiations keep it flowing and the views are stunning. It’s one of the top ten coastal drives in the world.

Sue 3Your debut release was WHITE GINGER. Can you tell us about that story?

While the cat’s away! My husband was on his fourth or fifth trip to Nepal and, to fill in the evenings while he was gone, I wrote WHITE GINGER. We chatted over incredibly slow internet connections and he would tell me about the cold and the snow; I transposed that to heat and sand. What better place than Kauai, one of the Hawaiian Islands!

Amelie Mackenzie needs an escape from her ex-fiancé and her boss offers her the chance to continue her fabric designs in Hawaii in preparation for a major trade show. Arne (Keanu) Keloki is a marine biologist fighting a desperate battle to protect the reef from a wealthy developer. Being with Arne is exciting and sparks become sizzling attraction as he challenges Amelie to overcome her deepest phobia. But danger and sabotage threaten not only their relationship but also their lives. Will their efforts to save the reef tear them apart?

Sue 6What is coming up for Susanne Bellamy?

On August 1, ENGAGING THE ENEMY releases with Harlequin’s Escape Publishing (digital). This story came into being on my first tram ride in Melbourne when I sighted an abandoned red brick building. The protagonists jumped into my head and my heart.

One building, two would-be owners. He needs it to avenge his past, she needs it for her future. When Matt Mahoney buys back the old home turned pub turned shelter for abused women and children, he buys into a fight he never expected. Wanting to restore his mother’s family home, he is challenged on every front by Andie de Villiers as she fights to keep the only shelter many of her clients have. His proposition is to become his fake fiancée in return for a brief reprieve. But what of the family feud neither knew existed?

Sue 7I’m currently in the middle of revisions for EMERALD QUEST: WINNING THE HEIRESS’S HEART for Entangled Publishing. It is the fourth of five books by five authors in a series that spans two centuries and releases in early 2015. My part of the story is set in — HAWAII! It’s 1960 and Hawaii has just joined the US as the 50th state. This romantic suspense will continue the search for a fabulous emerald and diamond necklace when English ‘heiress’, Eva Abbott, takes her nephew to a new life on a plantation in Hawaii. Her handsome neighbour, Luc Martineau, provides both help and hindrance. Who can Eva trust when bad things start happening?

Three other author friends and I are working on a Christmas anthology—our Christmas gift to our readers so keep an eye out for A SEASON TO REMEMBER come December!

I notice that you love to use exotic destinations as the settings for your books. Have you been to all these wonderful places? What’s your favorite travel destination?

Sue 4Tough question, Anna! I enjoy wherever I am though I recently realised I have a thing for high places. I love the cable car ride in Singapore, the funicular to Hong Kong’s Peak, the Eiffel Tower, Hitler’s Eyrie, Villa Jovus on Capri; if you can go up high to look out, I’ll probably be there. Places and atmosphere often stimulate a story idea for me. I love to people a place like the stretch of coast road in Atrani (next door to Amalfi) and see what happens when characters are taken out of their familiar environments. Rhiannon (ONIS) speaks not a word of Italian which leads to her dilemma in the first place! I also love to travel and have either visited, or plan to visit the places I write about. I have a story set in Nepal simmering away; I travelled there years ago with my husband who keeps going back to do harder climbing and trekking than I can manage. If I can evoke the feel of a new place for readers and give them a fun escape and vicarious travel, then I’m happy.

Sue 5If I have to pick just one place though, I’ll go with Tuscany. We lived in a vineyard villa for a while and took lots of day trips into the surrounding towns. Siena is stunning and Montepulciano is lovely (and high up!). The views are unbelievable.

As this is your first visit, we’d love to hear about your writing journey.

Like other writers, I’ve always been a voracious reader; I don’t remember a time when I haven’t read, including under the sheets with a torch after ‘lights out’. I won a writing competition at high school but didn’t write for many years while I worked and raised my family.

WHITE GINGER was my first full length book and it won third place in the RWA (Oz) Emerald Award. I have to thank you for encouraging me at the Brisbane Writers Festival to join the RWA and enter competitions! Unbelievable as it still seems, that first book was picked up by a small publisher. Wonderful writer friends have continued to encourage me along the way and I find myself with two works published, three more scheduled and a thousand and one stories calling to me to write them. I’m drawn to write romantic suspense but my reading tends to be historical romance; however, the Emerald Quest will allow me to combine both loves. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy WHITE GINGER and ONE NIGHT IN SORRENTO.

If you want to see some of my visual inspiration, check out my boards on Pinterest. I’m a visual person and these help me to construct character and place.


I’m offering one copy of either book to two commenters but you need to leave your email address in your comment to be in the running. If you’d like to be in with a chance, please tell me what you would like to do or see on a trip to either the Amalfi Coast or to Hawaii.  Easy!

Ooh, right now the thing I’d like to see is a ticket to either place! Thanks so much, Susanne. Get commenting, people! We could all do with some extra international glamour and romance in our lives!  

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  • Amy Conley says:

    Fried chicken it is 🙂

  • Jane says:

    Welcome Susanne,
    I’ve taken the tram to The Peak in Hong Kong a few times. I would love to visit the Amalfi Coast. I’ve seen so many postcard worthy images that I want to visit like the basilicas, museums and grottoes.

    • Jane, the idea of the Peak at Hong Kong always makes me think of howling my way through Love Is a Many Splendoured Thing. Has anyone else seen that?

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Jane, the Peak on Hong Kong Island is glorious in sun or cloud and the funicular offers so many peek-a-boo views on the way up, doesn’t it. The other thing I love are the Star ferries. We always take at least one ride when we’re there. Thanks for saying hi. And if you get to the Amalfi Coast, try the Emerald Grotto–it’s a bit less crowded than the Blue Grotto!

      • Jane says:

        We take the Star Ferry, too, because it’s cheap and we like to sit back and watch the scenery.

        • Susanne Bellamy says:

          That it is, Jane. People watching on the old Star Ferries is quite entertaining too.

  • Kate Belle says:

    What a wonderful way to interpret your travel experiences Susanne, into gorgeous romances. And I hadn’t registered your news re: Engaging the Enemy. Great title. And I agree with Anna, you are one of the nicest people I’ve ever met too. I wish you all the very best of luck with all your books.

    • Kate, thanks for swinging by the Bandits. So excited about Sue’s visit!

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Kate, thank you so much for your lovely message and thanks for calling by when you are so busy with your new release. I can’t wait to read “Being Jade” too. I guess I’ve always rather had my head in the clouds when travelling and I love to follow the ‘what ifs’ along the way. Being able to travel and say “I’m planning” my next book sounds like the perfect life to me! 😉 And thanks for your support!

  • Annie Seaton says:

    I am re-reading One Night in Sorrento while I am in Italy. You have a wonderful feel for setting, Susanne. I guess I’ll have to go to Hawaii next!

  • Susanne Bellamy says:

    Annie, hi! *waving* What a lovely thing to say, thank you. Give my regards to Tuscany. Maybe we can find a ‘conference’ in Hawaii! When the Emerald Quest is released, I’ll have two books set there!

  • Helen says:

    Hi Susanne

    What a great story I love White Ginger such a great read and I do have One Night in Sorrento in the TBR pile (I really need more time to read ) I would love to visit The AlmLfi coast I have read a few stories set there and really want to see it for myself 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Helen, I loved Annie West’s Back in the Italian’s Bed which is set around that part of the world. Made me want to go to the Hotel Bellini!

      • Susanne Bellamy says:

        Annie’s novella is like a shot of espresso–concentrated but so delicious! Loved it! 🙂

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Helen, it is the most wonderful drive but take a bus the first time. You’ll be up high and able to appreciate the drivers’ skills! So glad you enjoyed White Ginger; thanks for saying so, and I hope you enjoy One Night in Sorrento too when you get to it. It’s a novella so quite a quick read. My TBR pile is extensive as well but I love so much choice! Thanks for visiting 🙂

  • Mary Preston says:

    I always love the images you see of the Amalfi Coast. Just so beautiful. I think a bit of a gentle cruise around sounds good to me.

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Mary, the postcard images are real! The Amalfi Coast is glorious and its history comes alive along with romance. Cruising along the coast will certainly give you a taste. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    • Ooh, Mary, your comment put me in the mind for a Mediterranean cruise! A girl can dream, can’t she?

  • Minna says:

    Definitely Hawaii. It’s one of those places where I’ve always wanted to go.

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Minna, I think my first taste of Hawaii came through James Michener’s sweeping saga, “Hawaii”, which I read as a teenager. That whet my appetite for tropical destinations! Hope you achieve your dream of visiting the islands. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    • Minna, Hawaii just looks so beautiful, doesn’t it?

  • Alexa Bravo says:

    Wow, great insight into your writing Suzanne, your books are definitely going into my TBR list! The Amalfi Coast sounds amazing, though have to agree with you that Tuscany is simply stunning (and I loved Siena!). Sounds like your stories are the next best thing to being there.

  • Susanne Bellamy says:

    Alexa, I would be hard pressed to choose between the two regions although Limoncello might sway my decision to Amalfi! Isn’t Siena superb! I kept thinking of that horse race at the start of James Bond’s “Quantum of Solace” while we were in Il Campo though! Thanks for visiting 🙂

  • Efthalia says:

    Love how you’ve blended your travels into lovely stories.

    Tuscany, yes, it has that allure. I can see why you would pick it.

    I think we have a few similar tastes in movies and other things Susanne. 😉

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Hi Effie! I know you have blended your Greek heritage and travelling into your stories and how much they are enriched by your personal experiences. We certainly do share similar likes! Moonlight Martinis! 😉 Thanks for visiting.

    • Effie, I’d love to go to Greece one day. I was thinking about Mary Stewart’s evocative descriptions of Delphi in My Brother Michael when she recently passed away. So sad she’s gone. One of the greats!

  • Maureen says:

    I would love to go to Hawaii and see their beaches. If I remember correctly there is even a black sand beach somewhere in Hawaii.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      You’re right, Maureen. Punaluu Black Sand Beach on Big Island is one of the most famous black sand beaches in Hawaii but there are also white and green sand beaches, so I have read. I’d love to visit this one too! Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the giveaway! 🙂

    • Maureen, there’s a black sand beach in New Zealand too. Spectacular!

  • A great interview Susanne!

    Thank you Romance Bandits! 😀

  • Laurie G says:

    3 years ago my son honeymooned along the Five Fingers of the Amalfi Coast. They followed Rick Steve’s guideline They love to hike so they enjoyed this trip and shared tons of photos with the family. I liked the lemon city, Sorrento. I can see why you set your book there.They started in Naples, saw the Greek ruins, the Blue Grotto, and Positano.

    They did take the scenic bus trip and traveled on to the Dolomites to do more hiking. Beautiful views. Swiss influence. They went in May so the weather was perfect for hiking and less busy. The people were very friendly . They loved the food.

    I would love to hike this scenic Amalfi area.

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Laurie, what a lovely honeymoon trip for them! The scent of lemons is everywhere, reminding one of the fabulous food and limoncello famous to the area. We climbed through lemon-filled terraces high above Amalfi until we could climb no further (I was wearing sandals at the time!) I would love to have had more time to hike through the hinterland. Perhaps next time and then I can set a full length story there! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    • Laurie, what a coincidence! I’ve got an old friend staying with me tonight and she’s just back from a wedding in Positano. She has the most stunning photos!

  • Caren Crane says:

    Susanne, welcome to the Lair! I am dead jealous of your trip along the Amalfi Coast. I tried, years ago, to get my husband interested in going there. He was adamantly opposed, for NO GOOD REASON! I am determined to go, though.

    I adore long drives. I especially love windy, challenging roads with spectacular views. Being able to stop and enjoy fabulous meals at wonderful cafes tucked into bends in the road would just make it more magical! I don’t love the beach, but I love to gaze at the sea! 😀

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Thanks, Caren. I’m with you regarding sand. Hope you make it to Italy one day and travel the Amalfi road. If you love stunning sea views, climb up to Villa Jovus on Capri. That’s an amazing sight! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    • Caren, wouldn’t it be fun to have a Bandit reunion on the Amalfi coast? Clearly we need to work on this!

  • Mozette says:

    Aaahhh, I’m the type to go to Hawaii… yeah… I would hire a car and travel around the place from end to end photographing the whole place from the volcanos that meet the ocean to the gorgeously high mountains and huge surf that crash upon the blinding white sands…

    yeah, I’m a person who’d enjoy the scenery as well at the customs… and the men too… if they’re not too bad looking. 😛

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Hi Mozette, sounds like we’d be looking for similar experiences in Hawaii! In White Ginger, Amelie paints as well as photographs all these things you mention. Bet your hot men would be surfers too! Thanks for commenting 🙂

      • Mozette says:

        MMMmmmmm… Yeah… I’ve gone for a surfer once or twice in my life. Or even a skatehead or two. 🙂

        • Susanne Bellamy says:

          Hey, Mozette, would a hunky marine biologist who can take you to a gorgeous underwater world do? 😉

          • Mozette says:

            Oooohhh…. underwater???

            Um… okay… time to admit to a horrible fear here… I love water. Paddling in it, walking ankle-deep in it… looking at it… having water fights while waist deep in it… but sticking my head under its surface??? No way! I have a horrible fear of doing that because I’m scared of drowning… I know that sounds silly, but even under the most controlled conditions, I just can’t do it.

            I’m 40 now, and even though I own a lovely pair of swimmers/togs, I don’t go anywhere near the water.

          • Susanne Bellamy says:

            Mozette, I will also admit to a fair level of discomfort when out of my depth in water. In fact, I even gave Amelie in white Ginger my biggest phobia! Talk about realism in writing!

    • Mozette, a lot of people seem to be going for Hawaii today!

      • Mozette says:

        It’s because I don’t know where the other one is… 🙂

        • Susanne Bellamy says:

          Amalfi is on the west coast of Italy, Mozette, about halfway down. The island of Capri is close by and home to the Blue Grotto which you may have heard of? Google Amalfi and you’ll find lots of gorgeous photos!

          • Mozette says:

            Oooh! Sounds idilic!

            We have a place called The Blue Grotto here in Brisbane; it’s a bar on the northside of the city… very popular with the yuppy crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.

  • pearl says:

    Going to the Amalfi Coast would be lije a dream come true. Exploring the beauty, the history and the culinary delights would be memorable. Your books are ideal for summer reading. Best wishes.

    • Pearl, just the titles alone get you in, don’t they? One Night in Sorrento? Yes, please!

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Pearl, the cuisine is superb. We patronised a tiny, local, family-run restaurant for most evening meals while there. My husband tried a wonderful variety of seafood and I loved the many ways with pasta. And limoncello 😉 The history is fascinating, from ancient days to modern. We were lucky enough to attend an opera called ‘Amalfi’ in the local museum which used to be a ship builder. It told a love story through a 9th C betrayal to the Saracens and their ultimate defeat. Stellar performances. I have goose bumps remembering it!

  • anne says:

    The Amalfi Coast is one place that looks amazing and the drive would be hard to take but worth it. What a vista. Enjoyed your wonderful post and learning about your novels.

    • Anne, it’s always fun to introduce a great new Aussie author to the Bandits lair!

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Anne, I was so glad to be up high on a bus the first time we drove the road from Salerno. I could see over stone fences and over the edge! There are dozens of tiny ‘villages’ along the way, wherever people were able to cut far enough into the rock to create a dwelling. Stone lookouts dot the heights and tracks wend their way up from the single lane main road. It has over 1600 bends, one of several facts I just had to build into One Night in Sorrento! Thanks for visiting and your kind words.

  • elaina says:

    Hawaii would be fascinating to explore since there are so many interesting facets of the islands that interest me greatly. Lovely trip and I wish.

    • Elaina, another vote for Hawaii? I wish they’d have a Romance Writers of America conference there. I bet I’d be the first person to book!

      • Susanne Bellamy says:

        If I don’t beat you, Anna! What a great way to make travel ‘essential’!

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Hi Elaina. ‘Fascinating’ is the word for Hawaii! It calls to something in me too, like the line in ‘Bali Hai’, a song from ‘South Pacific’. I think I’m going to have to visit ALL of the islands one day! Thanks for visiting.

  • bn100 says:

    eat the food

  • ellie says:

    Your books would transport me to places which I pine for. What a creative talent you are blessed with. Visiting Amalfi sounds unforgettable. The photos capture the locale and are extraordinary.

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Hi Ellie, thanks for your kind words. Amalfi is unforgettable. I want to travel back there one day and stay longer! If I can give readers a taste of what a place is like in a story they enjoy, let them travel vicariously as it were, then I’m very happy. Thanks for visiting! 🙂

    • Ellie, I love Sue’s travel shots. Lovely to be able to illustrate the post with something so personal to the guest.

  • Noelle Clark says:

    A wonderful interview, Susanne and Anna. I love your passion for writing and travel, Susanne, and combining the two is just pure magic. When I read One Night in Sorrento, I could almost smell the orange blossoms and the salty sea. I held on tight on that road as I read, too. 🙂 Thanks for a wonderful post.

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Thanks for your lovely words, Noelle. I know your passion for the Amalfi Coast and Capri in particular through your gorgeous book, ‘Rosamanti’. I’m glad you got to ‘visit’ it again through my novella. Thank you for visiting 🙂

    • Noelle, it sounds like you’re another setting junkie. I love it when an author really brings out the settings as if I’m actually there.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Just popping in from deadline you-know-what to wave hello to Susanne and Anna! You are wicked women indeed to tempt me with Italy and Hawaii, when I am chained to my computer! 🙂 and now back to exotic New Jersey and my Ice Cats! Alhough I can’t complain as it has been a lovely day in Cambridge!

  • Susanne Bellamy says:

    Lovely to see you, Anna. We know all about ‘you-know-what’. Sometimes you need the sound of crashing waves or the scent of lemons for respite from your travails. Looking forward to your next book. Thanks for visiting! 🙂

  • Kariss Stone says:

    Wonderful interview Anna and Susanne. I’ve read both Susanne’s stories and just loved them. Her characters and settings are so rich. She’s an amazing storyteller. I’ve also travelled the Amalfi Coast by coach and it certainly was breathtaking. Love, love, love Italy! Suzanne can’t wait for your next release! You deserve all the success in the world. xx

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Hi Kariss, Thanks for your lovely, kind words! I’m very happy to know you have enjoyed my stories so much. Sounds like you are a fellow Italophile. Have you read Noelle Clark’s beautiful Caprese-set story and Annie West’s new Italian novella? Guaranteed hits of Italy! Not long until Engaging the Enemy releases. See you then! 😀

      • Kariss Stone says:

        No I haven’t read either of those two novels but all this talk of Italy is making me want to check them out. I’m going to go on a book buying binge now! Looking forward to the release of Engaging The Enemy too. Such a great title too. See you then! 🙂 xx

    • Kariss, welcome to the Romance Bandits! What a lovely message!

  • Mel says:

    Hi Sue! I enjoyed reading your post, it made me smile while I was stressing over my assignment! Anyway, you know that I love Hawaii, and would love to get back there, which is funny considering I am not a beach person! I like the friendly people and the warm weather, it is a great place for relaxing and just chilling out. I haven’t been to the Italian coast, but I have spent time in Rome which I love, it is one of my favourite places. I walked to the Colosseum in the moonlight which was just stunning. And I am off to Hong Kong in September, it really is the place to be it seems!

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      HK in September will be wonderful. Hope you have a wonderful time, Mel. Glad my post could relieve assignment stress! Thanks for visiting. 🙂

    • Mel, I absolutely love Rome too. I felt instantly at home there – and I really hadn’t expected to! I love that you can feel those rich layers of history everywhere – it’s a place with genuine soul!

  • Thanks so much for a great day of armchair travel in the lair. Sue, you’ve been a wonderful guest!

    Don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see who won Sue’s prizes! Good luck!

  • Amy Rose says:

    Lovely interview ladies!

    Susanne, I loved ‘One Night in Sorrento’. I’ve been to the Amalfi Coast and to Capri (love that place, especially the view from the top of the mountain – we caught the chair lift up to the peak). You’ve captured the feel of that part of Italy perfectly. Not sure if I’d be game enough as Rhiannon to ride pillion on a motorbike along those winding roads though, even if the man was as hot as Luca 😉 . Looking forward to reading ‘White Ginger’; it’s on my TBR pile – I didn’t know it came 3rd in RWAus’s Emerald Contest (so a very belated but heartfelt) congrats!!!). Wishing you all the best with your other new releases when they come out too.

    • Susanne Bellamy says:

      Hi Amy Rose, so glad you feel I captured the Amalfi setting. I loved being there and the story flowed from the place. I’d love to pillion behind Luca! Hope you enjoy White Ginger as much when you get to it and thanks for the congrats; it was the 2011 Emerald so a little while ago now. Thanks for visiting 🙂

  • Susanne Bellamy says:

    Anna, thank you for hosting my debut visit to your lair and thanks to your wonderful visitors who stopped by to say hello. I love sharing travel stories and hearing other people’s tales. I had a wonderful time and you are a very gracious host. I particularly enjoyed the champers 😉