Posted by Anna Campbell May 2 2012, 12:02 am in Ali Ahearn, Alison Ahearn, Amy Andrews, Anna Campbell, Australian, Bandita Booty, Co-writers, Contemporary fiction, Contemporary romances, Great reads, Guests Authors, Medical Romance, Ros Baxter, Sister Pact, sisters, women's fiction
by Anna Campbell
I’ve been dying to bring Alison and Ros to the lair. They’re such fun in person!
Alison is well known to us through her Amy Andrews persona as Mills and Boon Medical Romance (and now Riva/Presents) author extraordinaire . Their joint project SISTER PACT is Ros’s publishing debut. Not only that, but SISTER PACT is fantastic. I read it in one gulp last month. Seriously, I laughed, I cried, I hissed, I cheered. It’s a wonderfully rich reading experience and in between the riotous humor, it packs a big emotional punch. Definitely one for the TBR pile, guys!
Here’s their fun bio:
Ali and Ros are sisters who are as close as they are different. Ali married the first boy she ever loved. Ros tried to remember the name of hers the other day and gave up and had a chocolate bar instead. Ali thinks everything will work out. Ros thinks everything will get found out. But for all their differences, they are fiercely close and desperately proud of each other. Nothing feels real until it has been spoken aloud to the other. They both love to talk, laugh and write preferably over a bottle of bubbly and something coated in chocolate. They live in Brisbane.
SISTER PACT has its own website: www.sisterlit.com
Ali/Amy’s website is: www.amyandrews.com.au
You can buy SISTER PACT from Booktopia: http://www.booktopia.com.au/sister-pact/prod9780732293130.html and at all good Aussie book stockists.
Anna: Ros and Ali, welcome to the lair! Congratulations on the release of SISTER PACT. Can you tell us about this story?
Ali: Thanks so much, Anna. It’s fab to be here with the Banditas – we love your blog!
So what’s the story about ……
Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles… oh, hang on, that’s PRINCESS BRIDE.
Ros: But there is fighting and torture and revenge and chases and true love and miracles and a quest for money and honour, but something a lot more precious than that, for sisterhood. No Inigo Montoya.
Anna: LOVE Inigo Montoya!
Ali: There is Nick, though. Hunky gorgeous hard man who can shear a sheep, build a shelter, light a fire and slay dragons all before breakfast.
Ros: And Lex who can quote Shakespeare and smuggles pink doughnuts ….
But the real blurb is here:
Two very different sisters. Once inseparable, they have long been estranged after an unimaginable betrayal.
Organised and uptight Frances married the only man she’d ever slept with. But no-one ever told her that seven years later she’d be having sexual fantasies about everyone from the pizza delivery guy to Denis Thatcher.
Scatterbrained animal-lover Joni never knew she was so attached to her kneecaps until she thought she might have to say goodbye to them forever.
After their beloved grandmother - a game show addict – dies, they discover that they have each been left one million pounds in her will. The kicker is they can only inherit if they participate as a team in a gruelling reality TV program, Endurance Island.
They can survive the jungle. They can survive the humiliating challenges. But can they survive each other?
Anna: What were the inspirations behind this book?
Ali: Several bottles of fantastic New Zealand Sauv Blanc.
Ros: And a terrible addiction to bad reality television…
Ali: The crazy idea we could do it despite our mother’s presentiments of doom.
Ros: And lots of experience at sister stuff – love, laughter, and the usual catastrophes. Most of all, we really wanted to write a book that nailed sisters – in all their glory, love and ferociousness.
Anna: We love call stories in the lair. Can you give us yours?
Ros: Well, we got the chance to pitch to HarperCollins at the 2010 Bundaberg Writers Festival but Ali (the far more experienced of the two of us in such matters) couldn’t make it. I had zero experience with such things and was convinced I was going to blow it completely. Of course, I made sure I was lookin’ good and feeling sparkly by being up entire night before with multiple vomiting children (was still sponging puke off my shirt when they called me to go in for the pitch – nice!). I then broke all the rules of playing it cool and just about crawled into the lap of Jo Butler from HarperCollins the minute she started saying nice things about the book. Also displayed huge amounts of self-belief by continually shaking my head and saying “really?” at each compliment. She then started harassing Anna Valdinger to read the manuscript and we started to get tingles…
Ali: And then, I was at the Coogee Romance Writers of Australia conference a couple of months later and I spied Bandita Anna talking to HarperCollins Anna and I hadn’t met her yet just knew she was the gatekeeper. So I sidled up to Bandita Anna who introduced me, being the polite, well-mannered Bandita she is and then HC Anna started raving about the book, compared it to Marian Keyes – yes, Marian freaking Keyes!!! – and poor Bandita Anna was very confused for a minute but she caught on like wildfire and even though it was another couple of months before we got an official offer through our agent, the tingles multiplied!
Anna: Great call story, gals! I remember thinking I’d stepped into an alternative universe for a moment there. Nice to know I can keep my wits about me when the next dimension takes over! I think most people will be utterly fascinated by how you managed to write a book between you and what impact that process had on your relationship as sisters. Can you give us a glimpse of your working method?
Ali: Step 1. Open a bottle of wine.
Ros: Step 2. Drink the bottle of wine between the two of you then come up with a plot.
Ali: Step 3. Laugh a lot as plot gets wilder and you start thinking everything is hilarious.
Ros: Step 4. Read it in the cold light of day and cull the bits that are less lucid.
Seriously, though, we did some good plotting initially, but tried to balance it with letting the muse have her head as the story took shape. Ali would write one chapter from her character’s point of view, and I’d write the next. It was exciting seeing the next instalment drop into your in-box and wild (and sometimes terrifying) to see where the plot would go.
The process was very much like a conversation between sisters – wild tangents and plot turns, somehow getting back to the point, having lots of laughs along the way and realising at the end of it all that you’ve learned a lot about each other.
Anna: Sounds like great fun! I only get to raise a glass with the characters in my head. Much better in the flesh. What’s next for you both?
Ali: We’ve just finished the second Joni and Frances instalment – Frankie gets kidnapped by a cult and Joni has to come to the rescue. Fingers crossed it will be in the stores this time next year.
Ros: Baby number four.
Ali: I have a feeling some Aunty babysitting might also be in my future.
Ros: Booking my husband’s vasectomy.
Ali: Not saying I told you so when four children really do drive my sister over the edge….
Ros: Using the respite offered by some maternity leave to do some revisions to a single title manuscript that I’ve had some interest in.
Ali: More books for the Medical and Presents line for Harlequin. Hoping to finally sell a much loved single title of mine. And please, please get a chance to read something from my enormous TBR pile!
Anna: Do you girls have anything to ask the Banditas and Bandita Buddies to get the conversation rolling?
Ali: Ros and I love the way women converse with each other and tell stories. It’s never linear, always meanders and diverts into little side alleys along the way but is always enthralling and hours can pass before you know it. When you get together with girlfriends or female relatives what are some of the weirder tangential conversations you’ve had?
Ali and Ros have very generously offered a signed copy of SISTER PACT (international) today to one of our commenters. Believe me, you will LOVE this book, so get commenting, people!