The world needs more romantic comedy! Which is why I’m so excited to have my fellow Aussie rom com writer Cassandra O’Leary here to talk about her prize-winning debut novel, Girl on a Plane – a sexy, sassy, summer read. I’m a former aviation girl, so anything with a plane is guaranteed to catch my eye, and if it’s funny and romantic, all the better!
ABOUT CASSANDRA O'LEARY
Cassandra O’Leary is a romance and women’s fiction writer, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things.
In 2015, Cassandra won the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Maze/HarperCollins UK and her debut contemporary romance/romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, was released in July. She was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest run by Romance Writers of Australia.
Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous.
CLIMB ON BOARD . . .
When feisty Irish flight attendant Sinead Kennealy locks eyes with sexy Australian CEO Gabriel Anderson in First Class, sparks fly. But as they jet across the globe from Melbourne to London, it’s clear that they’re in for a turbulent journey . . .
Stressed-out Gabriel doesn’t do relationships. And Sinead isn’t about to be fooled by another bad boy after escaping her stalker ex. Then a storm hits, causing the plane to land unexpectedly, and Sinead and Gabriel are thrown together in Singapore.
The pressure rises as Sinead’s unhappy past threatens to catch up with her. But might Gabriel be the one to heal her heartbreak? If he could open up about his troubling secrets, maybe a relationship could actually get off the ground. Fasten your seatbelts – this WON’T be a smooth ride . . .
READ A LITTLE, BUY THE BOOK…
Sinead scanned the rest of her passengers, letting her gaze slide over the business people who all looked much the same. Except…
Well, hello there.
Shockingly handsome young man with a perfectly sculpted face, full, kissable lips, sparkling blue eyes and dark blonde hair in 3A. Her belly fluttered and flipped. She was experiencing mild turbulence. Because of him? Her gaze tracked down his long, lean form, from broad shoulders to slim hips under a sharply cut suit. The man knew how to wear a suit.
And the man stared directly at her with intent—anyone would think he wanted to pounce on her and eat her alive. Yowza. Her stomach performed its own little dance and flipped over in the most peculiar way. As if she was falling.
Her hands formed into fists at her side and she sucked in a soothing deep breath. She was all hot then cold, goosebumps pebbling down her arms. The last thing she needed was another man who wanted to own her. But not all muscular and fit men were like Padraig. She’d left her mad ex-boyfriend years and thousands of miles away. Why couldn’t he stay there, out of sight, out of mind?
Don’t engage the crazy. Calm blue ocean. The image of a tropical Thai beach popped into her mind and calm washed over her like gentle waves against the shore.
She was still staring at Mr Hot Stuff in 3A. Rubbing her arms, she hastily looked away.
It was nearly time for the coffee and tea service, not the time for the distraction of a handsome man with a James Bond-ish air about him. Who looked like he would be able to handle himself… and a woman too.
What would it feel like, to let him handle her? Oh, Lord. She had a sneaking suspicion it would feel mighty fine. Heat crept up her throat and surged across her cheeks. The last thing she needed was a blush lighting up her face like an emergency beacon.
Check out the trailer...
Avril: How often do you get lost in a story?
Cassandra: As often as possible! I generally read every night before bed for about an hour, so I suppose I read one or two books a week depending on length. I also love movies and TV, but I’ve been trying to limit my viewing to make sure I have time to write and read. As far as writing goes, I write five days a week when I’m in drafting mode. When I’m in editing mode, I just tear my hair out.
Avril: Tell us how the good news about your first book unfolded.
Cassandra: I’m a fairly new fiction writer, having decided to write my first novel about three years ago and throwing myself in at the deep end (I learned to swim along the way). In early 2014, I started writing a short story about a flight attendant who meets a sexy first class passenger, which morphed into a full-length contemporary romance novel. Sinead and Gabriel had a bigger story to tell!
After entering the manuscript in a few writing contests and submitting it to several publishers, I received an email out of the blue in August 2015 from an editor at HarperCollins in London. I’d won the We Heart New Talent contest which I’d entered in February. OMG! The prize was a publishing contract with digital-first line, Avon Maze!
Then came a few months of re-writing and polishing, followed by the editorial and marketing stages. Now, my debut novel, Girl on a Plane, is out in the world after launching on 18 July 2016.
Avril: Were you always drawn to writing romantic comedy or are there other subgenres you considered as well?
Cassandra: I love romantic comedy, both in books and film, and it was natural I’d be drawn to writing it. There were years of immersion in romcoms that came flooding into my work once I started writing fiction. At the moment, my ideas seem to fit into romance with humour and women’s fiction genres. But I also love to read widely, and I may venture into young adult or science fiction one day. I am a huge fan of both The Hunger Games and Star Trek, for example, so I could see myself wandering off in either direction.
Avril: Are there any particular writers who’ve inspired you along the way?
Cassandra: Truck loads! In romance and women’s fiction, I’m drawing inspiration from Aussies such as Amy Andrews, Kelly Hunter, Sarah Mayberry and yourself, Avril! Internationally, I love Marian Keyes, Victoria Dahl, Maggie Alderson, Paige Toon and so many more. In humour fiction, I adore Douglas Adams, Ben Elton and Dawn French.
Avril: Can you tell us what traits you most admire in a hero and heroine?
Cassandra: In a hero, I suppose it’s having a heart that’s open to love, even if he’s a tough guy on the outside. I love a male character who isn’t afraid to go after what he wants. In a heroine, I want to see both strength and vulnerability and someone who can look after herself. If the characters are funny, that gets bonus points.
Avril: If you had a crystal ball, where would you see yourself as a writer in five years’ time?
Cassandra: Hopefully I’ll be writing fabulous stories with a few more books out in the world, in print as well as e-book. And sitting in my own special writing room in my renovated house. Or living in a villa in Tuscany, because, why not? If I was a bestseller into the bargain, that would be awesomesauce.
Avril: What are you currently working on?
Cassandra: I’m finishing another romantic comedy manuscript, Dating Little Miss Perfect, which features online dating and mistaken identities. Then I’d like to get back to a manuscript I started about a year ago, but didn’t get much time to work on. That’s actually a linked book or continuation of Girl on a Plane…but somehow I couldn’t write it straight after finishing the first novel.
Avril: What are your favourite subgenres to read?
Cassandra: I love contemporary romance with humour, but sometimes I need a change. I’ve been getting into historical romance including Anna Campbell and Tessa Dare’s regency romances. Also, I’m reading a little fantasy with romance, such as the fantastic Captive Prince series by C.S. Pacat.
Avril: As a romance reader, what’s your pet hate?
Cassandra: I’m not into extreme alpha-holes or TSTL (too stupid to live) heroines! I also have issues with heroes calling a woman ‘baby girl’ or ‘little girl’ – to me that’s icky.
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* Sunshine Smart has only got two months until the big day!
* She has to include the grouchy, surly best man Leo Quartermaine—a top chef and her complete opposite!
* Said best man is extremely handsome and sexy—and knows it! * He has no interest in decor, flowers, clothes or shoes…but has an uninformed opinion on all four!
* And just a few days in she's already slept with him. Rookie mistake…
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