An American woman, named Holly, has everything she could possibly want living in the city of Melbourne. Her Australian husband, Tom, works hard chasing his hierarchical corporate dreams, so much so that he forgoes Holly’s happiness. Fighting to make their marriage work, Holly uncovers secrets about Tom, causing her to question all she ever believed in.
Distractions abound as Holly starts a new job, where she meets a charming stranger in the unlikeliest of circumstances. Her imagination is opened to a possible new way of life, lust and love as she is given a chance to see how she can break free from the shackled boundaries set by a stifling city lifestyle.
Will she ever be able to go back to living the only way she ever knew or will she embrace the life offered to her? This love story is one of fear versus freedom, power versus submission and scheduled time versus endless time as city and country life collide.
Stella Knights, Author of Taken Outback
Today’s interview is with writer Stella Knights, the author ‘The Dusty Rider Series’. Thank you, Stella, for taking the time to share with us today.
Congratulations on publishing your book! Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am originally from America, but have spent many years living, volunteering and working in Australia and several other countries. I have a beautiful husband and amazing son who remind me each day of what true love is. I have been through the highs and lows life throws at you and survived. I found that laughter, smiles, and compassion have gotten me through both the good and the bad times. I do not believe mistakes define a person as we are all capable of making them. It is how we handle the mistakes that defines our true character. I think this often comes through as a theme in my writing. I currently live a quiet life as a digital nomad, moving from place to place with my family. Even though my life is quite simple, I love writing drama with twists you do not see coming.
When and why did you start writing? Was there anyone or anything in particular that inspired you to write?
One of my earliest writing memories is when my grandmother bought me a notebook with a funky Lisa Frank print on the cover. I cherished the notebook and spent countless hours writing a story about a smart teenage girl getting asked out on a date by the man of her dreams. This is a funny memory because I often wonder how I could possibly be thinking about such drama at a young age? It must be from watching television dramas for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, when my mother thought I was already asleep, I would sneak downstairs and watch the night time dramas they were watching without them knowing.
Since then, I remember filling countless notebooks with stories and poetry. I still have a few of these notebooks packed away in a box in my parent’s attic, and I have not read them in years. As an adult, I have written many technical documents as part of the various roles I was employed to do. I think this is why I now like pushing boundaries, because for so long I had to conform to someone else’s formula versus what I like to do.
I have always loved words and their power to evoke emotions and only recently decided to try writing fiction. It has been fun to twist some of my life experiences and turn them into stories. Tapping into my creative brain has been the most amazing and freeing experience I have had in a long time. I enjoy pushing myself to learn and improve in everything I do. I also hope my love of drama comes through and entertains my readers.
Your current novel, ‘Taken Outback’, is the first of a series of novels. Can you give us some information on this book and the series?
The idea behind this series came from two things. The first was from my own experience of moving from a city in America to a rural area in Australia. I always wanted to write about the rollercoaster of feelings that happens when one takes a risk to drastically change their life. The second thing that played a part in the creation of this series, was my work as a parole officer. It is nothing like what you see in the movies! In this job, I was constantly surrounded by people trying to alter their path in life. I found the concept of rebuilding or starting over quite fascinating and saw first-hand how this can play out in many ways for different people. Often, the result was a beautiful resilience and self-reliance where an individual felt they could achieve so much more for themselves and their families.
In my story, the main character, Holly, is searching for what to do when her marriage is falling apart. She desperately believes in love, but struggles with what is considered right and wrong based on societal standards instead of what would make her happy. For Holly, city life becomes stifling, but at first she has no idea how to escape. Her character transforms from being pretentious to being down-to-earth as she opens up to a new way of life and follows her heart.
I do not want to give away any spoilers, but I have tried to create a storyline that gives Holly a chance to try out a new life to see if this is what she wants. Her questioning of real love and what this means leads her to a new man in an unlikely circumstance. This new man opens Holly up to passion she had given up on ever finding. In the following books, she will learn that life may look easier from the outside, but often in the country you still must deal with complex problems and complex people. Holly will be faced with issues of temptation, jealousy, family politics and the struggle for acceptance in rural life. Regardless of the challenges, she will have time to appreciate life as she is surrounded by amazing beauty that is the Australian countryside.
So, what will Holly choose in the end? Old life versus new life? City versus country? You will have to read to find out.
What are your future plans as a writer? What are you working on currently?
I am finishing writing Book Two of The Dusty Rider Series and will be releasing this in a few months. Book Two has a lot more complexity to it and is much longer. You will be introduced to some new characters that cause Holly to evaluate herself and grow as a person while her relationship with Aiden is challenged from many different angles. I love drama and I have built in a lot within the pages of Book Two. You will also get answers to some questions about the storyline that are lingering from the first book. I am quite excited to see what people think of the twists coming their way.
I am also working on a second series that is a bit edgier. It is travel mixed with passionate contemporary romance and adventure. I do not want to say much more about this one, but it will be released in 2018.
I am excited about the future of both series and writing characters that learn to take control of their own romantic destiny. I hope everyone enjoys the ride coming their way in my stories!
What kind of audience would enjoy your books? Who are they aimed at?
My series are aimed at anyone that enjoys a love story where the heroine is confronted with difficult situations and life changing events. I try to go beyond an average beach read, but at the same time, I want my reader to have fun and enjoy getting lost in my character’s predicament. I enjoy writing characters that go through transformations after a period of self-exploration where they allow themselves to break free of anything holding them back from living the life they want.
My writing tends to encompass the underlying theme that people should not give up their idea of happiness and settle for second best. Regardless of circumstances or society’s invisible boundaries, one can always find a way to change their life to what best suits them.
What was the most interesting part of the self-publishing process? Do you have any advice for writers going on this path?
I think self-publishing offers a level of freedom that artists should have, but do not always get. No matter what we may do artistically, there will be people who like your work and people who don’t or do not understand it. But for art to evolve and metamorphose, we need artists to be willing to push boundaries. I feel with more and more writers self-publishing, we will see an amazing transformation of books and storytelling in the coming years. It is like the transition throughout time of various artistic methods and how they are a reflection on the history and the human condition. I think we should all be Andy Warhol’s and push artistic boundaries because there will always be someone out there wanting to hear your story.
Any general advice for new authors?
I know it is said all the time, but honestly the best thing to do is write because your writing will evolve as you develop your unique style. Get involved in critique circles and online groups and put your writing out there. The hardest thing will be putting the first piece of writing out there to be reviewed or “judged” by others. You will be nervous and scared, but at the same time it is thrilling that you took the first step. You will have a journey unlike any other as people start to help you improve your writing and your storyline. You will never know unless you try, right?
I was amazed at how my first draft changed and evolved into the final product. I learned so much as I took the time to flesh out my characters and the scenes. I enjoyed building upon the main bones of my story and turning into something I never knew it could be. With your own writing, take the time to enjoy the process of building your story and developing your style. It becomes almost addictive as you find new and creative ways to tell your story. Enjoy the process and on frustrating days, just power through by either taking a day off of writing or have an extra cup of coffee while you put on your favourite music.
Lastly, I must say that I did not tell any of my family or friends about my book until it was almost finished. I was too nervous as I had been warned that the people around you can sometimes be too close to be honest, or sometimes they may be too critical and try to push you away from the storyline you have imagined to turn it into what they think it should be. If you are personally connected, you may accidentally feel emotional about the negatives they may say no matter how thick your skin may be. I found that having professional editors and the online groups read my writing was the best approach for me. They gave me the best feedback and I felt much more at ease to let my family read it when it was in a later draft stage.
Writing is a solitary adventure and you need to believe in your story throughout the entire process. There is always someone out there that will want to listen to what you have to say.
Where can people find you? (social media, blog, etc.)
I love hearing from fans of my writing.
I am on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/dustyriderseries
Instagram at: www.instagram.com/thedustyrider
I can also be emailed at: email@example.com
My books are available as eBooks on all Amazon sites worldwide. The paperback version is available on some Amazon sites and in major bookstores worldwide. You can always request your local bookstore to order a copy in for you if it is out of stock.
Thank you again, Stella, I wish you all the best with your publishing journey!
Please leave a comment below or contact me here through my site. Kate
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