It’s my pleasure to have been able to interview Donna Gallagher here at Coffee Time. Donna Gallagher who is the author of League of Love series, which are contemporary erotic romance stories, set in the land down under. Welcome, Donna and thank you for letting me interview you. Now, onto the questions.
Tell us a bit about EMILY’S COWBOY?
Emily’s Cowboy is book 5 in my League of Love series. A contemporary erotic story set in Australia.
It’s such a cliché -- country boy moves to the big city to follow his dreams, leaving his girl and everything he loves behind – but that’s exactly what Gareth Andrews has done. Playing rugby league is Gareth’s dream and he’s signed with one of the best teams in the competition - The Sydney Jets. Of course that has meant a move to the big city and leaving Emily Mackenzie and everything he loves behind. Not that Gareth hasn’t begged her to join him in the city he has, on bended knee -- but Emily needs to stay in Gunnedah and help her father on the family farm until her brother’s stint in the armed forces is over. But Gareth knows it’s more than that. Emily is hiding away, embarrassed by the scars that mar her body in a constant reminder of the bushfire that nearly took her life.
What gave you the idea to write EMILY’S COWBOY?
Gareth appeared while I was writing book 4 in the series. He and Pippa (the heroine from Pippa’s Fantasy) became close friends. They shared a common heartache, both dealing with the emotional fallout and loneliness of having been rejected by the ones they loved. I felt Gareth was a special kind of guy and needed to get his story told. He needed a HEA. He was so supportive of Pippa and helped her win back her fantasy man. I also wanted to highlight the difficulties Gareth faced moving to the city and being thrust into the world of sports groupies. Emily is the girl from back home, works on the family farm. Rural life is hard no matter what country you live in. Floods, fires, crop failures all part of trying to make a living from the land. Emily is scarred after being caught up in a bushfire and I thought this was a great opportunity to focus on how debilitating the idea of not being ‘perfect’ can be for young women today.
Can you tell us about this series?
I’ve always been an avid reader but I left home and school at a very early age. The idea that I could write something, that would be good enough to publish, never entered my head. It was the voices that made me do it…
Seriously I had to write the words down just to get some peace and quiet. It’s not a surprise that the background to my stories would involve the sport of rugby league because I’m a huge sports fan. I was married to a professional rugby league player but that’s another story.
My contemporary erotic series is set in Sydney, Australia and involves players from the fictional Sydney Jets team. The stories are m/f love stories with HEA’s but of course true love never runs smoothly. I also highlight the problems faced by people that are in the public spotlight, some of this I could take from my own experience. Don’t be put off by the sports angle I’ve kept that to a minimum as much as I find it hard to believe I do realise that not everyone is as into sport as I am. :)
Out of all of your published books, who is your favourite hero and why?
I have to say JT from Mandy’s He-man – otherwise he will never let up. JT is an ever present voice, it doesn’t matter what book I’m writing JT always has something to add. I love his sense of humour, his loyalty and even though he is feared by many opponents for his size, toughness and ability on the sporting field, JT has a soft heart.
Out of all of your published books, who is your favourite heroine and why?
Mandy or maybe Laura, it’s hard to decide. Mandy and I have a lot in common, struggling to survive away from home early on in life and maybe not making the best of decisions. Laura (Laura’s Light, book 3) on the other hand is so strong and capable. As a single mother she has worked hard to give her son the best life she could.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
As I’ve said earlier I woke up one morning with a male voice in my head telling me a story. I started writing down the words with pen and bits of paper before remembering I had a computer. After I finished two books I gave them to my son and sister to read. Yes it was a little awkward having my twenty-two year old son read the sex scenes I’d written but his feedback was positive. He is a good son and probably not the best judge of romantic fiction!
A few months later I joined Romance Writers of Australia and entered a ‘First Five Pages’ Competition. I received some great advice from the judges, took that on board and made changes to my manuscripts. I started looking at the different e-publishers and tried to work up the nerve to make a submission. Meanwhile my husband, thinking he was doing the right thing, paid to have my first book printed. He thought it would be a nice birthday gift and paid the self-publishing company a ridiculous amount of money. His heart was in the right place but it did rob me of the opportunity to send Caitlin’s Hero out into the big scary world of publishers.
A year later I decided it was time to give my writing another chance. I was forty-eight, had nothing to prove to anyone so what did I have to lose. I sent out my first submission request for Mandy’s He-man to Total-E-Bound Publishing. I chose Total-E-Bound because I thought being a UK based publisher they would know more about the sport of rugby league than a publisher in the US. When I received an email from them a week later I was sure it would be a rejection but it wasn't…
Now all six books in my League of Love series have a home at TEB, even the infamous Caitlin – luckily for husband. I also have a novella published in The Edible Delights Anthology with Secret Cravings Publishing. Honestly I still can’t believe it.
Anything new in the works you want to share?
Sarah’s Soldier, book 6 in my League of Love series released recently. The main character Sarah is a digi-chick – meaning she handles the social media for the Jets rugby league team. I really enjoyed writing Sarah’s story because I love that female involvement with male sport is slowly on the rise in Australia. My sister is a sports journalist and I have a couple of female friends who are real life digital and social media managers for rugby league teams – they receive a thankyou in my dedication. I post tweets throughout the story which was fun. A young man my children grew up with is a serving soldier. While I am grateful that he has not had to endure what my hero Dylan went through, it did give me the idea to highlight the sacrifices young men and woman make when they join the services. Dylan is first mentioned in Emily’s Hero, the brother that ran off to join the army. It only seemed right that I brought him back to deal with his demons.
Where can we find out more about you?
You can check out my website
My Facebook Author Page – this is the place to visit if you want to see some rather delicious photos of real life Aussie footy players ;)
What is your favourite colour?
Black. I know it’s not really a colour!
What is your favourite drink?
Champagne and coffee. I am very lucky to have a group of friends that meet up each day for coffee. This morning routine commenced years back when our children first started school and still continues twenty years on. Some days it might be one or two of us and other days we can have a roll call of ten or more.
What is your favourite food?
Anything cooked by someone else!
Trapped on a desert island what three movies would you take with you? What three books and what three fantasy men?
Transformers – The first one, I’ve always had a thing for Optimus prime
X-men – Aussie actor Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Need I say more?
Pretty Woman – What can I say, I love the HEA.
The Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke by N.J. Walters – I love the series but this book is my favorite, I think I’ve read it a dozen times.
Wuthering Heights – I read this in high school as part of the study course for English. I was thirteen and I still remember the impact it had on me, I cried for days. I still have a crush on Heathcliff.
Robinson Crusoe – it might give me some ideas, I don’t think I would do very well trapped on an island.
Hey I’ve just realised if I can watch movies I’ve got electricity – So I’m packing my smartphone, I’ve got thousands of books downloaded.
Shamus O’Rourke – obviously.
Angel (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) – Although, probably not a good choice, considering the desert and that whole turning to ash from the sunlight problem he has.
And last but not least Mr Gallagher – I know lame answer. But my husband is my fantasy man and he is very handy to have around. He’s one of those, can build anything or fix anything hands on type of guy. Also he tolerates my unhealthy obsession with Shamus and Angel.