It is a pleasure to warmly welcome Daniel De Lorne to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews for A Tea Break with Mrs B, a short form author interview series. To help celebrate the release of One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology, we sat down for a chat. Thanks Daniel!
What is your drink of choice as we sit down for a chat about your new book?
Mine’s a plain old green tea, thanks.
Can you give us an overview of your writing career to date?
I was writing a lot of stories in my final year of high school and hadn’t quite figured out what kind of career I wanted so thought I’d continue with fiction and do a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Cultural Studies at Curtin University. I did a double major in creative writing and journalism (because I felt I needed to be able to make some money from my writing somehow). After university it was about ten years before I started writing fiction again. Nikki Logan and I worked together at the time and she encouraged me to pursue it and suggested I join Romance Writers of Australia. That gave me a lot of motivation to keep going and access to a whole industry I had no idea about. My first book was Beckoning Blood, which was published by Escape Publishing (an imprint of Harlequin Australia) in 2014. Since then I’ve published another seven books, in paranormal/horror romance or contemporary, either with a traditional publisher or self-published.
Can you tell us what inspired the creation of your new story, Set the Stage in One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology?
Nikki Logan and I were having breakfast during the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference in 2018 and talked about how, at a meeting the day before, one of the Harlequin staff was ‘outed’ as being a theatre tragic. That, as well as Nikki’s background in theatre, got us into thinking about romances set in theatres and how there didn’t seem to be too many novels out about it (despite it being a bit of a staple for films). The idea grew from there as we brought Fiona Greene on board.
I’d done theatre in high school and university and loved the camaraderie of it (if not the actual terrifying part of being on stage and forgetting lines…which I did multiple times). It was such a wonderful bonding experience and a real thrill, and definitely something I felt while working on the series with Nikki and Fiona.
How was the experience of collaborating with the other authors in One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology?
So easy. Nikki, Fiona and I were friends before embarking on the project, and I’m happy to say we’re still friends now haha. We worked well together, respectful of each other’s ideas and directions, but without fear of giving advice and suggestions. We had a few Skype meetings and created a ‘bible’ on OneNote that we could all access and add to as the project grew. The fictional town of Brachen and the theatre emerged easily out of our shared vision. I loved being a part of that creation process, especially when we’d ask questions like, ‘What are the names of the owners of the vegan restaurant?’ and ‘What kind of takeaway can they get in this small town?’ Lots of fun!
What are the main themes present in Set the Stage?
Secrets are a big part of the stories in One from the Heart and mine’s no exception. Everyone’s got one, but it’s the lengths people go to to keep them hidden that lead to conflict. Set the Stage takes place behind the scenes and that’s a good metaphor for what’s going on in Bruce and Gabriel’s lives. I’m also a sucker for the unrequited love/second chance trope so that’s a strong thread through the book.
Did you have an affinity with a particular character in Set the Stage and why?
I love Bruce. There’s something about the gentle giant character that I fall for every time, especially when there are these deep wounds that need healing. I wouldn’t say I’d identify with him (his chest and shoulders are much broader than mine, for a start) but I do see a bit of myself in Gabriel, though I’m definitely not that fashionable.
What is one thing that you really hope readers will take away from the experience of reading One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology?
That it takes all sorts of people to put on a good show. No matter what their role is or who they are inside, there’s this great pulling together for a common goal.
Have you developed any quirks or habits while writing your books?
I thrive on having a set routine and process (though I work hard to make sure it doesn’t get all encompassing and too rigid). I like to work with a constant flow of green tea and a ticking timer to keep me focused. The more I write, the more I know I’m definitely a plotter and need to know what I’m writing before I start. Otherwise I stare out the window too long.
How has your writing process been affected by COVID-19?
I’m pretty fortunate that I was a stay-at-home worker before Covid-19 hit so my day to day didn’t change much, however, I was on a cruise ship in Antarctica when the worst of the restrictions hit in Australia. My husband and I were then stuck on the ship for an extra 10 days (luckily it was an amazing ship and we had no cases), not quite sure how we were going to get home. We were then put into quarantine in Sydney before getting home to Perth. It was a bit of a nightmare and very stressful. Amazingly, I managed to plot a story while in Sydney and when we got home to Perth and another two weeks of quarantine, I wrote a whole novella which is coming out in November. I was so thrilled as it pushed me on to keep writing during what was a really awful time. Must have been the escapism of it.
What book or books do you recommend that I add to my reading pile?
I have been terrible at reading books in 2020 but of the few I’ve read this year I really recommend Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard and Circe by Madeline Miller.
What are you working on writing wise at present?
I am knee deep in edits on a new post-apocalyptic dystopian series I’ve got coming out later in the year. I’m putting the finishing touches on edits for the first book, tidying up the novella I wrote in lockdown, about to start edits on the second book (and boy, does it need it!), and plotting the third. I’m keen to get to actually write something new!
Thank you for the lovely tea break and chat. Congratulations on the release of One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology.
He’s the Banksy of the international theatre scene – daring, anonymous, renowned. So when playwright ‘Draven’ bequeaths his latest play to the rural Rivervue Theatre, the stage is set for drama.
Three stellar authors offer three stories packed full of romance, secrets and lies…
Tread the Boards Nikki Logan: Rivervue Theatre’s props maven Mackenzie Russell is drawn to enigmatic loner Dylan North. But both Kenzie and Dylan have secrets to keep. Secrets that if revealed could tear the town, the theatre – and Dylan and Kenzie – apart.
Set the Stage Daniel de Lorne: A phone call from an unrequited past love sends architect Gabriel Mora running back to his artsy home town of Brachen. There, he is forced to hide his involvement in the redevelopment of the town’s beloved theatre to protect his mother’s frail health. It’s just one more secret to keep hidden, along with his feelings for Bruce Clifton, the theatre’s kind stage manager.
Take a Bow Fiona Greene: Creative director Lexi Spencer is fighting to save the iconic Rivervue Community Theatre and Draven’s play is the weapon she needs. She’s already lost so much in her life, losing the theatre isn’t an option. But with past love Mark Conroy on the scene, old feelings resurface. The controversial play is set to test the loyalty of the town, as well as the strength of their relationship.
When the play’s dark truths come out, the ripples will affect everyone’s lives. Can the show still go on?
One from the Heart – A Rivervue Community Theatre Romance Anthology by Nikki Logan, Daniel De Lorne and Fiona Greene was published on 5th August 2020 by Mira-AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
Connect with Daniel here: