Where did you get the inspiration for A Mother for Ella?
In so many places! For one, from the stories of Wirralong that have gone before. I knew Wirralong as a warm and wonderful outback Aussie town, full of colourful characters and a kind of magic in the air that sparks romance in the most unlikely of places. And then there’s the authors I’m working with – more friends than colleagues. Barbara Hannay, Fiona McArthur and Kelly Hunter, three fabulous women who inspire me every day. It was so much fun working out our stories and I’m thrilled to bits to be part of this line-up.
How do you relate to Amber, your heroine, and how do you hope readers will relate to her? How do you relate to Sinclair?
Amber is an accountant – just like I was in a former life – but she’s had a bad run lately, dogged by scandal, tragedy and an imploded engagement. (Note: authors are dreadful people, we make our characters suffer terribly on their way to HEA!) Amber comes to Wirralong looking to put her past behind her and hoping to rebuild her career and reputation. All she needs is a client.
Sinclair is a single dad doing it tough, but he doesn’t want sympathy, so keeps a low profile. He’s a great dad to baby Ella, but he’s got one heck of a tax problem, and he’s in desperate need of an accountant.
A Mother for Ella is a sweet book of second chances, one of my favourite tropes, and I hope it resonates with the readers too. Amber and Sinclair are just ordinary everyday people trying to do the best they can given the circumstances in which they find themselves. Neither of them is looking for love, that’s the last thing on their radar, so I loved making their needs collide so they had no choice but to notice each other and discover there could be more.
What song would be in the soundtrack to Amber and Sinclair’s love story? Why?
Without a doubt, the playlist would include Beyonce’s beautiful song, Halo. Both Sinclair and Amber have walls that have to be breached, and in the end, they come tumbling down, even if not at the same time (which only made it all the more fun☺).
What was your favorite scene to write and why?
Oh, that is so hard! There were so many scenes I loved writing, but here’s what I’m hoping you’ll find a fun one. Amber has been surprised by the amount of work Sinclair’s income tax returns involved, but she’s made a start, finding a few gaps in the paperwork that she needs Sinclair to fill. She’s also started training with the West Wirralong netball team, first training was two nights ago and her muscles are seriously feeling it.
I love it because it’s starting to show both Amber and Sinclair starting to notice and warm up to each other – and maybe, just revealing a bit too much for comfort.
This excerpt begins when Sinclair’s come to drop off his last year’s income tax assessment, and is looking around the office, surprised to see the piles of paperwork Amber has already sorted.
‘These are all mine?’
She nodded. ‘All yours. Contents of the first box, along with a few gems from the sundries.’
‘Wow, you’ve done all this already?’
She wanted to laugh at that, it had taken hours to get this far, and it would take the same time again to record them in her accounting system. But he looked so impressed at her efforts, it was hard not to feel a little proud. ‘And I was going to call you. There’s a couple of bank statements missing, along with a few other bits and pieces I couldn’t find—’ She pored over her desk and around the room—‘I’ve got a list for you somewhere around here. I had a quick glance through the other boxes, but no dice, so I’m sorry, but it looks like you’re going to have to have a scrounge and make another trip.’
‘No worries,’ he said with his lopsided smile. ‘I didn’t expect to get my tax returns brought up to date without a bit of effort from me.’
There was that dimple again. He looked so changed when he smiled. So wholesome. And it changed the way she felt too. Warm all the way to her toes.
She’d never had a client who affected her like that. Amber had to look away before she read too much into it. She flicked through the pages he’d handed her, thankful for the diversion. ‘Excellent,’ she said, all business again, wayward thoughts under control. ‘These will help enormously. I’ll call if I need anything else.’
‘I’ll be off then. If you’ve got that list for me?’
‘Oh right. Yes, it’s here somewhere. I must have put it down …’ She spotted it atop the pile of bank statements. Of course, it would be there. She’d double-checked the pile to make sure the statements weren’t hiding there after all. ‘Here it is,’ she said, reaching for it, but the paper slipped through her fingers, fluttering onto the floor.
She squatted down to retrieve it and instantly realised her mistake when the muscles in her legs refused to let her up again. ‘Ugh,’ she said, grabbing hold of the credenza and using it for leverage. She winced involuntarily as her muscles screamed out a protest on the way up.
He moved a step closer. ‘Are you okay?’
‘I’m fine,’ she said, when she was standing again, rubbing her legs to ease the pain. ‘Or I was, until someone talked me into trying out for the netball club. Two days later I find I can barely move.’ She passed him the paper. ‘Here you go.’
He glanced at it with a frown that disappeared the moment he folded it and tucked it into his back pocket. ‘Which netball team?’
‘The West Wirralong Demons.’
‘I used to play for the Demons. The footy team, I mean.’
She knew that. Monica had told her at dinner. But still she smiled at his need to specify which team. ‘I didn’t think you meant the netball team. Although I can see how the lycra onesie uniform might appeal.’
He grinned, and there was that damned dimple again, and she had nobody to blame but herself this time. ‘I wore one once, a few of us did, for an end of season awards night. We borrowed them from the club, added long wigs and called ourselves the Wirralonghairs and sang an Ode to Netball one of us had made up. It was quite the night.’
She gave a wry grin that had more to do with imagining this man in a lycra netball uniform than his actual words. ‘I bet it was. I hope there’s video evidence somewhere. Maybe I should search YouTube?’
His grin dropped so suddenly she almost laughed. He cleared his throat. ‘Maybe not. Not my finest hour.’ He glanced at his watch. ‘I better be going. I’ll dig out those missing papers and get back to you asap.’
‘Thanks. I’ll let you know if there’s anything else.’
‘Deal,’ he said.
Sinclair climbed into his truck and felt like banging his head on the steering wheel. He would have, too, if he’d thought it might knock some sense into him. What the hell had he been thinking, telling her that story? What must she think of him, that he was some kind of drunken misfit who dressed up in women’s clothing for kicks? Not that there was necessarily anything wrong with that, if that’s what floated your boat, but he didn’t want Amber thinking that about him.
He started the truck and headed back to the farm, banging the heel of his hand down on the steering wheel for good measure.
Flipping heck, what a moron he was. She was his accountant, not one of his footy mates down the pub. Not that he went to the pub to see his mates these days. Not that he played footy either, for that matter. Marriage had changed that. Marriage and a wife who refused to come and watch like all the other wives and girlfriends, and okay, that was her choice, but who was incapable of staying stuck all the way out there on the farm with only a baby for company, without managing to somehow spend a fortune online. It was like she was punishing him for doing something that he enjoyed, instead of pandering to her every demand. In the end, it got so that he could almost hear her one-clicking over the toots of the cars around the boundary when someone goaled. He’d quit the team then. He’d thought it might put an end to the arguments, but the spending went on anyway and the arguments did too.
And then when Sally had died, he’d avoided going into town. He couldn’t stand the looks of pity and the mumbled words of sympathy. Playing the grieving widower was like living a lie. Sure, he was grieving, but there was a hefty dose of relief mixed in, and what kind of monster did that make him? So, he’d buried himself in farm work and fighting off Sally’s parents’ quest for custody of Ella, and let his world shrink.
Maybe it was time his world opened up a tad? Maybe it was time he thought about signing up for another season? The season hadn’t kicked off yet and there were a few weeks to get match fit. He could dust off his footy jumper, dig out his boots. Ella wouldn’t be a problem—there were enough WAGs to look after her, and plenty of other kids to keep her entertained for hours. Might even help her with a bit of socialisation; she didn’t get anywhere near enough of that on the farm with just him and Angela looking after her.
He’d talk to Nobby. Find out when training was on and whether there was a place for him in the team. His old coach had been pissed off to lose his second-best goal kicker, but hopefully he would welcome Sinclair back.
He thought about Amber and how much pain she’d been in after her netball training. For a moment he’d thought her legs had completely seized, it had been a relief to know it was only muscle soreness.
He kept pretty fit with the heavy work at the farm, but heavy work wasn’t the same as a full-pelt footy training session, and he was bound to suffer a bit of muscle grief too when he got back into it. But that was no reason to chicken out of it.
He drove on a while, raising two fingers on the steering wheel in acknowledgment when he passed one of his neighbours coming the other way.
Amber would look good in one of those onesie nettie uniforms.
The idea came from nowhere and refused to float away. She’d been wearing slim-leg navy trousers today, with a skinny belt at the waist, with another of those white shirts she seemed to favour, with her hair pinned back at the top with the rest of it floating down over her shoulders. It was a good look all right, but he couldn’t say for sure that she wouldn’t look better clad in the Demons’ fitted black and red lycra with the little flippy skirt over the built-in knickers.
And definitely a good deal better than he had.
What are you currently reading?
I’m so late to the party on this one, but I finally found myself a copy of Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient and I am smacking myself that it took me this long to read. I mean, everyone said it was fabulous and that always makes me a tad wary – it’s such a let down when I don’t love it the same – but gosh, it really is that good. I’m going savour this story, and then I’m going to immerse myself in Wirralong’s Outback Babies and devour all four books in one delicious gulp.
About the Author
USA Today Bestselling Author, Trish Morey has written thirty romances for the internationally bestselling Harlequin Presents line and her stories have been published in more than 25 languages in 40 countries worldwide, including being published in Manga comic book form in Japan, and as Trish Moreyova in the Czech Republic. Trish was awarded Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year Award (the Ruby) for short, sexy romance In 2006 and again in 2009, as well as being a ﬁnalist in the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Awards in 2012. A qualiﬁed Chartered Accountant by trade, Trish was employed as ﬁnancial manager at a major business school prior to her ﬁrst sale. Trish lives with her husband, 4 daughters and assorted menagerie in the beautiful Adelaide Hills.