Joanie MacNeil, writes short contemporary romances: a blend of sweet, sexy and heart-warming stories about new love and second chances. Some of her tales may make you smile. Home, family and friends are important to Joanie, and she has blended these elements into some of her stories. She is a member of Australian Romance Readers Association; Romance Writers of Australia, and a regular attendee at their annual national conference. Joanie loves to travel with her own romantic hero. When she’s not travelling or creating her own romantic stories, she enjoys reading romance, going to the movies, having coffee with friends, participating in aqua aerobics, catching up with her daughters, and travelling interstate to spend time with her three lively little grandsons and their parents.
Your latest release is THE TROUBLE WITH NATALIE. Tell us about the story.
Luke and Natalie are friends from years ago. When Luke comes back into her life, Natalie is swept off her feet by this gorgeous and confident young man. However, he is twelve years younger than she is, and now works for her. The last thing she needs is to fuel office gossip. An office romance will complicate her life, and risk the success of her recent appointment to the much coveted role of CEO. While Luke knows in his heart he loves Natalie, she believes he should be looking for a woman his own age.
Are the characters of Luke and Natalie loosely based on people you know?
No, not at all. When I wrote THE TROUBLE WITH NATALIE, I was aiming for something a little different for my hero and heroine and decided to give them an age difference.
You write heartwarming stories about new love and second chances. Do you have a favorite romance couple by another author?
Couples come and go. I was drawn in by the heroes/heroines in some of the early Sandra Marton series – Landon’s Legacy and The Barons, particularly the heroes. I came across these books in the early days of reading category romance, and the characters still linger. It is important for a reader to feel the central characters are meant to be together for the rest of their lives, that they are well-suited to one another.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
I hope my readers enjoy my characters’ journey together, that they have empathy for the hero/heroine, and feel warm and uplifted at the end of that journey.
Why is the setting important?
If possible, I prefer to set my stories in an area that I am familiar with, or have at least visited. It makes the background more realistic for me. Most of my books are set in and around Australia’s National Capital, with a couple of them set along the south east coast of Australia, a 2-3 hour drive from where I live. I spent the majority of my career as an executive assistant, so the office setting was an easy fit for THE TROUBLE WITH NATALIE. The views from the building, and the area where the story is set, are familiar to me. For the same reasons, I have used an office setting for NO BOUNDARIES as well. Two of my novels are set in Scotland. Following a visit there some years ago, I couldn’t resist writing a Scottish hero or two. A SENSE OF DUTY and A TRADITIONAL AFFAIR resulted from that visit. I have traveled overseas to some fascinating destinations in the last couple of years and would like to incorporate some of these settings into future stories, though I have nothing planned as yet.
What social media do you participate in?
What’s next for you?
I am excited to be working on something new – without giving too much away – I am writing the first story in a series or sequence of novels. These stories will be connected by either a common theme, characters or settings. Each will have its own title and will be a stand-alone read. I am still planning the details and am looking forward to the project. At this point, I expect there to be at least three stories. I plan to have the first finished within the next 2-3 months.