1. Just like the main character in my novel, A Fair Exchange, I was an exchange student in Massachusetts as a teenager.
2. Of all my novels this one had the longest gestation period.
3. I had lots of fun researching this book doing road trips in Australia and eating out at places in the book.
4. The character of Stacey in the book is an amalgam of a few of my friends when I live in America. (Stacey is a very American name and was not common in Australia in the 1980s and yet I had several American friends by that name – all my Australian friends were called Jennifer, Emma or Kylie).
5. Of all the male characters I’ve written Matt is my favourite so far. If I wasn’t happily married he’d be welcome on my door-step anytime!
It was not as if he was the
first one to mention it. In the past week everyone who had entered my apartment
had commented on the shiny new Vespa parked in the middle of the otherwise
empty living room. In fact, each and every one of them had imaginatively said
“Amelia you have a red Vespa parked in your living room!” And they all said it in a tone that implied I
might not have noticed, as if it may have magically appeared there.How could I not notice a
vehicle parked in what was otherwise an empty room?What amazed me was that the
Vespa was what they chose to comment on.
Not that Nick had dumped me,
after ten years, for a twenty-one year-old. Nor that he had moved out, taking
basically all the furniture and leaving me with a great view over the beach and
an enormous mortgage.
No one even commented about
the fact that I, in turn, had quit the fabulous job that had always meant way
too much to me. No, they commented on the
Vespa. What I could not understand
though was why it hadn’t bothered me until right then, when Matthew Blue
commented. And when he did comment, why had I collapsed into this embarrassing
sea of tears? How had this happened? How had
I become this sobbing pathetic figure of womanhood? And more importantly how had I ended up
thirty-six and alone? Didn’t I used to have so much
potential? Everyone had said so, hadn’t they? “Amelia Armstrong is something
I was one of those shiny young
girls who took risks and dreamed big. I was one of the smart ones who knew what
she wanted and went after it. I was one to watch. If I hadn’t been that kind of
a girl I would never have met Matthew all those years ago. A different girl
would not have found herself, on the other side of the world, at sixteen,
staring into his dark and dreamy eyes. So where was that girl right
now, I wanted to know? And how had a girl with so much potential gotten it so
About the author – Monique McDonell:
‘I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women’s fiction including chick lit and romance. I live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter, and despite my dog phobia, with a dog called Skip.
I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations I didn’t write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)
When I began to write again I noticed a trend – writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since.
I have been a member of the writing group The Writer’s Dozen for eight years. Our anthology Better Than Chocolate raised over $10,000 for the charity Room to Read and helped build a library in South East Asia. I am also a member of the Romance Writers of Australia.
A Fair Exchange is the fifth novel I have released in the last two years.’