Author Interview: Alissa Callen

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Some of our lucky book club members have been reading Snowy Mountains Cattleman by Alissa Callen.

If you’d like to learn more about Alissa Callen, she’s answered another series of questions.

Read on to learn more about the town of Bundilla, and discover what’s next for the bestselling author:

Bundilla, where the book is set is a fictional town, is it based on a real town?

My little book town of Bundilla is set on the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains. While the town itself is fictional the location is close to Tumut and the physical townscape reminiscent of Mudgee. As I live near Dubbo, I needed a town close by that I could visit for research.

The experiences of the Bundilla community are also grounded in reality and often reflective of what has been happening in my real rural world.

Why do you think people love rural romance so much?

Rural romance as a genre is diverse and offers something for everyone. From small town coastal stories, to medical rurals or stories with a mystery or historical thread, rural romance remains robust and innovative.

As a genre hallmark is to provide a feel-good and uplifting read about relatable and grounded characters this also contributes to its appeal, especially at times of uncertainty like a global financial crisis or pandemic.

Did you discover anything interesting while writing this book

I really enjoy research and often go down rabbit holes following an interesting fact or event. One of the inspirations for Snowy Mountains Cattleman was a true story about a Parisian apartment that was unlocked after decades and appeared frozen in time.

Further story aspects that lead to interesting research revolved around the history of the Snowy Mountains Scheme as well as the construction of dry-stone walls.

Tell us a bit about your next book?

Snowy Mountains Cattleman is the second book in my new series. The story follows Rowan, a cattleman who also works with stone, as he navigates his way through grief. It also charts the personal growth of Grace as she rebuilds a bluestone mansion as well as her life.

Bundy, a free-spirited kelpie who calls the whole of Bundilla home, also appears along with a well-meaning but meddling quilting club intent on matchmaking. There also is a historical mystery associated with the physical secret Rowan and Grace find in the old bluestone mansion.

What was the inspiration for the Snowy Mountains series?

While I love living in the central west where I based my previous series after the last drought and dust storms for my next series I wanted to go somewhere where it rained a little more.

I’d always had an affinity with the Snowy Mountains, even before my family bought a farm near the Victorian border, so when I needed a new setting, I basically just packed my writing bags and headed to the high country.

Alissa callen author

What would you say to encourage people to give your book a read?

When I started to write I thought a great deal about what type of stories I wanted to tell and the answer was feelgood fiction. As a past counsellor, I know life doesn’t always go to plan.

So, I hope anyone reading my stories will find them authentic, heart-warming, and hopeful and that within their pages they can smell the wildflowers and be provided with a little respite from real life for a short while.

Interview courtesy of the publisher

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