My Guest: Australian Author Kate Belle

I was struck down with a cold last week and with my girls on holidays I’m running behind schedule …

Kate Belle came to the rescue with a wonderful blog post.


And please, don’t forget to check out Kate’s new book which will be released in Australia/NZ on 1st June 2014.

What is it about small Aussie towns?

Everybody has a ‘thing’ for them in romance at the moment. Rural romance is the most popular of all the sub-genres (save for erotic new adult) and it’s predominantly set in remote places – dusty deserts, wild mountains, dry farmland and mining towns. And there’s an entire group of romance writers doing coastal romances – love by the beach, often in small places.
Even though I don’t write in those genres, I too have a preference for setting my stories in small country towns. Having lived my childhood in small Victorian towns, you’d be forgiven for thinking this ‘thing’ is all about nostalgia. It’s not. I deliberately chose to set both my books, The Yearning and upcoming Being Jade, in small towns for very good sneaky author reasons.
Small communities are intense places to be. People know each other, or if they don’t know each other, they know each other’s connections. Which makes it difficult to hide things. And if you put a character into a setting where their secrets are easily discovered, where they have to work hard at pretending to fit in or preserving conformity, then you have instant internal and external conflict.
Case in point, my character Banjo in Being Jade is acutely aware of not only of his standing, but his family’s standing in the small town where they live. They are well known, generous and active Catholics on whom many people rely. Banjo was raised ‘in the community eye’ as his family was so visible and present in the community. During an argument with his feisty wife, Jade, he points out: ‘I fart in public people talk about it.’
Poor Banjo. I’ve paired him up with a woman who doesn’t care what other people think of her. She has been ostracised and judged by their community all her life and as a consequence she gives them the finger every chance she gets. Every time Jade draws attention to him, up go the stakes and the conflict for darling Banjo, who is driven to the point of madness by her obstinate independence. And stakes and conflict is what writing a great story is about.
It’s not only the closeness of community that creates a hotbed of potential for a writer, it’s also the quirky characters peopling small Australian country towns. Odd characters seem to be drawn to small places because remoteness provides them with some distance from the vast masses of humanity living in the cities. These interesting folk become a feature of the community itself, some of them are publicans, some are artists, some are hopeless trouble makers or control freaks. Their presence and actions shape the community and create a sense of the small town as a character of its own accord.
Margareta Osborn and Jenn J Macleod are two writers who are masters of quirky small town characters. The characters that people their books are painted with great vividness. They have unique dialogue, mannerisms, ways of being in the community. The community adapts to them and they help to shape the readers vision of the town itself.
Being Jade is set in Uldunga, an imaginary town located on the coast of northern New South Wales and loosely based on a real place called Urunga. Unfortunately my circumstances didn’t allow me to visit it in the flesh, but I long to. The northern coast of NSW is one of my favourite places in Australia (aside from the desert lands of central Australia) and Urunga looks to me like one of the best kept secrets of that area: beautiful bush and beaches, a quiet little town, a good place for dreaming. I hope to have a holiday there one day. Maybe I’ll find my characters there too!

Author Bio
Kate is a multi-published author of dark, sensual love stories that will mess with your head. Her interests include talking to strangers, collecting unread books, objectifying men much younger than her and ranting about the world’s many injustkate-o'donnell-2ices. She blogs regularly about women, relationships, sexuality and books on The Ecstasy Files (and anywhere else who’ll have her). She is also the creator of the Eros in Action writing sex workshop.
Kate lives, writes and loves in Melbourne with her small family and very annoying pets. The Yearning was released in 2013 to rave reviews. Being Jade is her second novel.

Twitter: @ecstasyfiles
The Reading Room:


BEING JADE (Out 1 June 2014)
A tragic death. A family divided. One truth can set them free.
Banjo Murphy is killed on the night he finally walks away from his wife Jade after twenty five years of adultery. In the aftermath, Banjo is bewildered to discover he still exists, and in despair he watches Jade collapse into deep depression and his daughters, Lissy and Cassandra, struggle with their unexpected loss.being_jade_COVER_HI_res small
Lissy is tortured by the mystery surrounding her father’s death. What compelled Banjo to leave the night he died? Why won’t Jade talk about what happened? Despite their volatile relationship, Lissy believes her parents’ love to be enduring, but sensible Cassandra sees things differently. When Cassy discovers a sketch book chronicling Jade’s affairs, the truth of their parents’ relationship begins to unfold and Lissy’s loyalties are divided.
Searching for answers, Lissy contacts Jade’s ex-lovers. Watching from afar, Banjo aches as he discovers what these men meant to Jade – until Lissy’s quest with Jade’s long line of lovers uncovers an explosive truth …
One that will finally set her family free.

About Iris B

Iris Blobel writes warm, sexy, and sometimes witty Australian Contemporary Romance books for readers who, like herself, still strongly believe in love and Happily Ever Afters. And she knows HEAs. Her couples are hungry for life, done with the past, passionate about family, and emotionally hopeful for a future. The stories are mainly set in Australia but also in New Zealand and even the US, depending on where her travels take her. She loves nothing more than for her readers to join her on her journeys.
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12 Responses to My Guest: Australian Author Kate Belle

  1. Kate, see that map? See that little town north of Urunga labelled BONVILLE????? Me! Thank you for the mention. how lovely. And thank you Iris. What a fascinating blog name you have. ( the pingback didnt work coz there is a rogue ‘a’ in Mcleod!!!!! 😉


  2. katebellex says:

    Well there you are too, Jenn! One of my most favourite parts of the world. Plan to live there myself someday.


  3. Nice to have you come in ,Kate! Iris has been diligent in posting on her days or finding interesting guests. Your settings and small town has me intrigued. I think most Americans still have a picture of independent characters who perhaps gather in small, outback settlements as ‘typical’ Australians, those and city people,(which are the only ones I know or have known).I guess we are at the mercy of what we are exposed to in movies. I imagine that most people around the world either think that the U.S. is made up of highrises and slums, or small towns surrounded by farms, from what they see in films.
    Thanks for filling in and continued success to you.


    • Iris B says:

      Thanks Tonette. You’re right, it’s what we’re exposed to. My impression of Americans was definitely changed last year while travelling your beautiful country!


  4. jeff7salter says:

    Welcome, Kate.
    Enjoyed your column today. I also really like writing in small towns, though I had not verbalized my reasons as cogently as you have here.
    Your description of Jade makes it sound VERY interesting.


  5. Juanita Kees says:

    Waving hi, Kate and Iris 🙂 Kate, I’m hanging out for the release of Being Jade. I thoroughly enjoyed The Yearning and expect no less from Being Jade. I’ve always love small town stories and those set in Australia are full of rich and colourful characters. You take that richness one step further and give us stories that surprise, please and really do mess with our heads (in a good way!) What I love about your writing is the reader never knows what to expect and will not be disappointed by what you deliver. Good luck!


  6. Pingback: Bring back the 80s | fourfoxesonehound

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