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Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Thanks so much for having me as a guest blogger today.

One of the pleasures of writing my contemporary romance, When Harriet Came Home, was setting the story in a beautiful part of Australia. The upper Hunter Valley is just two-and-a-half hours’ drive north of Sydney. It’s better known its wineries, but it also has spectacular scenery, like the Barrington Tops national park. A few years back my family and I spend a wonderful few days here enjoying the lush rolling hills. When I wanted to create a fictional country town in this area, I immediately thought of Dungog. This little town caught my imagination because of its wide main streets lined with historic buildings and its picturesque setting in the green foothills of the Barrington Tops.

The Hunter Valley is also a foodies’ destination, and food plays an important part in my story. My heroine, Harriet, is an accomplished chef who’s forced to return to her home town because of a family emergency. Food is wonderfully evocative, and writing about chocolate muffins and apple and rhubarb crumble often had my stomach rumbling.
The historic homesteads in this region also found a place in my story, as my hero’s family has owned a colonial homestead for generations. Adam’s family has suffered a fall from grace, and his family home has fallen into disrepair. But Adam is determined to restore his family’s name, just as he’s driven to restore the crumbling mansion, even though it doesn’t make economic sense.

My debut novel, When Harriet Came Home, tells the story of two characters with complex pasts and every reason to avoid each other.

After ten years of exile, Harriet Brown is back in town. Things have definitely changed, but so has she. Now the confident owner of a catering business, she's no longer the shy, overweight girl everyone—including her hot teenage crush—used to ignore. In fact, she's determined to make peace with Adam Blackstone for her part in exposing his father's secret affairs and corrupt behavior as mayor.

But Adam has changed as well. No longer a pampered, rich pinup boy, he just wants to reestablish his family's good name. He reluctantly agrees to a truce with Harriet, and is surprised by how changed she is. He doesn't want to be drawn to her, but he can't seem to resist her allure.

As Harriet struggles to come to terms with her past, her adolescent infatuation with Adam morphs into something more serious… Will she ever be accepted again? Or will ancient history ruin the chance of a future full of possibilities?

Available at Amazon ( ) and Carina Press ( )

Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance whether it’s sweet or sensual.

Coleen lives in Sydney with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching The Office.

Visit her at


Debby said...

I have always wanted to visit Australia but cannot manage it. So I visit through books. Thanks for adding another to my list.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Rachael Johns said...

Don't worry Debby, I live in Australia and I haven't visited the gorgeous part Coleen talks about either. Sounds like a fab story :)

MarySimonsen said...
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