Dec 9, 2011

Bestselling Author, Kelly Hunter, talks about -

The makeover bug.

Not people. Places. Have you ever walked into and old country pub or cafe and fallen in love with the bones of the place, but been dismayed by how musty, dusty and faded it was? I have.

Not that I have the deep pockets or the necessary experience to actually buy one of these places and restore it to glory, mind, but by the time I’ve had my counter-lunch I’ve given it quite the imaginary makeover.

Come time to write, it’s very tempting to then use that setting that captured the imagination and dwell on it in loving detail.

In my self-pubbed Christmas novella, Wish, heroine Billie Temple heads to a small Aussie country town to run the local pub.

Billie turned to new employer. ‘You need to hire more cleaning staff.’ That was assuming he hired any cleaning staff at all.

‘What for?’ said Roly and the wonder of it all was that he was serious.

‘This verandah needs scrubbing, for starters. Not to mention the chairs, the tables, and the sidewalk.’

‘It’s cleaner inside.’

One hoped. ‘You’re not going to argue with me about cleaning this place, are you? You said you wanted more customers.’

‘Yes, but—

‘You also said you’d give me free rein to run things my way.’

‘You said that?’ Arthur’s tone was incredulous.

‘Yeah,’ said Roly glumly. ‘Don’t know what I was thinking.’
In Red-Hot Renegade (Her Singapore Fling in NA), martial arts hero Jake Bennett owns a dojo in Singapore. It gets torched eventually, but dojo ownership was fun for a while.

‘I’m quite liking dojo living,’ she (Jianne) said. ‘It’s very streamlined. What is that smell?’

‘Sweat,’ said Jake.

Speaking of Brothers Bennett, the last two stories in that series are being packaged together and re-released in the UK in January with the title

Single Girl Abroad.

I think it’s quite the makeover.

Author copies are still a few weeks away, but if you’re happy to wait, there’s a copy of Single Girl Abroad up for grabs – just leave a comment. The question: Do you have a favourite old house/haunt/building that you would love to get your hands on and re-do?
ps. No bathroom renovations allowed ;)

And thank you LoveCats for being such lovely hosts.


Here's a link to Kelly's website


  1. Funny you ask that question Kelly... cos my wip has the heroine buying a run down pub. I've read WISH though (loved it) and our stories are VERY different!!

  2. Oh Kelly, what GORGEOUS covers!!!! I think make-overs are a LOT of fun... right now our house is being made-over in post-earthquake repairs. We're in make-over city!!!! But it might not have been the wisest idea to have let the children choose colours for their bedrooms online and without bothering with test-pots - we now have Kermit the Frog green, lime green and hot pink!!!!!

  3. Kelly, I think the *best* renovations are the fantasy ones! I have to say I'm totally over doing the real thing! LOL

    So "WISH" sounds like the perfect property make-over experience for me and I'll shoot off to your website for a link!

    Still it is hard not to let the idea of a make-over capture my imagination when I see an old place. When we were looking for somewhere to live, we looked at really ramshackle old houses. I adored their possibilities, the ornate ceiling roses marred by water marks, damaged fret work, beautiful wide verandahs with rotting boards... so tempting! But sense prevailed and I remember how much I detest living with spackle and plaster dust and drop clothes and paint and juggling plumbers and electricians and builders... and... and... LOL

    Love your covers!


  4. I'm onto my third house renovation in a row, and am totally over house make overs :) But, I'm happy to read about other people doing all that hard work, I'll need to go buy Wish this weekend - it looks fab!

    I also love your Single Girl Abroad cover! What were the original titles of the two books in the anthology? I'd imagine they were quite different - it's great to see M&B trying to bring in a new audience for your books :)

  5. Yeah, my house! LOL. Desperately needs a makeover.

    Loved Wish, Kelly and loved the makeover the heroine gave to that pub.

    Also loved the dojo book. Might have to read it again, come to think of it.

  6. I've done up quite a few houses and always got a thrill at the final result.
    I find when I write I have a house in mind and as the story progresses get to knowit well, and every time I reread the story for edits, etc, I'm instantly transported back to that setting.
    Single Girl Abroad looks very tenpting.

  7. Hi Guys,

    Rachael - I tend to want to redo every old country pub I walk into. It's a disease, and I will happily read about yours when it's out.

    Nat - I bet it's been a nightmare even lining up contractors. Everyone must be so busy! Fingers crossed for a fabulous home makeover (Kermit green bedrooms and all ;)

    Sharon, when I was a kid, there was this really old ramshackle house that I passed on the way to school each morning. I desperately wanted to grow up and buy it. And then I grew up and discovered common sense .

    Leah - THREE house renovations so far. I take my hat off to you. The original titles for the Single Girl Abroad stories were 'Untameable Rogue' and 'Red-Hot Renegade'. Hero focussed. Whereas with the reprint cover, the focus is very definitely on the heroine(s), with glossy shopping bag bits on the cover, and glossy dresses, and shiny sparkly title treatment, and, oh, I think I'm in love...

    Anne, I'm glad you enjoyed Wish. And good luck with the house reno. I did new paint and carpet downstairs at the end of last year, with the (then) 18yo for additional labour. STILL haven't started the top.

  8. Nat, I've just noticed your new Riva gover on the sidebar. Gorgeous!

  9. Sue, you sound gifted in this department. I have envy. I've a girlfriend who buys/does up/and then sells old houses. Many's the time I've walked into her latest and haven't been able to see what she sees in it. Until it's done. And then it's stunning and I stand there open-mouthed.

  10. Kelly, I adore old pubs and ramshackle homesteads and quaint churches, but...

    I am FAR too lazy to take on such a renovation project. Doesn't mean I don't enjoy reading about them, though. ;-)

    Love your knew covers. Single Girl Abroad is so divine it's making me drool!

  11. Doh! New covers! That's what I meant to say... new!

  12. Hi Kelly ~ I'm so in love with all your Bennett brothers and sister. Thank you so much for such a wonderful series. You made me laugh and cry and just enjoy every minute of their lives.

    I don't do renovations but I love seeing old buildings restored.

  13. Michelle, lol on the typo. Earlier on in the comments I've noticed Nat's new gover. As opposed to cover. As you do...

    Kaelee, I'm so glad you enjoyed the Bennett family. Those brothers turned up in that first book, and I'd never been published before, and I'd given them such alpha occupations and ott reactions which served that particular story and not much else... it never occurred to me back then that I might one day be asked to write them. Seriously. I'm heartily relieved they turned out okay.

  14. Hi Kelly - Wish sounds wonderful - so I just went an bought it for my Kindle. Look forward to reading it tonight :)
    I'm not much for renovations - too lazy I guess :)Rather build a house from scratch. I always admire people who can visualize and renovate though.
    Great post!

  15. Hi Kelly - Wish sounds wonderful - so I just went an bought it for my Kindle. Look forward to reading it tonight :)
    I'm not much for renovations - too lazy I guess :)Rather build a house from scratch. I always admire people who can visualize and renovate though.
    Great post!

  16. Thank you, Helen. I hope you enjoy it.

  17. Kelly, how exciting that you have a novella out! The excerpt is excellent -- but then, your writing is always excellent! I love the Bennett brother books ... I think I need to buy Single Girl Abroad!!

    Lovely to see you here on LoveCats!

  18. Without the bathroom renovations I don't know that I would commit to a such a huge undertaking. Nothing beats a lovely new bathroom to soak away your troubles.

    Both stories look amazing. Great covers.

  19. Kelly, congratulations on your novella!! And that duo too. What a fab cover! It'll fly off the shelves.
    I've heard nothing but praise for Wish (not at all surprising). And as soon as Santa brings me my iPad for Xmas, I'm gonna download it for my very own.
    Thanks so much for joining us today =)

  20. I'm definitely not a fan of myself undertaking a renovation and am not much chop at seeing potential but love those programmes where buildings and rooms are made over. I do work across the road from a movie theatre though which is currently in need of major renovation and is in limbo, so we're hoping someone's prepared to put up the money!
    The cover on the duo is just gorgeous.

  21. What a gorgeous cover, and the novella was fab too.

    I'm currently in the middle of not so much a makeover as a complete rebuild. Well, my husband and the builders are - we're restoring a ruin and pulled down everything but the facade. It's slowly going back up!

  22. Kelly, even though I've never attempted one myself, I love TV shows and books about house makeovers. Such fun. :)

    I'm part way through Wish - I've had to have a break from the iPad because of eyestrain and am desperate to get back and finish!

  23. Hi Emily, the admiration is mutual - I love your writing!

    Marybelle - I have a bad habit of only renovating the bathroom. Kitchens can fend for themselves - I won't be using them much anyway, whereas a long soak in a lovely bath... I'm all in.

    Robbie, thank you so much for inviting me to to the LoveCats DownUnder blog.

    Jo - the lovely Julie Cohen (who helped launch the (now) Riva line way back in 2007 and has since gone single title) wrote a book about an old cinema restoration where the hero and heroine get locked in. It's called Feautred Attraction. Lots of fun with a heroine called Kitty Giroux. I wish I'd thought of Kitty Giroux...;)

    I think Sharon has the right of it. The best type of renovation is a fantasy one.

  24. Lucy - The Spanish Rebuild (title alert!)sounds like a huge and wondrous undertaking, best spoken about years later over a bottle or three of fine Spanish wine.

    Rachel, I've just bought a Sony ereader as an early Chrissy present and I'm having the same trouble with small screens and eyes. Plus, lots of computer screen staring throughout a writing day. The ease of book-buying that comes with an ereader though... Oh MY.

  25. Pretty good post very informative topic great article.
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