Fasten your seatbelts!
Taking off as a new author by Cassandra O’Leary
Hello, thanks Amanda for having me on your site today! I’m super excited to share a little about my path to publication and my debut romance novel, Girl on a Plane, available now through Avon Books UK/HarperCollins UK!
As a new author, how did you get published?
I’ve been writing fiction seriously for about three years, having been interested in writing since childhood but finding myself doing business type writing, working in PR and corporate communications. When I was approaching my big 4 – 0 birthday, I decided to try to write a novel. Just like that. I did write a romance manuscript in about three months, to see if I could do it. It was probably complete rubbish, but it got me started writing.
I worked on a couple of other stories and then started writing one with the working title, Up In The Air Over You. It started as a short story, then morphed into a full length contemporary romance novel. I entered some writing contests, which were a great learning opportunity and also submitted it to a few publishers. At the same time, I attended heaps of writing workshops and joined the fabulous Romance Writers of Australia.
Early in 2015, I entered another writing contest online, hardly thinking anything of it at the time. Until months later, I received an email from an editor at HarperCollins in London, saying I’d WON the global We Heart New Talent contest. The prize was a publishing contract! OMG!
After several months of revisions and then going through the initial publishing process, my book was given a shiny new title: Girl on a Plane. Then I saw their lovely, fun cover design, and knew I was onto a winner! Girl on a Plane was released globally as an e-book on 18 July 2016.
I’m hoping that HarperCollins UK will also be interested in my next novel, Dating Little Miss Perfect. That’s close to completion, so wish me luck…
What is your novel about and what was your inspiration for the story?
Girl on a Plane is a contemporary romance/romantic comedy that’s steamy, sexy and sassy, about an Irish flight attendant named Sinead, who meets a gruff and gorgeous Aussie CEO, Gabriel, in first class. Their Melbourne to London flight is diverted when a storm hits in mid-air, and they find themselves thrown together in a hotel in Singapore. What follows could be a one-night stand, or maybe something else entirely.
My inspiration came from places I’ve personally travelled to, including Melbourne, Australia (my home city), Singapore, London, Paris and Thailand. I loved the idea of writing about a character who is always travelling, but perhaps hasn’t been able to make real connections with friends or a partner.
My main character, Sinead, is a 26 year old Irish flight attendant, who is looking for a place to call home, and ultimately, to find love. She’s quirky and glamorous but also feisty and determined to make her way in the world. I think she’s got a unique voice and I hope readers will enjoy her story.
Oh, and the gorgeous 6-foot-something Aussie surfer-in-a-suit, travel company CEO, Gabriel, is a bit of all right too!
Excerpt from Girl on a Plane:
Sinead scanned the rest of her passengers, letting her gaze slide over the business people who all looked much the same. Except…
Well, hello there.
Shockingly handsome young man with a perfectly sculpted face, full, kissable lips, sparkling blue eyes and dark blonde hair in 3A. Her belly fluttered and flipped. She was experiencing mild turbulence. Because of him? Her gaze tracked down his long, lean form, from broad shoulders to slim hips under a sharply cut suit. The man knew how to wear a suit.
And the man stared directly at her with intent—anyone would think he wanted to pounce on her and eat her alive. Yowza. Her stomach performed its own little dance and flipped over in the most peculiar way. As if she was falling.
Her hands formed into fists at her side and she sucked in a soothing deep breath. She was all hot then cold, goosebumps pebbling down her arms. The last thing she needed was another man who wanted to own her. But not all muscular and fit men were like Padraig. She’d left her mad ex-boyfriend years and thousands of miles away. Why couldn’t he stay there, out of sight, out of mind?
Don’t engage the crazy. Calm blue ocean. The image of a tropical Thai beach popped into her mind and calm washed over her like gentle waves against the shore.
She was still staring at Mr Hot Stuff in 3A. Rubbing her arms, she hastily looked away.
It was nearly time for the coffee and tea service, not the time for the distraction of a handsome man with a James Bond-ish air about him. Who looked like he would be able to handle himself… and a woman too.
What would it feel like, to let him handle her? Oh, Lord. She had a sneaking suspicion it would feel mighty fine. Heat crept up her throat and surged across her cheeks. The last thing she needed was a blush lighting up her face like an emergency beacon.
About Girl on a Plane
A sexy, sassy, summer read. CLIMB ON BOARD . . .
When feisty Irish flight attendant Sinead Kennealy locks eyes with sexy Australian CEO Gabriel Anderson in First Class, sparks fly. But as they jet across the globe from Melbourne to London, it’s clear that they’re in for a turbulent journey . . .
Stressed-out Gabriel doesn’t do relationships. And Sinead isn’t about to be fooled by another bad boy after escaping her stalker ex. Then a storm hits, causing the plane to land unexpectedly, and Sinead and Gabriel are thrown together in Singapore.
The pressure rises as Sinead’s unhappy past threatens to catch up with her. But might Gabriel be the one to heal her heartbreak? If he could open up about his troubling secrets, maybe a relationship could actually get off the ground. Fasten your seatbelts – this WON’T be a smooth ride . . .
Girl on a Plane buy links: