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Chanel Sweethearts by Cate Kendall

Synopsis:

Country girl Jess has lost so much in the past year. So when an old flame reappears to offer her a new life in the city, far from the idyllic country town where she grew up, Jess decides to trade her Blundstones for stilettos and reinvent herself as a sophisticated city designer. But can she leave Stumpy Gully and her beloved General Store, which she transformed from rickety shed into a thriving, funky destination at the heart of the small town? Has she got what it takes to succeed in the city? And what about the friends she will leave behind, and the possibility of a romance with her oldest, dearest friend?

This is another sassy, engaging commercial women’s fiction read from the bestselling authors of Gucci Mamas and Versace Sisters.

RRP $32.95. Published by Bantam Australia

We sit down and talk to one half of the writing team behind Chanel Sweethearts, Michelle Hamer.

Chanel Sweethearts appears to be Gucci Mamas moves to the country – are either of you from the country?
Lisa lives in a small, seaside village and has koalas in her backyard – so definitely yes. I live a few kilometres from the area described in the book, which is the hinterland of the Mornington Peninsula.

What books are on your bedside table right now?
I’ve been enjoying re-reading some favourite books, so I have Catcher in the Rye, Breakfast at Tiffanys and my favourite recent non-fiction book, The Brain that Changes Itself which is all about neuro- plasticity; it sounds nerdy, but it’s fascinating stuff.

Which author has influenced you the most?

That’s a really tough question. I love reading and books, so it’s a bit like trying to choose your favourite child! Jane Austen changed my life when I was a teenager, she creates such full characters and so many layers of meaning. Marian Keyes is the queen of chick lit, so her books are favourites too. Australian authors such as Tim Winton and Markus
Zusak (who wrote The Book Thief) remind me of the wealth of literary talent in this country.

My favourite character is Caro, she seems very normal but still has a sassy Chanel edge to her. Which is your favourite character and why?
I really love Jess, the main character, I was quite sad to finish the novel and not get to spend time with her anymore. She tries really hard to make everyone happy and do the right thing, but in the end realises she has to take care of herself too. I also really enjoyed Rainbow and Songbird, I think they’re hilarious.

How long does it take to write this novel inbetween your other jobs as mothers?
My day job is as a freelance journalist for several magazines and newspapers. I work from home which makes it much easier to fit the writing around the kids. From the initial coffee-shop meetings to planning the books and deciding on characters, to writing the chapter outline, then the book itself,and then making the editing changes suggested by
Random takes a year from beginning to end.

Do your husbands do their own ironing and cook the meals when you are mid-book?
What? Are you telling me there are still women who cook and iron for their husbands?? I’m divorced, so this isn’t an issue for me. But my teenagers
can knock up a dinner for the family when I’m on deadline; and I stopped ironing a decade ago.

Thank you for talking to us Michelle, we look forward to your next novel.