Nicole Hurley-Moore is a Victorian author living in the Central Highlands and writing heartfelt books with real and relatable characters. I have read a few of her books and have a few more on my shelves calling out to be read, and every time I read one it makes me want to get to the others faster and immerse myself in her settings and her characters.

The latest release by Hurley-Moore is out now and it’s a story that definitely reeled me in and left me wanting more. To celebrate the release I was able to ask some questions and get a little insight into the work of Nicole Hurley-Moore. Sit back, take a load off and get to know her a little better.

Hi Nicole, welcome to Mic Loves Books and thanks for answering my questions today.

Thanks so much for inviting me.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I always loved reading from when I was very little. I was always captivated with fairy tales and myths and legends. I think my desire to write came from there.

Can you tell us a little about where you get your story ideas and inspiration?

Inspiration can be weird and the strangest things can trigger it. I’m writing a story at the moment which was inspired by three of lyrics of a song. Another one was sparked by a news article, the book was nothing to do with the actual events but it was just the initial idea that got me thinking. Ideas can hit you generally when you don’t expect them, like in the middle of your walk, listening to music, or even a snippet of a conversation. I always write down any ideas I might have, so at the moment I have several notebooks sitting next to my desk. This doesn’t mean all of them will be used but it’s still worth writing them down.

Summer at Kangaroo Ridge is your latest novel, what can you tell us about it?

Tamara and her brother, Sebastian have given up a lot to hold their family together after the tragic death of their parents. They’ve stepped up, grown up and shouldered responsibility so that their younger siblings could stay in the home they had grown up in. Although, they haven’t done it alone, as their Aunt Maddie returned to Kangaroo Ridge to help. The experience and grief have turned Tam and Seb into two very different people. He’s quiet and stoic, whereas Tam wants to kick over the traces and make up for what she’s missed out on. And just to add more tension between the siblings, Tam is in love with someone she knows her brother will disapprove of. Tamara wants to be happy and have a bright future but constantly self-sabotages as deep down she blames herself for their parents’ accident.

Bit of a random question, but I’m curious because one of your character names is one of my children’s names. How do you choose names for your characters?

Choosing names can be difficult, even when it’s for fictional characters. Sometimes I just pick names that I like or have some sort of attachment to. For example, I used Sebastian because I had a dear childhood friend who was named that.  I also go through popular name lists and check the meanings to see if they reflect the attributes in the characters.

Are there any plans for a follow-up story featuring any of the other Carringtons? I know that I would be interested to check back in on them.

I’ve just started plotting and playing around with another Carrington story.

What can you share with us about your writing process? Do you plot or does the story unfold organically?

Once I get the first scene in my head, I’ll sit down and write what I call a story run. It’s just a basic outline of the story from beginning to end. After that, I plot the book scene by scene, this doesn’t mean the story won’t change as I’m writing it but it gives me a general map to follow.

Are you working on something new you can tell us about?

I’m working on project at the moment, it’s a contemporary set in Melbourne. It’s a story that I’ve wanted to write for a long time.

The other project I’m working on is another Kangaroo Ridge story. It’s in the early stages but I’ve started plotting it out. I like the way it’s shaping up.

How has the pandemic changed your story-telling and has it changed your writing process?

No, I wouldn’t say it’s changed my storytelling or writing process. However pre pandemic, there were a lot more opportunities to connect with other writers and readers. I have a group of authors who meet up every month, I can’t tell you the last time we were all together for lunch.

What do you love to do what you aren’t writing?

Painting, walking, reading, binge watching Netflix and spending time with my family.

Finally, what advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read a lot and across different genres, it makes you appreciate how other writers tell their stories in their own individual voices. Everyone is different and that’s a good thing.

 Find your own voice, no one can tell your story like you can.

 Find a writing community or group that will help you hone your writing skills, give you constructive criticism, advice and support.

And finally, believe in yourself. If you love writing and conjuring stories out of thin air, then you can do this. I always wanted to be an author but it wasn’t until ten years ago that I had the confidence to go for it. Don’t be me, seize the moment and start now.

Thank you so much for your time Nicole, it was lovely learning a little more about your stories and your process. Good luck with the release and I look forward to what comes next.