Fish out of Water: Wandin Valley edition

The Escapades

by Lisa Ireland

When I read romance I find myself reaching for certain storylines over and over again. I love a good reunion story, and I’m a sucker for ‘best friends to lovers’, but my absolute favourite trope is ‘fish out of water’. Whether it’s a novel, a movie or a TV show, when the main character finds herself in unfamiliar territory—a stranger in a strange land, so to speak—I’m hooked.

If you grew up in Australia in the 1980s like I did, it’s a fair bet you’re familiar with the TV show A Country Practice. Molly Jones, the quirky city girl who moves to the country with her husband, is one of my favourite TV characters. Molly is a classic example of a fish out of water. Her romance was not with a man but with the town of Wandin Valley. She was in love with her new home…

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Fish out of Water

The Escapades

This week’s romance trope is ‘Fish out of Water’; Ainslie Paton starts us off with a few classics of the genre.

A fish needs water like a human needs air, like spaghetti needs sauce. And a reader needs a story that intrigues and excites.

Or as the well-known industry pundit, Bookthingo says, “a romance has to gives all the feels”. (Source: Twitter, almost any time you care to check).

Well, yeah.

One way for an author to give good read is to dive into the ‘fish out of water’ trope, because by definition it’s designed to place a character in a situation where they’re very uncomfortable, which means there’s a lot of ways for a writer to twist the character’s journey to confound and delight a reader.

It’s pretty much the trope all reality TV is based on. Take some randomly selected (not really, but that’s the fiction) people, put…

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My Country Home

The Escapades

by Louise Forster

I love writing romance because it can take me—and a reader—anywhere, in any genre, and in all kinds of weather. I find it exciting to utilize country towns I’ve visited, with loveable characters that I’ve talked to; towns such as Mudgee, Glenn Ines and Armidale.

People in country towns have a unique dry, Aussie humour, which is a great tool to bring depth to characters. I live in a small town; it has one pub, one general store, a post office and various businesses, including a vet. The same vet performed surgery on our desperately ill dog, and he allowed us into theatre as his mate and fellow vet recited bush poetry.


For my next book, Tumble Creek (due for release on April 25, ANZAC day), I needed specifics on breaking and entering. Yep, the heroine has decided to deal with a certain problem herself. She’s up…

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Return Home: Christmas edition

The Escapades

by Darlene Fredette

 However far we wonder, where ever we may roam, our thoughts will still be turning to those we love at home. Author Unknown

Tropes like ‘Return Home’ are popular in romance stories, however every author must apply their own spin to make the trope their own and create a memorable storyline.

Returning home can be a mixed bag of emotion, with fun, but also conflict and tension.

In One Sweet Christmas, there’s a teaspoon of best friend’s sister and a tablespoon of a reunion. But the main focus is the cup of returning home; it’s a tasty recipe you just might find in Cane’s Chocolate Shop.

Jackson does not return to Redford Falls willingly. He is forced by a mere piece of paper. Upon his first step into the snow, emotion, conflict and tension erupt. Jackson not only has to face the past he left…

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Return Home: Stranger in a Familiar Land

The Escapades

This week’s romance trope is Return Home. Kicking things off is Alison Stuart, who asks: Can you ever really go home?

A stench of animal and human waste and decomposing vegetable matter rose from the Thames and exuded in waves from the dark, narrow streets that led down to the dock. Standing at the rail of the ship, his hands gripping the weathered wood so hard that the knuckles showed white, Daniel breathed in the fetid London air as if it were the finest perfume he had ever smelled.

He had come home.

From Exile’s Return, by Alison Stuart

My husband maintains that in any given fictional story there are only two plots—‘stranger comes to town’ or ‘stranger goes on a journey’. The ‘return home’ trope is a subset of ‘stranger comes to town’, only in this case the stranger returns to a familiar world but finds they…

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An offer she can’t refuse…

The Escapades

Book 8 in Secret Confessions: Down & Dusty…


Frankie has lost a lot to her stepbrother, Mac: her father’s affection, the family cattle station, her teenage daydreams. But Mac has never shown any interest in taking what Frankie wants to give: her heart, her soul, and her body. So Frankie has no choice. She can’t continue to live with Mac, loving him as she does, knowing he doesn’t want her in return. She has finally saved enough money to buy Mac out of the station and out of her life for good. But Mac has an offer of his own: one night together, and he’ll walk away. One night for full ownership of the cattle station. For Frankie, it’s an offer too tantalising to resist, an offer too dangerous to consider— an offer she can’t refuse.

Frankie is available today!

Secret Confessions: Down & Dusty

 Casey – Rachael Johns
Lucky –…

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ARRA nominees: Lizzy Chandler

The Escapades

This post by Lizzy Chandler is the last in our series by Escape authors nominated for 2015 ARRA awards, to be announced in March. Good luck to all our nominated Escape Artists!

What an honour and surprise to have been nominated for Favourite New Romance Author for 2015. Thanks to everyone who voted!

I had two novels published in 2015, both of which were finalists in the Clendon Award some years ago (under different titles).

My first novel, Snowy River Man, is a rural romance about Katrina Delaney, a twenty-something woman with a tragic past who dreams of the whereabouts of a missing child. The child’s father, Jack Fairley, is someone with whom she had a one-night stand years before, a grazier whose property spans Snowy River country. Jack’s son Nick has gone missing after a country rodeo and Katrina volunteers to help look for him, even though she…

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