Blog Archives

With Curiosity and Wide Eyes

Lesley Mooney Author Interview

Lesley Mooney Author Interview

Cooking in a Teacup recounts your experiences in a kitchen in the Australian outback in 1952. What was the inspiration that made you want to capture this time in a book?

The main reason was to let my family of five girls and their families, understand how my life had been and what it was like then in the outback. They might find much of it monotonous as I tend to talk too much about myself. My coming from a religious boarding college life when aged fourteen which was restricting in certain ways, then going out into the bush for some years afterwards,, presented many profound changes for both me and my brother then.( Only partially going to grade ten was not a hindrance for finding a job later when in Darwin and it did not enter my mind then..)

I am so pleased you liked the story regardless of how it was written. I know I went through that life accepting whatever came along with curiosity and wide eyes, yet I followed orders with the knowledge that those people out there also accepted whatever occurred was part of their normal daily.

I enjoyed the humorous but honest recounts of your past. What is one experience from that time that you remember more clearly than the others?

Well, besides the worst one- that one of almost disappearing into the “big hole in the ground” , and the other one of nearly running a large truck off the road at night when driving home from Julia Creek—The main benefits were the new education I had received much earlier
from the young age of fifteen; and then the blessings of accepting and being able to live through those experiences. Truely, altogether it was the entire new living that life experiences, and having the patience and ability to watch, listen, absorb, and try to relax. Yet take part in the unknown chores of daily life, and admire the workers while learning so much from all those wonderful people I met. Enjoying their conversations and their natures, regardless of them carrying out their working jobs, which I often took part in.

When writing this book did you have to interview anyone or dig up any old photos to spark your memory?

No, all these details were always present in my memory with some never forgotten. I do have photos from most places I lived at.

I found your book to be ultimately inspiring. What do you hope readers take away from your story?

I would like to hope they actually do read some of the narrative without throwing it away in disgust and boredom.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Shashwords

This story relates to my own individual, genuine experiences which occurred, and I added others including the details of some years before from early 1945 and after, to explain my circumstances as they were then.

Just turning twenty one in 1952, my father wrote and asked me an odd question, which was to take on a job as a cook on a cattle station, up in North Queensland. Though ‘totally inexperienced’, this position sounded interesting and intriguing. New adventures lay ahead for me on that unknown part of the Australian outback. I doubt if my father even considered my lack of capabilities for this position at all. Later on this job also offered another one, with the bush nurse asking for me to come and nurse, care and cook for an elderly man at McKinley Qld, again my being absolutely inexperienced. These parts of my story included meeting new people, and happenings that occurred in my life, then and in the future.

As this is real life over periods of years, it also contains personal details of the author and family’s lives, and that of others.

This is not a cooking book and there are no recipes given, though a sense of humour would be appreciated.

Buy Now From B&N.com

Cooking In A Teacup Before & After

If you’re picking up this book in the hopes that it provides you with recipes for cooking in a teacup, you’ve picked up the wrong book. However, if you’re looking for a charming, self-reflective exploration of not only a life in food but an era, as well as a commentary on the societal experiences to be had within that era, then Cooking In A Teacup Before and After: An Autobiographical True Tale is here for you.

Nowadays, it seems hard to believe that a 21-year-old with no cooking experience (or even much life experience) would be left to her own devices in a kitchen in the Australian outback. But in 1952, that’s just what happened to Lesley J Mooney. Thankfully (for both Mooney and us, the reader of her autobiographical tale), she accepted the opportunity, acknowledging it, even subconsciously, for what it was: really interesting. So, here we are, in 2020, unpacking a book which lays out the experiences which unfolded before and after.

Mooney is really funny, and writes with a wry tone that makes each phase of her life joyful to hear about. While using the phrase “Ignorance is bliss” isn’t usually employed when it comes to the skill of cooking, and one book entitled “Country Woman’s Cookery Book” isn’t considered the overarching manual when it comes to culinary mastery, they certainly facilitated an hilarious starting point for Mooney’s attitude when taking on the challenge set out by her father to take the cooking job.

The structure of Mooney’s cooking experiences make a strong backbone to what, at the fleshy center, is a heart-warming autobiography of her life and becoming a woman in a conservative time in history. Having this structure in place gives the book good pace, and contextualizes the elements of experience and storytelling well.

Though perhaps a mild spoiler – it all goes well enough that Mooney thinks it appropriate to write about it all these years on. Even at the expense of a few bandaged up thumbs along the way…

Pages: 120 | ISBN: 1925959317

Buy Now From B&N.com

Marley Faces Reality

Marley Faces Reality by [Mooney, Lesley J]

Marley and Richard have only just met, but the spark is there, and it is real. Things begin to move quickly when Richard comes to work in the same business as Marley. In addition, he is strangely close to their new manager, Ross Gilmore. The buzz in Marley’s office is all about Ross and the wealth that he has accumulated. However, Marley’s sights are set on Richard, and she is much less concerned about his association with the new man in charge. With dreams of marriage, a family, and a horse farm of their own, Marley and Richard set out to make a life together. Something… just a little hint of something… isn’t as simple as it seems.

Marley Faces Reality, by Lesley J. Mooney, is the story of Marley Bollane, a young woman working hard and waiting patiently for her turn at love and a family. Unlike many in her peer group, Marley has chosen to remain a virgin until marriage. She doesn’t realize how quickly that marriage will arrive when she meets Richard. Their relationship moves quickly and all seems well. There remains something quite unsettling about Richard’s friend and business associate, Ross. Marley can’t shake the feeling, but she also can’t put a name to it.

The underlying and brewing drama is drawn out well throughout the book. Mooney keeps readers guessing and makes it interesting to watch Marley try to piece together the clues she begins to pick up along the way. Marley’s life with Richard moves along at a rapid pace, and the reader becomes easily absorbed in all of their triumphs.

Though the main characters’ lives move along quickly in the first few chapters, it takes a while to get to the meat of the story. When it finally happens, the author brings readers in headfirst. The drama is well-planned, multiple characters are impacted, and Marley is still clueless enough to keep readers yearning for more. When she fails to notice the changes in her children and the impact her brother-in-law has on their lives, readers become irate for her.

Ross, who begins the book as a mystery, becomes quite the villain, and does so fairly abruptly. He returns in one way or another throughout the plot. Whether he is in a face-to-face confrontation or whether previous dealings with him come back to haunt Marley and Richard’s little family, Ross is always there. His presence helps make the book much more than the romance it seemed at the outset.

There are some points in the beginning of the book where the dialogue feels a bit wordy. Some of the exchanges between characters feel much more like narration than genuine exchanges between two characters.

Readers who enjoy an element of romance in their thrillers will find Mooney’s work satisfying. Mooney has created relatable characters, a dramatic story-line with multiple twists and turns, and a heroine to be remembered.

Pages: 276 | ASIN: B07ZNC36XG

Buy Now From B&N.com

Flight From Fear

Lesley J. Mooney’s Flight From Fear traces the frightening ordeal of a grandfather and his two grandchildren after they find themselves hosting a bizarre guest. When Gabe’s plane crashes in the Canadian woods, Frank Benders and his grandchildren, Jacob and Natalie, open the door of their secluded cabin to find him bleeding, desperate, and clinging to life. During his time in their home, Gabe shows the small family two very different sides to his personality. As their fears increase, so do Gabe’s unsettling episodes.

Before Frank and his teenage grandchildren are able to summon help from the rangers, things in their remote forest home go tragically wrong. Mooney has taken a unique approach with her protagonist. His diagnosis of schizophrenia and the subsequent personas he develops make for an interesting back and forth between the characters. The reader is faced with feeling sorry for Gabe as his multiple personalities come and go rapidly throughout the plot. As much as I wanted to hate him for kidnapping Natalie, a part of me felt pity toward him. Mooney is effective at bringing out these mixed emotions with her villainous characters. I was somewhat thrown by the introduction of Frank’s trained eagle. As I read, I saw the usefulness of the eagle to the story line. Another element I found a bit difficult to grasp centers around the newlywed couple who shows up at Frank’s cabin shortly after Gabe’s abduction of Natalie. Samuel and Margaret, almost without question, step directly into assisting Frank and Jacob in their hunt for the two in the dense Canadian forest. This aspect seemed a little difficult to swallow considering the volatile nature of Gabe’s mental state.

Natalie remains, throughout the book, a character of immense strength. Her immediate willingness to help the man who otherwise seems hell bent on harming her is nothing short of amazing. She is pulled into a situation that most adults would find mentally devastating, but she is able to persevere. In fact, she not only perseveres, but it would seem she is able to forgive and forget. Mooney’s Natalie is an admirable heroine indeed. As much as I admire the evolution of Natalie throughout the plot, I feel the story lacks in a few areas.

For instance, Gabe’s hospital stay in the final chapters covers several pages without zeroing in on his condition, his criminal past, and his apprehension. Mooney, however, has fashioned a story different from any other in the thriller/suspense genre–her entire cast of characters is filled with an empathy unmatched by other authors. This alone makes Flight From Fear worth the read.

 

Amazon Author Page

 

Even I Shed a Few Tears

Lesley Mooney Author Interview

Lesley Mooney Author Interview

Flight From Fear traces the frightening ordeal of a grandfather and his two grandchildren after they find themselves hosting a bizarre guest. How did you come up with the idea for this novel?

As usual my imagination takes hold and it happens. I wanted to make it a family story with a pet dog and a mystery for a change, with a new setting. Living in forests and snow country brings its own dangers and difficulties. I love the beauty of mountains, and a winter scene is immediately interesting. The affliction the man suffers from is a disturbing one which is a terrible mystery in itself, but frightening. It actually becomes a sad story as the victim develops an affection for his ‘girlie’ ‘as he calls her. Even I shed a few tears at the end.

Gabe has schizophrenia and the subsequent personas he develops make for an interesting back and forth between the characters. What were some themes you wanted to capture with Gabe’s character?

At first that was a puzzle not knowing how that disease takes affect, so I bought in a natural Australian character first, then another completely different. I have read that the characters which come to life are often related to someone in their lives, but mine do not.

Natalie remains, throughout the book, a character of immense strength. What were some obstacles you felt were important to her characters development?

She is a young woman, the only daughter in the family, and many these days have to face up to a situation as she did in that story. Some woman find they have an inner strength in times of stress and fear. At first she’s terrified, but she develops a strength because of his injuries, then feels pity for the man with all the pain he suffers..

When will this book be available for purchase?

When I think it is ready and am able to publish it, probably within a few months.I do not wish to make a fool of myself, after the wonderful reviews received from you for the other books. That is why I had this reviewed first.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Shashwords

 

Her Love Survived His Cruelty

Lesley Mooney Author Interview

Lesley Mooney Author Interview

Fire in the Heart follows lovely Rianna as her life changes for the worse when she marries Lord Rowan McClaron. What was your inspiration for the setup to this novel?

I have always loved the old tales of Ireland and Scotland, the history of smuggling and hated the cruel mastery of the males as was shown then. So I wrote this one with a young woman who in time stood up to the treatment, even using a whip on him. I cannot stand woman being treated that way, and it is even worse these days. It’s a shame that whips are not available for their defense now.

Rianna struggles with many difficult decisions in this book. What were some obstacles you felt were important to her characters development?

As the only daughter who was clever and helped her father, she rebelled against the accepted discipline of that period. She wanted to and often did stand up for herself, but sometimes had no choice where parents and a suitable marriage were concerned.

You were able to paint a vivid picture of a battered woman and a controlling husband. What were some sources of inspiration for you when creating their relationship?

Again how true love can be found and survive. Though Rianna still loved Rowan her husband and he really loved her and her nature, but his hidden mental illness caused him to treat her so badly; her love survived his cruelty and attempts to suppress her spirit throughout their marriage,until reaching a breaking point.

What do you hope readers take away from your book?

That they enjoy this old style love story and be thankful that attitudes have changed. I would be pleased if they realize that woman today can and do have better marriages, though violence still exists and some woman who love can be fragile or easily broken. I have noted that men these days might be more willing to consider and adapt to their wives ideas, though still needing to appear as the head of their family. Woman are not as suppressed, and can have their own identity and even be leaders in the community.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Shashwords

Fire in the Heart by [Mooney, Lesley J]Loving another man, the feisty young Rianna becomes an unwilling bride to the possessive yet compelling Lord Rowan McClaron. 
After travelling to his ancestral home on the storm battered cliffs of the east coast of Scotland, Rowan’s passion becomes overwhelming, but a wedge is driven between him and his young bride when Rianna initially fails to produce the expected heir. 

A ghostly vision on the staircase, an attempted assault by a visiting relative, a ruthless encounter on the moors and Rowan’s jealous and violent testing of her love bring Rianna to a fearful decision, one which involves another Scotsman, but leaves death and heartbreak in its wake.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Flight From Fear

Lesley J. Mooney’s Flight From Fear traces the frightening ordeal of a grandfather and his two grandchildren after they find themselves hosting a bizarre guest. When Gabe’s plane crashes in the Canadian woods, Frank Benders and his grandchildren, Jacob and Natalie, open the door of their secluded cabin to find him bleeding, desperate, and clinging to life. During his time in their home, Gabe shows the small family two very different sides to his personality. As their fears increase, so do Gabe’s unsettling episodes. Before Frank and his teenage grandchildren are able to summon help from the rangers, things in their remote forest home go tragically wrong.

Mooney has taken a unique approach with her protagonist. His diagnosis of schizophrenia and the subsequent personas he develops make for an interesting back and forth between the characters. The reader is faced with feeling sorry for Gabe as his multiple personalities come and go rapidly throughout the plot. As much as I wanted to hate him for kidnapping Natalie, a part of me felt pity toward him. Mooney is effective at bringing out these mixed emotions with her villainous characters.

I was somewhat thrown by the introduction of Frank’s trained eagle. As I read, I saw the usefulness of the eagle to the story line, but I felt the eagle pushed the book a tad further toward a fantasy category.

Another element I found a bit difficult to grasp centers around the newlywed couple who shows up at Frank’s cabin shortly after Gabe’s abduction of Natalie. Samuel and Margaret, almost without question, step directly into assisting Frank and Jacob in their hunt for the two in the dense Canadian forest. This aspect seemed a little difficult to swallow considering the volatile nature of Gabe’s mental state.

Natalie remains, throughout the book, a character of immense strength. Her immediate willingness to help the man who otherwise seems hellbent on harming her is nothing short of amazing. She is pulled into a situation that most adults would find mentally devastating, but she is able to persevere. In fact, she not only perseveres, but it would seem she is able to forgive and forget. Mooney’s Natalie is an admirable heroine indeed.

As much as I admire the evolution of Natalie throughout the plot, I feel the story lacks in a few areas. There is a good bit of repetition of dialogue toward the end of the book which leads the reader to feel he/she has already read this page or that paragraph. In addition, I feel that some sections of the plot are stretched a little too far without getting to the meat of the plot. For instance, Gabe’s hospital stay in the final chapters covers several pages without zeroing in on his condition, his criminal past, and his apprehension. Mooney, however, has fashioned a story different from any other in the thriller/suspense genre–her entire cast of characters is filled with an empathy unmatched by other authors. This alone makes Flight From Fear worth the read.

Visit the Authors Amazon Author Page

 

Fire in the Heart

Fire in the Heart by [Mooney, Lesley J]Fire in the Heart, a novel by Lesley J. Mooney, traces the experiences of young Rianna as she copes with both unrequited love and a marriage that has swept her off her feet and into a new and sobering reality. When Lord Rowan McClaron introduces himself to Rianna and her friends, she has no way of knowing that her life in Scotland is about to change–and change for the worse. Her marriage to Rowan is plagued with secrets on both sides, and her seeming inability to produce an heir brings Rowan’s wrath upon her.

Fire in the Heart is a unique blend of romance and mystery. Mooney manages to keep the reader invested in Rianna’s plight by revisiting the strange and unsettling behavior of her husband, Rowan. Rianna, by all accounts, is an abused woman. What begins as a romance novel soon turns into a story of a woman trying to find ways to appease an increasingly abusive and disturbed husband. Mooney is more than effective at describing the heartbreak and the terror of her heroine.

Mooney paints a bleak picture of Rowan McClaron. He is as realistic an abuser as I have seen in novels of this genre. From beginning to end, he is that vile character the reader will want to see either make a turn for the better or be offed. The author is quite adept at giving readers a villain worthy of loathing.

Rianna’s desire to satisfy Rowan’s desire for a child is the primary focus of the storyline. I was, in fact, quite surprised that there was so little time spent describing Rianna’s pregnancy. Things move very quickly once Rianna finds out she is indeed carrying a child. I would have preferred the plot have been drawn out a little longer with regards to the long-awaited birth.

The dialect is absolutely delightful. Accents are thick and take a couple rereads at the outset, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading even the richest comments and slang-laden comments.

I admit I was thrown completely by the use of single quotes as a way of denoting dialogue. This took a bit of time to get used to and prompted me to do a quick bit of research. I wasn’t familiar with this particular style used by publishers in the UK. However, after a couple chapters, I found myself more concerned with the plot and less aware of the quotations themselves.

One thing I found a little difficult to look past was the changing of tenses mid-paragraph. The change from past to present and back with no obvious explanation was hard to navigate at times. Though it doesn’t permeate the book, these small lapses in consistency made for some awkward reading.

Mooney offers readers action, romance, and intrigue in one neat package. Rianna is a woman fighting battles with which many readers may identify. Her stubbornness and the fierce manner in which she protects her son make her a main character to remember.

Pages: 340 | ASIN: B01N7XHUZD

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: