Friday, October 1, 2010

Eating Tim Tams with Anna Campbell, Anne Gracie, and Christine Wells

My husband sings with the barbershop chorus, The Sounds of Aloha,,  

Next fall, they are performing in Brisbane, Australia, for the Pan Pacific Convention 2011,

While I am down under, I will stock up on Tim Tams - chocolate covered biscuits (cookies):

I will also look for three historical authors who rock - Anne Gracie, Anna Campbell, and Christine Wells.

Last summer, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Anne Gracie after the RWA National Convention in Washington, DC.  She stayed a few extra days in the US with Mary Jo Putney.  I joined them for lunch in Baltimore just before I moved to Hawaii.  I was star struck by these two members of the Word Wenches,   But they were so warm, generous, and charming.  Anne even laughed at a few of my "Lucy" moments as I traveled around Europe in the military.  She commented that I was a story teller and encouraged me to write.  

This summer, I met Anna Campbell at RomCon in Denver, Colorado.  We exchanged emails before the convention as I wanted to interview her for this blog.  As my plane descended through turbulence into Denver, I kept saying to myself, "If Anna Campbell can fly all the way from Australia, I can survive this."  And I did.  And I was rewarded with a big hug, jolly laugh, and a new friend in Anna.

I missed the opportunity to meet Christine Wells at the RWA National Convention in Orlando, Florida.  But I feel as though we are already friends - I follow both Christine, Anna, and the other authors in the Lair at Romance Bandits,

The Romance Bandits frequently chat about Tim Tams, putting me in an Australia frame of mind.  So I invited Anne, Anna, and Christine to an interview about Australia.  Grab a box of Tim Tams and join me for a chin wag with my Aussie friends. 

News Alert:  We have a special guest - Australian actor Alex O'Laughlin, the hot star of Hawaii Five-O!   He'll join me for the interview: *

* This is my overactive imagination at work.

Kim:  What part of the continent do you live?

Alex:  I was born in Canberra, grew up in Sydney, but I now live in Hawaii.

Anne:  I live in the southeast corner, in Melbourne, the second biggest city in Australia. It's very civilized, a "foodie" place and currently ranks as the third "most livable city" in the world.

Anna:  I live on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, a resort area about an hour north of Brisbane in subtropical Queensland.

Christine:  I live in Brisbane, about half way down the east coast of Australia, within an hour's drive to the best beaches in the world. Not that I'm biased or anything!

Kim:  If you could showcase one aspect of Australia, what would it be?

Alex:  The Romance Writers of Australia,   Its members are creative, talented, and beautiful.  I am available to be their cover model on future releases.

Anne:  The Great Barrier Reef — it's stunning.

Anna:  The wildlife. Even in quite built-up areas, the birdlife is amazing.

Christine: I think the Great Barrier Reef is something everyone who comes to Australia should see. Other than that, we have spectacular seafood. Try our Moreton Bay Bugs, which are like mini lobsters but tastier (IMO!) We have beautiful wines, too, so if you like a glass or two, make sure you sample some of ours. Oh, and stock up on Cadbury's chocolate while you're here!

Kim:  What is your favorite movie and/or book set in Australia (historical or contemporary, real or fiction)?

AlexThe Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant.  I played the husband of the title character, a woman who was among the first of the British convicts sentenced to Australia in the late 1700s.  This part garnered two nominations for Best Actor - Australia Film Institute Award in 2005 and Logie in 2006.

Anne:  Probably Crocodile Dundee — when it comes on TV repeated for the hundredth time, it still gives me a laugh.  As for favorite Australian book, (it's also a movie) I'm fond of My Brilliant Career (Miles Franklin) but my childhood heart was firmly captured by the illustrations from Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the gumnut babies.

AnnaStrictly Ballroom.

Christine:  I think it would have to be My Brilliant Career or Picnic at Hanging Rock--both books and movies. They're classics and I think Judy Davis (MBC) is a brilliant actor. For more modern movies, Strictly Ballroom and The Castle.


Kim:  Do you prefer rugby, football, or soccer?

Alex:  I prefer surfing, which is popular in both Australia and Hawaii.

Anne:  You've left off Australian Rules football, which is neither rugby nor soccer.  It's fast, spectacular and gladiatorial, and in Victoria, the state I live in, it's practically a religion. There is a poem called "Life Cycle" which starts:

When children are born in Victoria
they are wrapped in club-colours, laid in beribboned cots,
having already begun a lifetime's barracking.

[Barracking meaning "rooting for." Rooting in Australia has um, questionable connotations ;) ]

The whole poem is here:

Anna:  Not really a football fan - sorry!

Christine:  I prefer Rugby Union. I grew up going to the matches so I probably understand Rugby better than any other football codes. (This is a game where men tackle each other and pile on top of one another in a heap *without* helmets and protective padding:)

Kim:  What is the correct way to eat Tim Tams?

Alex:  Any way with you, Kim!  **

Anne:  There is no correct way. Tim Tams are a delight to be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Some like to do the Tim Tam Slam (drinking coffee or hot chocolate through them like a straw.) Not me. I like them crunchy and cold from the fridge.

Anna:  I like to eat the classic Tim Tams (milk chocolate) the classic way - just grabbing a packet and making a pig of myself!

Christine:  With a cup of strong, hot coffee. Warning: You can never stop at just one Tim Tam! For an occasional treat, try the Tim Tam slam, but honestly, room temperature Tim Tams are the way to go. Some people like them after they've been refrigerated, though, so the chocolate isn't so gooey.

** Overactive imagination is now in overdrive.

Mahalo,  Alex, Anne, Anna, and Christine for joining us at SOS Aloha.  In honor of their visit,  Dame Barbara Cartland (ala Anne Gracie), is offering her favorite books:

Anne Gracie,, The Accidental Wedding
Anna Campbell,, My Reckless Summer
Christine Wells,, Sweetest Little Sin

I will randomly select one commenter to receive one book (thus three winners).  To enter the book giveaway,

1  Leave a comment about Australia, Anne, Anna, or Christine  (I write enough about Alex)

2.  Make sure I know how to contact you - if I do not have your email address, please send it to  Or friend SOS America on Facebook

3. Comments will be accepted through Friday, October 8.  This giveaway is open to US residents only. 

But I will mail a special Hawaii Five-O treat to any reader who sends his/her mailing address to 

Join us tomorrow as we celebrate Janet Mullany's newest release, Jane and the Damned.


Kim in Hawaii


  1. Ooh! Do I get the golden Tim Tam?

    Just stopping in to say a quick aloha Kim! Thanks so much for having us on your blog today.

  2. Aloha, Christine! Yes, you receive the Golden Tim Tam! Just wait 'til we'll be live in Aussieland!

  3. Hey, what a cool post, Kim! Thank you so much for having us as your guests today. Um, I get Alex to take home, don't I? He looks a bit homesick to me, poor boy. Needs some good old Aussie...hospitality (that's we call it down here, snicker!). By the way, you know those rainbow lorikeets you've got a photo of? I've got hundreds of those in the garden. They're very noisy but very beautiful!

  4. Well, I didn't want the golden timtam anyway -- too tough on the teeth. ;)

    Kim, thanks so much for hosting us on your blog -- it's gorgeous. As for Alex, well he's pretty gorgeous as well.

    I have rainbow lorikeets down here too, Anna -- I love them to bits. They're so funny and so beautiful.

  5. Aloha, Anna! Yes you may take Alex home for the weekend, especially since you have something in common with him!

    I am now curious to hear him speak with his Aussie accent!

  6. Aloha, Anne! I was fascinated to learn about the Aussie Rules Football. And looking for pictures to post for the Great Barrier Reef.

    And please give our regards to Barbara - she is my ICON!

  7. WOW I love Alex O'Laughlin...he was especially hot in the far too short lived TV show Moonlight as a YUMMY Vampire!!!
    Love the blog, its always nice to see that authors are just great human beings like the rest of us who happen to have brilliant imaginations!!!

  8. Hi Kim, I finally found it!!! I have nothing but wonderful things to say about all the authors since I've read at least a book from each but my favorite author is Anna...I'm very sick and Anna being the wonderful person she is send me a package because she knew I wasnt able to get up and around to a bookstore or library...not only is she my favorite author but she is one of my favorite people...she will always have a special place in my heart for the kindness that she has given me.

  9. Aloha, Cath! I know the the authors appreciate your comments. I meet many NYT bestsellers at various conventions and I am still star struck, even with those who are my friends. The Aussie authors are extra fab because they travel so far to meet their US fans!

    I somehow missed Moonlight on TV. But I am very much into Alex now - and I prefer the shorter hair!

    Look at my index for other topics that might interest you, including Hawaiian culture!

  10. Aloha, Justine! Yes, Anna is extra special! You can only imagine me on the airplane, whiteknuckled through the turbulence, but I kept saying "Anna, Anna." Plus the kind gentlemen next to me told me turbulence is common in Denver and no plane has crashed yet from it.

    But I also give a shout out to Anne, whose words of encouragement lead to this blog. And Christine is very fun at Romance Bandits!

    Come back and see us at SOS Aloha!

  11. Kim, I am so jealous -- can you fit me in your suitcase. Have a TimTam for me! Anna, Christine and Anne I have your books and they are all on my keeper shelf.

  12. Aloha, Danielle! We have a year to save for our entire family to accompany the chorus (it is the same time as the public school's fall break). Plus I have to find the courage to fly 10+ hours over the water - but it wil be worth it! No doubt I'll bring back goodies for the SOS readers!

  13. Three of my favourite authors in one place! Anne, Anna and Christine, it's lovely to see you here. Thanks for a wonderful interview, Kim. I already wanted to visit Australia and now those fabulous pics just make me want to go there all the more!

  14. Australia is a place that I would like to visit.


  15. I sure wish a I had me some Tim Tams because I've never met a carb that I didn't like!

    The photo of those colorful birds are beautiful.

    Anna, a few weeks ago I read 'My Reckless Surrender' and really liked it, along with its bright cover. Soon I'll be rereading your book 'Claiming the Courtesan', which I really liked when I first read it a few months after its release.

    I've never read an Anne Gracie or Christine Wells novel yet but will eventually!

  16. Justine, I'm so glad you loved your parcel! Kim, I always giggle when I think of you on the plane chanting "Anna, Anna!" Danielle, thanks for saying you love the books! I'm a huge fan of Anne and Christine's too! Terri, laughed at never meeting a carb you didn't like. Ain't it the truth? Well, it is for MEEEEEE! Thanks for saying you enjoyed both MRS and CTC!

  17. Barbara Cartland looks so lovely!

    (from another Barbara)

  18. Hi Everyone! Loved your interviews! Anne, I absolutely love your Perfect series esp The Perfect Rake.

    I have always wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand. Maybe one day!

  19. Hello everyone. I loved the interview. It made me chuckle. Gotta get my hands on some Tim Tam. Also, love me some Alex, he's so sexy! Anna, I absolutely adore your books. I own all of them. They rock! Can't wait for the next one. Unfortunately for me I have not read the others yet. But I am definetely going to put them on my TBR pile. So jealous that you three get to live in beautiful Australia. I would love to visit.

  20. Whoo Hoo I have to say 3 of my favourite authors as well. I too live in Australia but I live in Sydney and we have the best Harbour with the Opera House and The Sydney Harbour Bridge it really is a beautiful place to visit. And of course you can get Tim Tams when ever and they are my favourite I love having a Tim Tam slam LOL.
    Waving Hi to Kim a great interview

    have Fun

  21. Great blog and very fun interview, ladies! Kim said to leave a comment about Anne, Anna or Christine. Hmm, how tempting that is with Anna and Christine :) Oh drat! The things said in the lair must stay in the lair. You two get off easy tonight.

    How about I just say how much I love all your books :)

    Kim, can't you get Tim Tams in Hawaii? They sell them at my local Giant now. I try not to buy them except for special occasions.

  22. Hey, Danielle, aren't you lovely? Thank you. Definitely give Anne and Christine's books a try - they're two of my faves! Hey, Miss Nicola, you're welcome any time! Helen, should have known you'd be here, seeing we're talking about your favorite snack, LOL! Thanks so much for the compliments! Christie, I think the great thing about the lair is that we ALL have the goss on the rest of us. Good reason for discretion to rule! Thanks so much for swinging by and saying such lovely things. And congratulations on the release of SCANDAL OF THE SEASON!

  23. Some of my favorite authors! Love em all! Visiting Austrailia is on the top of my list of places to travel to. I would buy a case of those TimTams everyone is talking about! LOL! I'm hoping Anna will hold another contest for em! :D I still have my ode to TimTams saved in a file to be used at a later date! It's really a shame though I'm afraid of flying!!! Maybe one of these days I'll make it! Thanks for sharing with us!!!!

  24. Johanna, Christine has been known to hold a Tim Tam contest or two too! Keep an eye on the Romance Bandits - that's usually where the bounty rains down! ;-) Hope you make Oz one day!

  25. great stuff..i prefer tim tams at room temperature too, the slam is awesome aussie creation!

  26. Hi all! Great to see so many friendly faces here. Big hugs to you, Nicola! I was so sorry I missed meeting you at National.

    We would love you all to come and visit us in Australia. Truly, it's worth the long flight!

    We have a TV show here called the Gruen Transfer where they analyze advertising--fascinating to watch--and they were saying that Australian tourism has very high hopes for Oprah's visit Downunder. They said lots of Americans want to come but they're deterred by the long distance. Hey, if Oprah does it, would you do it, too?

    Waving and blowing kisses to all you Tim Tam lovers! Thanks for joining in today!

  27. Sorry everyone for being awol, I had to go out yesterday to a football Grand final BBQ which ended up as a party when our team won! Yayy.
    Kim, Barbara is a gem of a person. And a fabulous writer.

    Justine, you're right, Anna is a very kind and thoughtful person.

    Daniella, aww, how lovely --thank you. My keeper shelves are now so crowded that I fret about how I'm going to carry all the books out if there's a fire. LOL

  28. Kim, the secret to flying is to get a bunch of good books and lose yourself in them. And besides, being in Hawaii, you're already half way here. A lot of Aussies stop off at Hawaii to have a break in the long haul to the US mainland. I did myself the first time I flew to Vancouver. I remember the air in Hawaii smelled of coconut and frangipanni. It was bliss.

  29. Waving madly to Nicola Cornick. Nicola, you should come to Australia! You'd be so welcome and have so many friends here.

    Loretta, it's a big trip, but once you get here, there's so much to do.

    Terri, the colorful birds are rainbow lorikeets -- I think you call them parakeets in the US. They're wild in Australia and right now i can hear them chattering and chirruping in the tree outside my window.

  30. Dame Barbara speaking to the other Barbara ... "So kind, my deahhh"

  31. Aww, Maerad, thanks for your lovely comments. Yes, that Gideon in Perfect rake is a favorite with a lot of people -- me included. We do love a bad boy. ;)

    Maybe Kim needs to take a bunch or people with her to Australia, that way the plane trip would be more like a party than a terror trip. (Stops to imagine a whole planeload of people chanting Anna Anna Anna) LOL

  32. Hi Danielle, I wonder how high your TBR pile is. Mine is huge and toppling. LOL. So many books, so little time.

    Waving madly to Helen, who I met in person in Sydney this year. And she's right -- Sydney is a gorgeous place to visit -- even if i shouldn't admit it, being a Melbourne person. (Melbourne and Sydney are traditional rivals. As a good Melbournian the best I'm supposed to say about Sydney is :"It's OK for a holiday but I wouldn't want to live there." LOL)

  33. Australia is one of those places I want to visit one of these days besides Europe. Did you ever see Quiggly Down Under? It stars Tom Sellek and is set in Australia. It's on my Top 25 movies of all time, and unfortunately, it was little seen. And of course, Baz Luhrman's movie Australia with Cute Jackman, I mean Hugh Jackman, is a beautiful depiction of the country.

    Alex O'Loughlin in definitely a hottie. Did you ever see Moonlight. (sigh) I still curse the writer's strike for causing that series from being cancelled.