Down Under: Alissa Callen


Book cover RHBeneath Outback Skies by Alissa Callen

A captivating rural romance featuring an indomitable young woman determined to save her family farm, and the city-boy who is not all he seems…Paige Quinn will let nothing and no one distract her from caring for her wheelchair-bound father, Connor, and fighting for her remote, drought-stricken property, Banora Downs. Least of all a surprise farm-stay guest named Tait Cavanaugh, whose smooth words are as lethal as his movie-star smile. Except Paige can’t help noticing that, for a city-boy, Tait seems unexpectedly at home on the land. And he does ask a lot of questions.It doesn’t matter how much he helps out or how much laughter he brings into her life, she soon suspects he is harbouring a big secret – the real reason he has come to Banora Downs.”



Beneath Outback Skies was a wonderful rural Australian novel. Alissa Callen has a way of describing things that you can almost feel the red Outback dust on your face and smell the diesel fumes of her Ute.

Reading the from grey skies of a spring that is yet to sprung; Beneath Outback skies transported me to a drought ridden Banora Downs with no rain in site. Alissa Callen give real gravitas to the drought that plagues most of the Outback. It is the realism that strikes me because most of us never have to worry about where to get the next drink to survive from.

Paige and Tait’s relationship slowly builds over the course of the book and in true country style, love set its own pace. Of course the path of true love is never easy. Tait has a hidden secret that when found out could ruin everything. Paige’s life is just as complex. Her father is stuck in a wheel chair from a farming accident and is of limited help to her.

Paige is such a strong female character, who knows exactly what she wants and refuses to settle for anything less. Since her father’s accident she has almost single-handly taken over running her families farm and I think that made her a bit isolated.

I loved this book. I loved Paige and Tait, and I loved peaking behind the curtain of Outback life. I found Beneath Outback skies tender and touching romance. I fell in love with Banora Downs, Glenalla and all its inhabitants.

lineAlso by Alissa Callen and featuring “Glenalla”:

alissa3Down Outback Roads by Alissa Callen

An enthralling rural love story. Sometimes you need to give yourself permission to fall in love.Kree Garrett’s younger brother Seth is all the family she has left, so when he goes missing in the Australian outback, she doesn’t think twice about leaving her American home to find him. When Seth is rescued Kree vows to find a way to thank the small town of Glenalla. It isn’t long before she falls in love with the tight-knit rural community. But is it really the town she’s falling for?Ewan Mackenzie has given up everything for his brother’s family, but he can never give enough to assuage his guilt at what happened one dark night, years ago . . . Ewan knows he doesn’t deserve a second chance at happiness, but when beautiful, open-hearted Kree stays to fight to save his home town, he finds it hard to keep his distance. Can Kree and Ewan leave their pasts behind for long enough to find a future together?”

There is no place like Glenalla….

Thrown right into the middle of the action, this book hooks you in from the first line. Kree travels to Australia to find her brother who went missing while backpacking. She soon finds her brother and the beauty that is the Outback of NSW. While stepping into her brother shoes while he recuperated to full fill his commitments to a local family; she experience Glenalla first hand. Kree going to Glenalla was no mistake- it was her destiny.

She hatches a plan to save the very town that came to her aid when her brother was in life threatening peril, and along the way discovers her own family’s secrets.

Ewan and Kree’s attraction brews slowly like an electrical storm, building in intensity; but he quickly puts on the breaks as he feels he is unworthy of her.

Ewan is a flawed character who blames himself for his family’s misfortune. He resigns himself to live the bachelor life as a penalty- that is until he meets Kree. They have issues getting off the ground but there was no denying they were in love.

Glenalla was first featured in “Beneath Outback Skies”. Although, I suggest you read that book first, it isn’t necessary- “Down Outback Roads” is a stand alone novel.

Glenalla is such a wonderful setting, full of down home charm and community spirit. Come and fall in love with Alissa Callen’s Glenalla for yourself.


I loved Alissa Callen’s books so much that I had to find her to do an interview. I was very lucky that Alissa Callen found time in her busy schedule to answer all my Glenalla questions:

Alissa Callen xEPBR: What was your inspiration for Glenalla?

AC: The small town of Glenalla, and the surrounding red earth countryside, is very much based on my local area. I live in rural Australia and even a trip to my grocery store provides inspiration. It isn’t unusual to see a horse truck parked in the car park or hear talk about how much rain people have, or haven’t, had. Australia is a land of great natural beauty but also a continent of extremes. Living where I do, I’ve experienced floods, drought and fires plus also the resilience, cohesiveness and compassion of outback communities. All of these things then seep into my writing. I hope readers enjoy visiting Glenalla as much as I enjoyed bringing this fictional town to life.

EPBR: You were a 2013 ARRA Finalist- what did that honour mean to you?

AC: It was a thrill to final once, let alone four times, but at the end of the day a reader leaving me a face book message about how much they loved my book makes me feel just as honoured and as thankful.

EPBR:What are you working on now?

AC: In between playing taxi to my kids, I’m working on two things. I’m planning another full length novel set around Glenalla plus a series of small town novellas set in the rugged snow-dusted mountains of Montana. The hemispheres may be different, but the challenges rural and remote towns face are very similar as too are the qualities that make close-knit communities such a special place to live.

When Alissa Callen isn’t writing she plays traffic controller to four children, three dogs, two horses and one renegade cow who really does believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. After a childhood spent chasing sheep on the family farm, Alissa has always been drawn to remote areas and small towns, even when residing in the US and UK. Once a teacher and a counsellor, she remains interested in the life journeys that people take and her books are characteristically heart-warming, emotional and character driven. She currently lives on a small slice of rural Australia in central western New South Wales, Australia. You can visit her blog for more news and updates on your favourite town and characters.





Resources Down Under:

On Steam Puddings : “Rachael Johns Drops By And Talks Writer’s Block (And There’s A Competition Too!)”

Over at The Naughty Ninja’s blog : The Rhyll ‘the Lady’ Biest and Cate ‘Man-eater’ Ellink get married”

Here are a few Aussie to Pom translations:

Pom: Stands for Prisoner of the motherland or person from the UK

Akubra: A felt hat often worn in the Outback

Esky: An Eskimo cooler container

Smoko: Teabreak, or smoking break but since smoking is now passe- any kind of break will do.


Who remembers Rebecca Gibney from The Flying Doctors? For some years she has been staring in a family drama called “Packed to the Rafters”. It is avaible on DVD in the UK if you can find it, but has never been televised in the UK. If you can get a hold of it, I thought it was a very entertaining series:




Flight to Coorah Creek by Janet Gover

What happens when you can fly, but you just can’t hide?
Only Jessica Pearson knows the truth when the press portray her as the woman who betrayed her lover to escape prosecution. But will her new job flying an outback air ambulance help her sleep at night or atone for a lost life?
Doctor Adam Gilmore touches the lives of his patients, but his own scars mean he can never let a woman touch his heart.
Runaway Ellen Parkes wants to build a safe future for her two children. Without a man – not even one as gentle as Jack North.
In Coorah Creek, a town on the edge of nowhere, you’re judged by what you do, not what people say about you. But when the harshest judge is the one you see in the mirror, there’s nowhere left to hide.”



The first thing I said when I finished Chapter One was Wow!. From the first line you were transported right into the middle of the action. Within a few pages, you felt like you knew these characters and were revisiting old friends.

Queensland is described in such vivid details that you can almost feel the heat of the sun and the outback dust in your throat. The Outback is like a character in its own right because it is depicted with it is own personality and vibrancy.

I felt immersed into Coorah Creek’s world. It is a world where life has a slower pace, neighbours care about each other and good old fashion country charm – that never goes out of style.

The main characters are all impossible to believe they are fictional. I identified and bonded with Jess immediately, because we all know what it is like to be in love and blind. Dr. Adam, all I’m going to say is I wish he was my doctor. Watching Jack and Ellen’s romance unfold was breath-taking. I don’t believe in spoilers, but there were a few times I cried.

Janet Gover’s writing is phenomenal, she can make something as complicated as flying a plane easy to understand and visualize.I didn’t even feel like I was reading a book because a film played in my head. It was a perfect book from the start to the last line “…broken only by the distant laugh of the kookaburra.”

I fell in love with Coorah Creek and it’s in habitants and so will you. This book has the Wow factor.







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