Bronwyn Jameson chats with…

Lilian Darcy, Alison Roberts, Meredith Webber and Marion Lennox

Earlier this year, while blogging about multi-author series, I interviewed the clever brains behind the Crocodile Creek series for Harlequin Medical Romance. At that stage the first two Croc Creek series had been and gone. With the third and final series out now in America, Australia and the UK, I decided it was time for another chat with these talented down-under authors.

First, let me introduce the awesome foursome. Between them they have published 270 books (!!!), celebrated 14 RITA finals and 2 wins (!!), 23 RBY finals and 1 win (!), while still finding time to fossick for outback gold, dance in Barcelona, cook for pony-club camps, build sheds, work in (and evacuate!) information centres, raise families (and dogs!), drink wine, and swim with dolphins. Count the exclamation marks – yes, I am in awe! – but I shall attempt to pull myself together and act coolly nonchalant despite being in the company of goddesses.

Let’s start with the backstory… How did the Crocodile Creek series come about?

Alison:  It all started with the first ever writer’s retreat I went on, which was just me and Marion having a few days on South Stradbroke Island before the 2003 Romance Writers of Australia conference. We roped in Meredith once we got to the conference and got Lilian on board via telephone conferencing. We missed all the scheduled conference things and sat round bouncing ideas and making notes and getting exciting!

I think Harlequin was a bit gobsmacked at being given an author-generated idea for a series and it actually took a long time and quite a bit of modification before we got the green light, but then we started work on the first series and it was amazing. As Marion put it at one point, “It’s like having three extra brains”.

Tell us about Crocodile Creek…

Marion:  Croc Creek is its own fabulous world. Our stories revolve around Croc Creek’s Search, Rescue and Medical Base in the far north of Australia, and the C. C. doctor’s residence where young medicos live while they experience the thrills and dramas of emergency medicine in the outback.

Crocodile Creek, the series, in a nutshell is…?

Marion:  …human drama, a fabulous tropical setting, sizzle, heat and loving.

Where is this fabulous, fictional setting?

Lilian:  On the tropical coast of far north Queensland, with the Great Barrier Reef out to sea, and a couple of hours inland, beyond the rainforest and the mountains, vast tracts of beef cattle country.

Was Croc Creek always going to be a twelve-book series?

Lilian:  We did make the initial mistake of trying to put too many eggs in our basket — tons of murder and suspense and international intrigue as well as medicine and romance — way too many bells and whistles. Various editors hosed us down with blasts of cold water and cured us of all that.

Meredith:  Yes, we started with the majestic 12 book series idea, murder and mayhem set on a tourist island. The whole idea was squashed flat by editors, so we shifted the location north and finally won approval to do four books. Then a long wait until the powers-that-be decided that since they hadn’t tanked, we could do four more. So although we had a lot of the same characters between series, it really ended up as three series of four books.

Apart from that first meeting, did you get together to plan the other series or was it all done by email?

Meredith:  We planned all three series face-to-face, taking time out at conferences, but then followed up with lots of email and reading of each other’s stuff.

Alison:  Emails flew back and forth as we discussed characters, backgrounds and plots. It was so much fun, working in little bits and pieces of the other books, like snatches of conversations overheard or even just the expression on someone’s face.

Marion:  It was indeed fun. It felt a bit like a free book cos there were four plotters rather than one. I think the fact that we totally respected each other as writers and we knew each other’s characters would be treated sympathetically was the key.

Meredith:  Yes, it was like a free book because we’d plotted together but weaving the stories together so bits of one fitted seamlessly with bits of another was the best fun. We even wrote little passages for each other’s books so the stories melded.

Tell us about the series out now…

Lilian:  Series three is the tropical island holiday, in which taking time out from normal life not only gives special needs kids and their families a much-needed break, but allows our heroes and heroines to see life and love in a whole new way. In the universe of Crocodile Creek Series Three, life is a beach in the best possible way, but there’s still some trouble in paradise.

The Crocodile Creek books available now and in coming months from eHarlequin, eHarlequin Australia, and Mills & Boon UK, are:


A final word on writing with friends…

Alison:  This was a collaboration in more than just a professional sense and we tried to write the best books we could because we wanted them to be as good as we knew the others would be. The “x” factor that came from our friendship gave these books an edge that made them special.

If you’d like a taste of that “x” factor, join us this week in discussing the allure of medical fiction. (This week’s giveaway* is a two-book pack of medical romances set down-under.) Do you have a favourite medical/emergency character from book, TV or movie? Do you read medical romance? Do you have a question for Lilian, Alison, Meredith or Marion about Crocodile Creek or any of their 270 (!!!) books?

*Prize drawn from the comments on Oct 18, one entry per IP address.

36 Responses to “Bronwyn Jameson chats with…”

  1. 1 limecello
    October 12, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Great post! I loved the answers/ different viewpoint from everyone 🙂
    I don’t really read many medical romances… can’t think of movie characters (don’t watch any) – but I was a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy the first few seasons. Pretty much stopped watching it last year… though I felt all the characters had their good points.

  2. 2 Avi J
    October 12, 2008 at 7:11 am

    I only started to read medical romances, recently. My favourite authors so far are Sarah Morgan, she also writes for presents, Kate Hardy and Meredith Webber. I loved Meredith’s book Sheikh Surgeon.

  3. 3 LJ
    October 12, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Off an on l would pick up a medical romance if a story catches my eye. One question l have is researching facts for medical romances harder than writing a romance for another line ?
    Lilian l loved your books from Silhouette Special Edition, will check out your medical romance.
    Marion your harlequin romance books are fantastic.

  4. 4 Mia
    October 12, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Gray’s Anatomy got me intrested in Medical romances.

  5. 5 Aviella
    October 12, 2008 at 7:50 am

    I love reading medical romances. I actually bought a medical dictionary to keep up with the terms used.

  6. 6 Dina
    October 12, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Medical romances are such engaging reads, full of excitement and tension. l just cant get enough of them.

  7. 7 Lizzy
    October 12, 2008 at 7:59 am

    I love reading medical romances that has a royal setting. l love how the book plays out with a royal doctor involved.

  8. 8 Mau J
    October 12, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Meredith Webber is my favourite medical author. l love how captivating the stories are.

  9. 9 Aideen
    October 12, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Fiona Lowe and kate hardy are my favourite l have not read the authors mentioned here, but l pick up some of their work, next time in the book store.

  10. 10 Beth
    October 12, 2008 at 8:20 am

    To tell the truth l have not read a medical romance. What do you suggest l pick up to start ?

  11. 11 azteclady
    October 12, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Welcome, ladies!

    Mmmm… Favorite tv doctor would by Dr Mark Green from ER.

    I confess that it’s been a while since I’ve read a medical romance. Methinks I’m due, hm? 😉

  12. 12 Genny
    October 12, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    l love that show Grey’s Anatomy. l read medical romances all the time.

  13. 13 Gina
    October 12, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    My favourite medical romance author is Sarah Morgan, and Marion Lennox.

  14. 14 Lisa lee
    October 12, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    I only read a medical romance once, but l want to ask something, do you have in background in medicine as you all write these kinds of book ? or do you just do extensive research?.

  15. 15 Victoria
    October 12, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Wow all my favourite medical authors here. l have stacks of them sometimes buying all the books the line offers that month. Amy Andrews, Kate Hardy, Fiona Lowe, and Carol Marinelli are some of my other favourites.

  16. October 12, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    What a great interview!! One of my favorite M&Bs is a medical, back before they had a separate line for medicals. I think part of the appeal is that you can have really strong characters, but because they’re healers, they’ve got a much more human side too.

  17. 17 Noreen Allan
    October 12, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    I like all the authors on the panel and have a number of their books. The croc books sound great as I live in the north and worked as a remote area nurse for many years. My favourite show is medical emergency and one of the first ones was about the area where I had been working with the RFDS. Fiona McArthur, Fiona Lowe and Melenie Millbourne are also favourite medical authors.

  18. 18 Melissa James
    October 12, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    I’ve read a fair few of these books and just love them. They’re action, romance and just a rollicking good read! It was fun to find out the facts behind the series – and I for one thank you for broaching the editors with it, because the Croc Creek success no doubt played a part in the HR “Wedding Planners” series, also author-generated, being accepted. Thanks!


  19. 19 Eric
    October 12, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Goodness me. It’s not often that a simple country boy finds the opportunity to say Hi to so many of his hero(ine)’s at once. —– Hi (Alison, Lilian, Marion, Meredith and Bronwyn) —- thank you for hours of reading pleasure. —— Eric

  20. October 12, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Lisa, we mostly don’t have medical backgrounds, though when Alison was researching she fell in love with the ambulance service and proceeded to become a full fledged paramedic! So now she answers our questions.

    I’ve found there’s always someone you can ask – people are enormously helpful. You just have to look sympathetically at someone in plaster and you’ll mostly get more medical info than you can use. Tell us your symptoms and your interesting rash is likely to fly right onto our pages 🙂

  21. October 13, 2008 at 5:27 am

    what totally gorgeous covers this series of CC books have! I’ve enjoyed them all

  22. 22 Jane
    October 13, 2008 at 6:11 am

    I’ve never read a medical romance, but that will soon change. I did enjoy watching ER and seeing which characters were hooking up. My favorite couple was Dr. Ross and Carol.

  23. 23 Clare
    October 13, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Me? I’m a medical jukie. Must be the ex-nurse in me. Love ’em, can’t get enough of ’em, and think all the authors mentioned here are the best – of course 🙂 (Especially being set Downunder)

    Just a query for Meredith re an old book of yours – Doctors in Flight (part of Doctors in the Outback series in 2004) was written in 1st person. I really enjoyed it, but it was so different not being in 3rd person. Can you tell the story behind this?(like why why not?, convincing the powers-that-be, reactions, doing more in 1st person etc).

    Keep on writing those excellent stories, girls. You’re doing great!

  24. October 13, 2008 at 8:35 am

    There’s nothing like a good Medical! I’ll enjoy reading this series all the more knowing the bound of friendship that binds the stories together. Yes, totally gorgeous covers, too!


  25. October 13, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Hey everyone. Thanks for stopping by to chat about medical romance, which has so much going for it because of the high stakes drama (life and death, how much higher can the stakes be?) and the inherent conflict associated with workplace romances and patient/professional relationships. Nalini, agree 100% with your comment about healers, not to mention the brilliance and dedication and a dark sense of humour.

    Noreen, your work sounds like it could have featured in books by these authors. 😉

    Clare, Meredith’s Doctors in Flight is one of my all-time favourites. It has a place on my keepers’ shelf.

    Azteclady, I was a big ER fan in the early years. Dr Mark is an interesting choice. A complex character, fabulous portrayal, the thinking woman’s favourite???

    Also watched a couple of seasons of Gray’s Anatomy until Meredith drove me slightly nutso. 🙂

    Have a season of House on DVD waiting for my time. I’m told I will enjoy it by those who know. We shall see.


  26. October 14, 2008 at 5:26 am

    I love to read medical romance, but I especially love to read medical romance written by these wonderful authors. There’s always something that wraps itself around my heart strings when I read a medical, and which gives a solid ‘yank’, that I absolutely love. While I haven’t read the Croc Creek books yet the setting sounds fabulous, and knowing how hard you all have worked on making the series come to life–and continue over 12 books! (sorry, Bron, borrowing an exclamation mark from you)–well, I’m in awe.

    TV medical shows, hmm, loved ER until key characters left or went to Africa indefinitely or were killed (like in Third Watch when they killed one of the paramedics! Argh! He was such a neat character! Totally buoycotted most of the next series because I was so angry they killed him off.) Watched a little of Grey’s, wept buckets when Denny died, couldn’t watch it after that. Nup. Not regularly anyway.

    Currently watch Private Practice and yes, the bladder is still located too close to the eyeballs. Every episode draws a tear or two.

    And that’s the whole thing about medical drama, for me, I think. It’s the total emotional investment in wanting everything and everyone to be okay and when they are, or they aren’t, it speaks to me on such a deep level. When I was a kid, I always wanted a career as a doctor. Thank goodness I didn’t pursue that road. Fancy being called Doctor Crybaby all your working life :-D!

  27. 27 Meredith Webber
    October 14, 2008 at 6:16 am

    Hi Clare

    I LOVED writing Doctors in Flight, but yes I did have a battle to do it in first person and I did get feedback from a reader saying I hate first person books – unfortunately it was feedback that went through he editorial office so I don’t think they’d encourage anyone to do it again – although it was only one person whinging and so many people enjoyed it. I think it was at the time when chick lit was popular and it made the heroine more real – more Bridget Jones – if you know what I mean. The book I’m writing now is not dissimilar as it has an outback setting – opal mines – and a heroine who knows the country with a hero who is totally lost out of the city. She buys him new country clothes – jeans and moleskins and blue chambray shorts, then horrifies him when she puts them on a dusty road and runs over them in the car before washing them so he won’t look like a new boy in the bush. She’d be great in first person, but then so would he but I doubt they’d let me do a hero first person. Not yet.

    And thanks to so many of you who have said they enjoyed my books – it’s you I write for so bless you all.


  28. October 14, 2008 at 8:15 am

    I think my internet is working again, after driving me nuts the past couple of days, so I’m a bit late visiting here. Re “Grey’s Anatomy” I deliberately didn’t watch that series because when it started I was putting together a proposal for a trilogy set in the world of a big city American hospital… and then I couldn’t sell it because editors thought it was “too similar” to “Grey’s Anatomy”!!! Hey, what can you do…

    Thanks, Bron, for letting us talk about Crocodile Creek – always a pleasure. It’s great to hear from so many people who love Medical romances, as well as people who haven’t tried them yet but who enjoy Marion’s Harlequin Romances and my Special Editions. The thing about Medicals is the emotion and the characters, so if you like emotion in our other books, you’ll like it in Medicals, and especially in Crocodile Creek. We all reduced each other to tears, reading each other’s manuscripts, and I suspect a couple of us were sobbing at the keyboard while writing (not mentioning any names, there.)


  29. October 14, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Hey gals and welcome to our blog!

    I must admit I haven’t read a Medical in a looong time 🙂 And then, only by my Aussie writer friends 😀 I simply adore House, I loved ER until yep, they left, died or got really, really silly (although Dr Luca still sizzles my screen…) Love Grey’s but I want to slap Meredith – Christina is such a more interesting character. Watch Private Practice but only to get a glimpse of secretary Del (actor Chris Lowell) whom I got a serious drool problem for in season 3 of Veronica Mars… Third Watch rocked but really went south after about the 3rd season.

  30. 30 Teresa W.
    October 15, 2008 at 4:37 am

    I’ve read only a few medical romances and enjoyed them. My favorite TV show is ER, can’t believe this is it’s final year!

  31. 31 Crystal B.
    October 15, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    I enjoy reading medical romance. My favorite medical drama is House, MD.

  32. 32 Nathalie
    October 18, 2008 at 11:02 am

    I am not much a fan of H.Medicals. I only read books that catch my eye and have to say I have liked the ones written by Kate Hardy.

    For TV, I watch Grey’s Anatomy, and enjoy it usually.

  33. October 18, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    This week’s prize winner is Jane of comment #22. Thank you for checking in with us this week. Email me with your address and I will get your prize in the mail.

    Thanks, everyone, for visiting.


  34. 34 azteclady
    October 19, 2008 at 3:14 am

    Congrats, Jane! Thank you all, ladies, for a fun conversation.

  35. 35 Avi J
    October 19, 2008 at 4:33 am

    congrats Jane.

  36. 36 Jane
    October 19, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Thank you, ladies.

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