Brisbane author Tracy Madden talks us through her new novel ‘Love is the Answer’ and gives us tips gleaned from 36 years of marriage on keeping the love alive…

What’s the new book about?

It’s never too late to rewrite your story. My main character Peach Avenel is a thirty-something, fit businesswoman who appears to have it all, including a business with her husband. When she decides that motherhood is eluding her, and she wants to take some pressure off, she steps back from the business and replaces herself in the business with a childhood friend… who soon betrays her.

When a woman is left with no choice but to walk away from her husband and her home and her business all in one hit – who the heck is she? And was she living the life she dreamt of?

Your first book had a strong focus on food – do we see that same passion extend into your new novel?

I felt I couldn’t keep writing about the same things even though I would’ve absolutely adored to just continue on with that, so I decided to go down the path of a kitchen garden, something you might not have in Brisbane (if we do I’m not aware of them) but in France, in the country. So I decided to go that way – going back to nature, growing the food, using the produce and having the chooks for eggs.

What inspired you to write about love?

I can’t help but be a romantic in every aspect of life. However, when someone says it’s a romance novel, I almost feel like, no, it’s not! It’s so much more. I think it’s modern drama, I’m hoping inspirational, and also, yes, it is a romance; it’s all of those three altogether.

What was the writing process like?

The writing process has been an absolute blast! I create another family – it’s not like I don’t have a beautiful family, but my first novel was written when both of my children were getting married and I knew in my own family I was going to go from Chairman of the Board to janitor very quickly with what I had to say about everything going on. So the writing was a really beautiful process and it allowed me to cover topics that were emotional for me at the time – there were days I cried when I was writing and there were days I killed myself laughing. There’s certainly that element there of working through something.

Working with people as a decorator, you’re going to their homes and you’re giving them the best for them, so it was very nice to sit in my office, on my own, surrounded by all the things I love, and writing whatever I wanted to write.

What took you from interior decorating to writing?

I’m still interior decorating, and what I’ve done previously has really helped because I can set a scene really well! I can see it.

And I know, just as with my clients – I want to give them the best for them – and of course, every character I want to give them the best background for them, however I should packet that.

What are your tips for keeping the love alive in relationships?

I have always found that when I am fulfilled with myself as a person, I am a better partner, and the same is true for my husband. It’s important that couples find individual passions as well as bonding through shared time. Much like a business, a successful relationship requires work, and from time to time one of you will need to step up and be the keeper of the relationship. This can be as simple as putting your ego aside and being the first one to say sorry.

For me, there’s nothing more rewarding than nurturing, cooking for and feeding those I love. Taking the time to plan and prepare a meal is a beautiful reminder of how wonderful it is to share time with your partner.

And two televisions has been, and will always be, a good idea!

Love is the Answer was published by Pan MacMillian and is available now in all good bookshops. Madden’s debut novel The Essential Ingredient – Love was published by Pan MacMillan in 2010.