Thursday, March 8, 2018

Interview with Annabelle McInnes, author of The Refuge Trilogy

Now available from Escape Publishing (Imprint of Harlequin Australia) is the LGBTI speculative romance series "The Refuge Trilogy" by Annabelle McInnes.

The author has taken a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her book series.

When did you become interested in storytelling?

I’ve always been interested in writing stories. It is an innate drive for me. But, it wasn’t until the birth of my son did I release that I wanted to become a published author. I started the first draft of True Refuge, the first book in the Refuge Trilogy when my son was eight months old and having looked back.

What was your first book/story published?

Without Refuge, the prequel to the Refuge Trilogy was the first story I had published. The story was awarded a place in the Romance Writers of Australia’s Spicy Bites Competition. As a result, it was published in their yearly anthology. True Refuge, the first book in the Refuge Trilogy was the first full length novel I had published. It was released in September 2017 with Escape Publishing, the Digital First Imprint for Harlequin Australia.

What inspired you to write True Refuge?

The initial premise for the Refuge Trilogy was a simple notion; what does a good man do when all that’s left is decayed, destroyed or dead? That question drove the narrative and the characters through a post-apocalyptic landscape after a plague wiped out humanity. I have always loved science fiction and fantasy novels growing up, but I found the romance in those stories often lacking authenticity. It was later in life I discovered romance novels and I was drawn to writing speculative fiction concepts that aligned with romance tropes. I wanted to take my premise and ask how do those good men find love when compassion and empathy have been eradicated.

What character in The Refuge Trilogy is the most/least like you, and in what ways?

Each of my characters represents a part of me. I would like to think that if the world were to be thrown into chaos tomorrow, that people like my characters would prevail. They represent humanity at its best. However, my characters are flawed like I am. They struggle, the second guess themselves, they bleed and they cry. But they love fiercely and passionately. They love with their whole hearts. They are brave, devoted and generous. I’d like to think that those notions came from small parts of me.

What is your favorite part in The Refuge Trilogy?

Great question! There is a scene in the first book, just after my two main male characters escape a violent situation. They soon realise that the treasure they had found is unable stay in this world any longer. It was the first time that a truly brilliant scene came to me without plotting it first. It flowed out of my fingertips whole and required very little editing. As a writer, we long for these moments of clarity, where we can fall into the zone and the words flow. It was then I knew that I could be a writer, that those moments would feed my soul.

What was the hardest part to write?

I struggle with my characters having their own minds and taking me on a journey I didn’t plot out. There are times when I know where I need to go, then the story will take its own turn and I’ll have to change my direction to keep up. I often want my characters to spill their secrets, announce their love, or turn around and go home. But they have minds of their own, and want to say and do things their way, in their own time. When I push them in a direction to drive the plot along, I struggle with it, my creative drive screams to a halt, and I have to reassess in order to move forward.

What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

I have a supportive nature, and I want to help my family in whatever way I can. As long as my family is happy, healthy and fed (and I have time to write) then I’ll work hard to achieve those things.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

I shouldn’t, because I have a soft soul, but I do. Reviews can be brutal, and if I read them in the wrong frame of mind they can be debilitating to my creative heart. However, I have a number of reviewers that have reviewed all my books, and I take their constructive feedback seriously. They often give me insights that I might have missed, or critique my style in a positive light so I can improve. But most often than not, I try not to let them get to me.

What well-known writers do you admire most?

I love to support Australian authors, especially Australian women authors. Natasha Lester, Kylie Scott, and Fiona McIntosh just to name a few.

Do you have any other books/stories in the works?

I’m currently working on another speculative fiction romance series. This will be a series based around the women who rule a marauding matriarchal society. I have drawn influences from the strength of the Amazon warriors of Themyscira (Wonder Woman), the characteristics of Lagertha (Vikings) and the barren and violent world of Mad Max, Fury Road. 

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About the Author

From the age of sixteen, Annabelle lived in a youth refuge while she remained committed to her education. She spent two years within a section of humanity that society overlooks.

Her experiences are the foundations that drive her stories and her characters. They fight for their freedoms, have courage in the face of adversity and will ultimately, always aspire for greatness.

Annabelle is privileged to spend her time writing with a backdrop of Canberra’s iconic landmarks and admiring its distinct and captivating change of seasons. Outside of her love for reading, she spends every free moment with her husband, son and her poodle named Serendipity. She drinks her whisky neat and is known to scour the local markets in an attempt to find the best blue cheese available.

Follow Annabelle on Instagram @annabellemcinnes, Facebook @authorannabellemcinnes and twitter @akmcinnes. Sign up to her newsletter at and be a part of the journey.


  1. I hope your having a great day and I can't wait to read your book.

  2. Thanks so much for having me on your blog!


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