All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Time Will Tell – Fiona McCallum With Author Q&A

on April 1, 2014

Time Will TellTime Will Tell (The Button Jar #2)
Fiona McCallum
Harlequin MIRA
2014, 395p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Emily Oliphant has made big changes in her life. She’s left her abusive husband after several years of an unhappy marriage and is forging a new life for herself in a gorgeous old property that she’s renting from two elderly brothers. Recently the brothers made Emily an offer – she could purchase her beloved house from them for an excellent price. There were a few conditions and Emily was taking the time to think it over. It’s a wonderful offer and she knows it – she just wants to make sure that she is financially able to make her obligations in the future, especially as the house does need some things done to it.

Emily is also making other changes, cultivating friendship with Barbara and distancing herself from her judgmental mother and those who don’t understand her decision to leave her husband. She’s undertaking a fledgling new business that she has high hopes for and is accepting the help and friendship of Jake, a man from Melbourne who she’d like to be closer to. Emily’s life is changing in so many ways but to her disappointment, it’s not done changing yet.

Several incidents beyond her control leave Emily’s future up in the air. All of a sudden the beautiful house she longed to make her home in, might be snatched away out of her hands. And she’s also dealing with an unexpected death as well as a potentially ugly fall out from that. What Emily doesn’t know is that the answer to all of her dreams lies within her grasp…but she has to choose to use it.

Time Will Tell is the second novel in Australian author Fiona McCallum’s first series, following on from Saving Grace. In this novel in the beginning, Emily is much more settled, having found herself a new place to live with her dog Grace. She has the friendship of Barbara and Barbara’s husband and she has plans. She knows that some of them might be dreams, but there are some that are also very achievable if she works hard and Emily is very ready for the next phase of her life.

In Saving Grace Emily has a bit of a negative attitude, probably from her upbringing and her abusive marriage but it was nice to see in this novel, she has begun moving forward with more positivity. She has had a lot to overcome in her personal life and Time Will Tell begins to signify a real fresh start for her and gives her time and space to think about how she wants to move forward. However just as she is about to make some firm decisions, she is rocked by the news of two unexpected deaths, one of which has some interesting consequences for her and the other of which has a more devastating impact on her newly chosen life.

I’d have liked to see Emily get herself some legal advice in this book as she proved in Saving Grace that ignoring a request to get legal advice doesn’t end well and she ended up allowing herself to be royally screwed over. However she doesn’t and luckily in this book she benefits from something which helps soothe the sting of having something else taken away from her but it also suggests that Emily still has quite a way to go on her journey of independence and making strong and wise, informed decisions. I can’t fault her for getting out there and having a go, at various different things and making the most of the skills she has but sometimes she needs to be a bit smarter and a bit more ruthless. She needs to look after herself first, put herself first and not just go along with what people are telling her. The time for that was done when she left her husband and now she needs to protect herself first and foremost. However I do think that this novel does represent a good deal of personal growth for Emily, in several different ways. She has the possibility here to grow the seeds of a new romance, something that she has come to feel that she is ready for and the man she has chosen seems to complement her well and they are supportive of each other.

Emily still has a way to go on her journey and her decision about what to do with the legacy that has been left to her by her grandmother. I’m curious to see where she goes with the way her journey has changed in this book and I think there’s a lot left for her to do and experience. She has grown in confidence and accepted change with more grace and adapted more readily to new circumstances. However I’m very interested to see what happens with her legacy and how she continues to grow in strength and determination in her new life.


Book #61 of 2014


Time Will Tell is book #24 read and reviewed for AWW2014

Fiona McCallum

[photo credit]

Thanks to the fab folks at Morey Media I got to ask Fiona McCallum a few questions about life and writing.

Q1. Hi Fiona and welcome to my blog. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. To begin – how long have you been writing and what was the road to publication like for you?

Hi there! You’re welcome, thanks for having me on your blog!

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. When I was younger I wrote a lot of poetry and short stories. In my mid-twenties I started studying a Certificate of Freelance Writing through TAFE by correspondence while working an office job, and got a few of my assignments paid for and published in a South Australian newspaper. This set me on the path to wanting to become a freelance journalist. After my marriage ended and I left the farm, I ended up in Melbourne and decided to put myself through uni. I got into Deakin University’s Bachelor of Arts (professional writing). In second year the lecturer for non-fiction seemed to take a dislike to me. I changed to fiction because the lady who took it was warm and friendly. It’s amazing how things happen to totally change the course of your life!

The road to publication was long and hard – spanning nearly ten years, four manuscripts, and many rejections.

Q2. Share a little about your writing routine: do you write full time or balance it with another job? Do you have a favourite place to write (ie study or café) and is there anything, such as coffee or music, which you consider necessary to the creative process?

I am now a full-time novelist, and am truly grateful to be able to live my dream. I have a very strict morning writing routine. My writing days start at eight a.m., and I write propped up in bed, by hand in an unlined notebook using a mechanical pencil. I check which scene I am to write next (which I write down at the end of each writing session), drink one cup of tea and read whatever novel I’m currently reading whilst letting the subconscious ponder the scene I am about to write.

After my second cup of tea and a bit more reading, I find the opening sentence and begin writing. It depends how long the scene is or how long the words keep coming. I usually write until 11.30 or noon. Sometimes, if I’ve run out of words or the scene is done, I’ll fill the time in with some more reading. I love reading and it’s an important and enjoyable part of my routine. After a lunch break, I go into my office to type up my morning’s work and deal with emails and all the other things that running a business entails.

Q3. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Definitely a plotter. I won’t start writing a manuscript until I’m very clear on the beginning, middle, and end. Though, having said that, I’m not so rigid that I don’t let the characters and/or story evolve along the way – some of the best ideas come when, and from where, you least expect them.

Q4. What made you decide to try your hand at writing a trilogy after writing several very successful stand-alone novels?

I didn’t actually set out to write a series. The manuscript I was writing got too long and there was a logical split. And then I realised that there was a third part to the story, so carried on. I haven’t completely ruled out there being a fourth book…

Q5. The rural romance genre has exploded in popularity in recent times. Is there anything in particular that you attribute this to? And do you consider your books to be romance books with a rural setting? Or rural novels with a little bit of romance?

I don’t have a simple answer to the question of why the rural fiction genre has exploded in popularity recently. Most things go in cycles over time. I’m content to not give it too much thought. I think readers will always enjoy a good story with believable characters they can relate to, regardless of setting. Having spent the first twenty-six years of my life on farms in rural South Australia, I’m just writing about what I know and love. The saying, ‘you can take the girl out of the country but not the country out of the girl,’ is certainly true for me!

No, I do not consider my books to be romances – any romance is secondary to my main storyline. To date, I have written what I call heart-warming journey of self-discovery stories with a rural setting.

Q6. If you found the buttons….what would you do? 🙂

Keep them hidden! I’m very sentimental.

Q7. What do you like to do to relax away from the keyboard?

I enjoy reading, walking, visiting art galleries and antique shops, pottering in the garden… Oh, and watching TV – I’m in a love triangle with my TV and PVR!

Q8. Share a few of your favourite authors and/or novelists

Maeve Binchy, Robert Connolly, Barbara Delinsky, Jane Green, Erica James, Debbie Macomber, Monica McInerney…

Q9. And lastly…what’s next for you?

The finishing touches are being put on book 3 of The Button Jar series, Meant To Be. Then it’s back to writing. I’ve always got a story on the go and plenty of ideas fighting for attention. My head is a very busy place! At this stage, I’m not sure which of two manuscripts I’ve written will be published next after Meant To Be.


Thanks for your time Fiona! Best of luck with all the stories fighting for space in your head.

Thanks to Harlequin AUS & Morey Media I also have 1 copy of Time Will Tell to give away to a lucky AU resident. Simply fill in the form below. Entries close 8th April



One response to “Review: Time Will Tell – Fiona McCallum With Author Q&A

  1. […] “Emily still has a way to go on her journey and her decision about what to do with the legacy that has been left to her by her grandmother. … She has grown in confidence and accepted change with more grace and adapted more readily to new circumstances. However I’m very interested to see what happens with her legacy and how she continues to grow in strength and determination in her new life.” All the Books I Can Read […]

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