~ About Serena Clarke ~
Serena grew up in a family of itchy-footed readers and dreamers – not concentrating, reading the atlas and Narnia books, and planning to escape somewhere magical as soon as she could. When she was 16, she went from New Zealand to live in Sweden for a year. It was the beginning of many travels and adventures – and quite a few disasters! She didn’t know it at the time, but eventually she’d be grateful for all the downs as well as the ups. As writers say in the face of adversity: “I can use that.” She’s now living back in New Zealand, where she writes stories reflecting her determined belief in magic, possibility and second chances – and happy endings!

Thanks for having me for a chat today, M.J.!
The pleasure is all mine! Let's get started.

Where do you live? Where would you love to live?

I’m lucky to live in New Zealand, in a leafy seaside suburb. This is the beach a few minutes from my house. (That’s a dormant volcano – and we’re hoping it stays that way!) I’ve lived in other places in the world, but this is one of the loveliest places I know. If I could choose anywhere else to live now, it would have to be Paris! *le sigh*

Do you have a job outside of writing? What is it and how does it mesh with your writing?
I do freelance writing, editing and proofreading, which works in well with writing fiction. Sometimes all my contract deadlines come at once, which isn’t so good – but that’s what the midnight oil’s for…

Name your favorite children's story.
I’m especially fond of Richard Scarry books. Really, how cool would it be to drive a pickle car?! My children’s favourite is Busy Busy World, with funny little stories set in all kinds of places. It inspired them to go on and learn all the flags of the world – more proof of how wonderful books are for kids!

Who was your hero when you were a child, and what did you do to be like them?
I was in awe of my big brother. He’s nine years older than me, so he was off doing cool stuff before I’d even finished primary school, and he went on to a very successful international career in journalism. I’ve done lots of wordy jobs too, but I never stuck at anything long enough to hit the heights he has. I still think he’s marvellous!

What was your nickname growing up or now?
When I first left NZ, I lived in Sweden with a tall, blonde family – and I’m short and brunette. They nicknamed me ‘Lillen’, which means ‘little one’. Apt!

What one thing (modern convenience) could you not live without?
Up until about a week ago, I would have said hair straighteners. But then I splashed out on a salon hair-smoothing treatment – talk about life-changing! So now I’ll say the internet. How very, very different life would be without it!

Well, that wraps up our interview. It was a lot of fun! 

Thanks MJ (and the internet!) for giving me the opportunity to visit – I had a great time!

You can find Serena here – she’d love to hear from you!

About Serena’s book All Over the Place – contemporary romantic fiction with a chick lit feel

Livi Callaway has fled back to London after a reality TV disaster in New Zealand. Safely anonymous in the big city, she’s determined to stay under the radar from now on. But her attempts to build a new life are complicated by unexpected visitors from her old one, and new dangers and temptations lie in wait.

Late one night, she meets a mysteriously sexy American on the Underground – and the events that follow take her from Pooh Bear to the golden lights of Paris, via a trail of rock stars dead and alive. A family in disarray, a determined Swede, a crazed Australian and a childhood friend (who might yet be more than that) have her all over the place as she tries to discover the American’s secret – while keeping her own.

With help – and occasional hindrance – from her friends, what she eventually finds is something unexpected...sometimes, running away can lead you to exactly what you didn’t know you needed.

All Over the Place is available from all major e-book retailers, including:


  1. Hey, Serena! ALL OVER THE PLACE sounds great, and sounds like just where you've been. Your interview was delightful and I can't wait to jump into your book! The cover gives me a Doris Day/Audrey Hepburn kind of feel.

  2. Serena,
    I don't know how authors wrote books before the internet. Best wishese with your sales!
    -R.T. Wolfe

  3. Thanks MJ, I loved the cover too. And thanks for having me! RT, I know, what would we do without it? Thanks for your message! :-)

  4. Those Richard Scarry books drove me crazy for a long time until I learned how "Scarry" is pronounced (thank the Internet for that). My son has a huge pile of them. I think he'd love to have a pickle car, too!

  5. Lovely interview, Serena. Your NZ beach is beautiful. I hope that your volcano stays dormant, too. I always have the same wish when I look at Mt. Ranier in WA state. We share Ring of Fire worries. LOL! Your novel sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read it. Here's to many sales!

    1. Thank you, Deborah, for taking the time to stop by and encourage another writer! And best of luck with your Roman time travel trilogy, LOVE ETERNALLY, RETURN TO ME, and AFTER THE FALL.

  6. I love the book cover. Deborah - can you say Mt Saint Helens? That blew when I was in high school.

    1. I remember that, Lynn! Thanks for stopping by when I know you're busy with your own series, THE BULLRIDER'S BROTHER, and THE BULLRIDER'S MANAGER, and your upcoming release. And happy St. Patty's Day!

  7. Really looking forward to payday so that I can buy a ton of books... and this one is on my list!! I'm EXTREMELY jealous that you live in NZ. My dream is to go with two fellow Lord of the Rings fans and 'TTT' across New Zealand (the 'TTT' is 'The Two Towers', and it means we want to tramp up and down New Zealand and visit all of the movie locations). And your nickname is SOOOO cute!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Amber, and I agree, that story about her nickname was adorable!

  8. Fun interview, Serena! Or should I say Lillen? I wish you the best of luck with All Over the Place, and I certainly hope one day I get to visit NZ. So pretty!

  9. So cool that you live in a place where there's dormant volcanoes. I live on a very flat island with no mountains or rivers. It does have year round sunshine and sandy beaches, so I guess I can't complain too much. :-) Congrats on your book. I love the cover!

    1. Yeah, and there's that whole not having to worry about volcanic ash thing you've got going too, Elke! Thanks for stopping by and bringing a whiff of the sunshine and island birds with you. We need that here in the cold MidWest!

  10. Holley, I don't know why, but there's something inherently funny about pickles! On the subject of volcanoes - there were two earthquakes here yesterday, both centred under a volcanic cone just behind the one in the picture. Deborah and Lynn, I hope none of us have any more volcano tales to tell! Thanks Amber and Terri - I hope you both make it to NZ one day. And Elke, I'm jealous of YOU on your divine island - I hope I make it THERE one day! Thanks for your messages everyone! :-)


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