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Lily Malone on the inspiration behind her Chalk Hill series


Lily Malone on the inspiration behind her Chalk Hill series

With the final book set for release in January 2020 we asked author Lily Malone to tell us her inspiration for the Chalk Hill series.

Inspiration can strike anywhere and any time. For me, the inspiration for the Chalk Hill series came during a family holiday in our campervan to Albany in Western Australia in 2016. The Rio Olympics were the talk of the campsite and as it rained for three days straight, I had plenty of time to watch Michael Phelps and all the amazing swimmers strut their stuff on pool deck.

With all the rain on the van roof night after night, is it any wonder the first character I dreamed up was an almost-Olympic-level swimmer in need of a second chance at life and love?

That character was Ella, from Water Under the Bridge, and before the rain stopped I’d created the town of Chalk Hill, the Honeychurch family and the three brothers, Jake, Abe and Braxton (Brix), who would be the backbone of the series. After that it didn’t take long to think up the women who would come to love my Honeychurch boys: Ella, Taylor and Jaydah (JT).

Chalk Hill is like many small country Australian towns: it has a primary school, a general store, a post office, a school bus run, a secondhand shop, sports oval, District Club and bowling green, a butcher and a hardware/nursery store. Thanks to my writing, it also now has a swimming pool and a café, and, yes, it has a bridge!

Last Bridge Before Home is the final book of three, and as I wrote it I found that my charming country town of Chalk Hill had turned a shade darker in two years of writing.

I discovered even my sweet little town has terrible secrets behind its closed doors.

Last Bridge Before Home is Jaydah and Brix’s story. As the book starts, Jaydah is in an increasingly difficult struggle to survive a home life where her father rules the roost.

Brix and JT have been best friends since school, and lovers, but things have never quite worked out for them and Brix has never understood why.

Jaydah is a girl who can stand up for herself. If you’ve read Café by the Bridge you might remember she was about to unleash a bunch of whoop-ass on a couple of thugs, using her ninja skills and a pool cue!

Unfortunately this time her fight isn’t just physical, and it’s time to make a stand. She can’t win by herself and although she’s terrible at asking for help, that’s what she needs.

Enter the lovely, steadfast, loyal and gorgeous Brix. (My heart just went pitter patter, can’t you tell?)

It’s time for Brix to play hero.

I’ve loved spending these years in Chalk Hill, and I love how the town has resonated with so many readers. The Porongurup region of south west Australia is gorgeous and as with everything I write, I always try to bring the sounds and smells of the bush and surrounds into my stories.

If you haven’t been across to WA, you need to visit! And if you find yourself on the Muirs Highway between Manjimup and Mount Barker…that’s Chalk Hill country.

Lily Malone

Lily Malone might have been a painter, except her year-old son put a golf club through her canvas. So she wrote her first book, His Brand of Beautiful, instead. Lily has now written six full length rural romance stories and a novella all published by Harlequin Escape. Her debut trade paperback, The Vineyard In The Hills, was published by Harlequin MIRA in September 2016. Last Bridge Before Home is the third of three books set in the fictional Western Australian town of Chalk Hill, a town which, in Lily’s imagination, is about halfway between Manjimup and Mount Barker on the Muirs Highway. Book One was Water Under the Bridge, published in February 2018, which is Jake and Ella’s story; and Book Two, The Café by the Bridge, followed Taylor and Abe.

When she isn’t writing, Lily likes gardening, walking, wine, and walking in gardens (sometimes with wine). She also doesn’t mind the odd game of cards and loves her regular Thursday Night hand with the Card Girls. She lives in the Margaret River region of Western Australia with her husband, and two handsome sons who take after their father. Lily is a member of Australian Rural Fiction and Australian Fiction Authors. She loves to hear from readers and you can find her on Facebook, and on Twitter: @lily_lilymalone. To contact Lily, email or visit

Last Bridge Before Home

by Lily Malone

With her trademark fresh and funny tone, Lily Malone returns with a captivating new romance set in the heart of the Australian outback.

For Jaydah Tully, the country town of Chalk Hill has never felt like home. Home is a place to feel loved. Home is a place to feel safe. Jaydah’s home life is dark in ways the close-knit community could never imagine.

Jaydah knows that the man she loves has never understood her need for secrets. Brix is a Honeychurch, she’s a Tully – her family are Chalk Hill’s black sheep. It’s better for everyone if Brix stays away.

But Brix is a one-woman man, and when he returns to his home town to help his brother, the first person he sees is Jaydah. Independent. Private. Proud. When things are good between them they are really really good but all too soon they’re back in the old patterns, caught in the same argument: Her father. Her family. Her life that doesn’t include him.

Underneath her tough exterior, Jaydah is drowning. She has one chance to change everything. Is she brave enough to take the risk and let Brix in? Or will her father keep them apart forever?

‘Warm, witty and fun … Lily Malone creates unforgettable characters. Chalk Hill is a small town you will never want to leave.’ Alissa Callen, bestselling Australian author

Find it here 

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