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Saturday, October 6, 2018

What Makes My Heart Beat Faster by Mary-Anne O'Connor - Guest Post & Giveaway

About Mary-Anne O'Connor

Mary-Anne O'Connor nee Best grew up in Wahroonga in the Bushland Shire of Hornsby-Kuringai, northern Sydney. The youngest of six children, her childhood was spent exploring the local bush and playing music with her siblings and close neighbours. An avid reader, she devoured her mother Dorn's extensive library and was often found trying to finish a chapter by torchlight late at night. She also began to fill every blank piece of paper in the house with stories and drawings of her own and dreamt of becoming a writer one day.

When she was twelve her father Kevin Best left his established career in the stock-market to become one of Australia's best-loved artists. The perseverance and ultimate triumph she witnessed during those years left her inspired to follow in his footsteps and pursue her own creative aspirations. A multi-faceted career path followed in marketing and teaching, along with the completion of education/arts degree with specialities in literature, music and environment. During this time she also co-wrote two books with her father, A Brush with Light and Secrets of the Brush. Work then began on her first major novel, Gallipoli Street. ​This work gained critical acclaim and finished at #3 for debut novels in Australia in 2015. 

Her second novel Worth Fighting For was published in October 2016 and has also become a bestseller. Her third war story Warflower is due out in October 2017.

​Mary-Anne has drawn on her love of the Australian bush, her fascination with her own family history and her deep, abiding respect for the men and women who carried our nation through turbulent, formative times to produce these novels. 

They were written in her office at home beneath a long window that overlooks her beloved gum trees. She still lives in the Bushland Shire with her husband Anthony, their two sons, Jimmy and Jack and their very spoilt, gorgeous dog, Saxon.


Books by Mary-Anne O'Connor

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What makes my heart beat faster 
Guest post by Mary-Anne O'Connor

It seems like an old recipe that should tire after centuries of evolution, but for some reason the process of falling in love remains evergreen. And its power never seems to wane. No matter how many times we read, watch or hear a story unfold, somehow, we end up falling in love too. And forget trying to analyse why, it’s just what makes our hearts beat faster.

The human heart is a funny organ, there to pump away in regular beats to keep us alive, but there to drive home emotions too. Our heart rate starts leaping about and driving harder when we’re nervous or afraid, when we run or dance, get excited or lose our temper. But the sweetest of fast beating moments, for me, always comes down to good old love.

Those moments stand out like chapters headings in my own story and I wonder how many of you are lucky enough to have felt them in yours too:

* That first moment when you’ve missed someone and he’s suddenly there, in the same room at the same time, and you know you’ll be speaking to him soon (egad! What to say?)

* The little silence that happens on that perfect date and you realise, to your amazement, that this is actually happening. And he completely. Gets. You.

* The first time he rings you (okay, this is still early-days-stuff, but it’s a real heart-leaper!) and you have that few precious seconds when you’re too nervous to pick up but you do, anyway

* The moment when you look down the aisle and he’s there, eyes full of trust, and your heart leaps hard - but you’re beaming with love too

* When you tell him you’re having his child and he doesn’t know what to say, then he just places his hand over his own thumping heart, which yep, pretty much says it all

* When the doctor places your newborn baby in your arms, and your heart beats hard against that tiny one, and you over look at him in wonder, whenever you can tear your eyes away

* And when you stand on stage and he’s there in the crowd, arms around your kids and eyes never wavering, and you realise that beating heart was always right. It had chosen to thump about wisely, all these years.

So here’s to love and beating hearts, may we always remember to listen and cherish those moments tight, for they make our own unique stories evergreen.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy of War Flower by Mary-Anne O'Connor.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Great guest post. I'm lucky enough to have felt some of those moments too.

  2. I seen some of your father's work on the internet, astonishing and beautiful. War Flower sounds like an exciting romantic novel set in the midst of the brutality of war.

  3. It's always nice to know more about the authors of the books I'm reading.

  4. I don't get time for reading but my Mum reads a lot, so would love to win a book for her.

  5. I love discovering new authors - this looks amazing!!

  6. Awesome guest post! War Flowers sounds like an exciting read.

  7. I love books based around this period! Thanks x

  8. A great post thank you. All of the books are on my reading list.

  9. Hello Mary-Anne, You are a new-to-me author. I enjoy historical romance. I'm looking forward to reading your books.

  10. Such beatiful covers! You are a new author to me, but I love what I see.

  11. Thank-you everyone for commenting.It's so lovely to hear your kind words. Enjoy reading!

  12. This sounds like a really evocative story.

  13. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  14. I would love to read this and I am loving the covers of your books!

  15. That is very sweet, lovely post and to pursue your creative aspirations is inspiring. Thank you for the guest post and giveaway.

  16. I really enjoyed this and thank you for the giveaway

  17. Oh my gosh! You're Kevin Best's daughter? Talent obviously runs in families ...