When buying real estate, they say its all about
location, location and location. And when it comes to
writing a book, I believe that location can play just as much importance.
setting as secondary character
or, what can location bring to your book?
The bright lights
and speedy pace of
The rolling waves and hippy inhabitants of Byron Bay. Or the harsh dry colours,
stifling heat and dangers of the Outback. Set the same two people in any of
these locations and the setting can't help but make an impact.
Take my current
A FATHER IN THE MAKING. I took a city boy, Ryan Gasper, and
gave him a prime reason to move to the country where he meets a dyed in the wool
country girl, Laura Somervale, who would never move to the city no matter the
reason. This produced my first ever fish out of water
growing your characters
from their surroundings:
Laura is a
product of her surroundings. Think beautiful, harsh, hot, rugged and utterly
stunning scenery, rolling hills,
eucalypts scattered along the hilltops, tasty
tank water, barbed wire fences,
wombat holes, unforgiving lantana
and blackberries curling
along creek beds, and wide blue skies over looking the lot. She wears dresses to
ward off the heat. Her hair is long and wild and held back by nothing fancier
than a piece of string. And she is seen in bare feet more often than not.
City boy Ryan in
his neat suit stands out like a sore thumb which adds confilct without even
trying. Even when he tries to fit in wearing jeans and an Akubra his clothes are
so obviously new that he looks even more out of place
making your location work
The photos here
were all taken by me, on a 42 degree day that was so hot my skin felt like it
was peeling from my arms the minute I stepped outside. But step outside I did.
Because as a city girl myself, I know this one little part of the Outback
intimately. Though Kardinayarr property on which my heroine lives and the
nearbyt country town of
are make-believe, they are based on the beautiful part of the world in which my
husband grew up.
Our heroine's worker's cottage is situated atop a hill I know well. I gave her
similar views, the same gorgeous flowers around the verandah,
grey kangaroos tripping across
the driveway, the fallen tree with its family of rabbits, and a similar dam at
the bottom of the hill
isolated. The townspeople have to rely on one another for so many things - in
sickness, in celebration, in care of their children, in times of great hardship.
Laura, as a member of the PTA, and of the CWA is deeply involved in her
community. Whereas Ryan, who lives his life surrounded by thousands, is a loner.
He goes where he is called, traveling the world lecturing. An island to himself
he is thrown into this tight community and realises what he has been missing.
write what you know,
or if you don't know - learn!
As research, I
spent some time at the Mernda country
markets which have been running every Monday for over one
hundreds years on the northern outskirts Melbourne. Once there one can spend
hours trawling through the strangest collections of knickknacks ($1 videos,
costume jewelry, mower parts, football socks etc.).
And I even
attended a livestock auction which made its way into the book! On one of the
hottest days of the summer, the scent of human sweat and hot beasts in the
auction barn was not one I will soon forget.
A defining moment in the writing of the book came when I saw a little family of
Angora goats for sale. One looked straight down the
barrel of my camera and I just knew they had to appear in the book as well!
A FATHER IN THE MAKING, a Harlequin Romance, is
available online in