I have been living in south east Queensland, Australia since I married at the age of 20. I spent many years on cattle and grain properties and embraced my new life wholeheartedly. My husband and four sons were my mentors, my teachers. As the children learnt the rudiments of rearing cattle, the mustering, breeding, and so on, the knowledge also became a part of my own consciousness like that of the children.I write about the life I know and love.
My apprenticeship for writing about pioneering families in the novels was played-out in real life. I churned the cream to make the butter. I reared cockerels for the table and kept hens for the fresh eggs they laid daily. The vegetable garden was always productive. At times we had our own beef and mutton. It was as close to a life of self-sufficiency that was possible. For a time, I had no electricity or telephone – that was the biggest hardship of all. The surrounding roads were horrible, corrugated dusty tracks . I took my sons 40 kilometres to the nearest doctor and they travelled tweny kilometres by bus to the country school. Out first telephone was a party-line connection with the cable strung from tree to tree through the virgin bush, with the constant possibility of being re-strung after heavy wind and rain storms. We eventually received electricity. It was a long time coming. My life gave me the tools, the capacity to write authenic heartfelt stories set in the wilds of country Australia. I loved every minute.
I spent many of the early years raising the four boys. It was a turning point when the family downsized to a smaller cattle property close to a country town. I opened a furniture and manchester business with my husband ( in defence of droughts) and met people from all walks of life. I welcomed the friendship of the indigenous race who lived in the oldest Queensland Aboriginal settlement just outside of town. I especially enjoyed the older generation and encouraged them to relate the stories of station life and I stumbled on the truth behind the Stolen Generations. Many of them still spoke with a distinct accent and I gradually came to understand them. Their stories added to my collective data on early Australia which I often refer to as the birthing pains of a rough, raw country.
By this time, I was already interested in writing. I had been composing poetry during my years of isolation on one of the properties and already had a book of about 40-50 poems of a philosophical nature published, titled 'Collect all the Babies'. Many of the poems were published in newspapers Australia-wide. When I became really serious about writing, I wanted to do it the right way, so I undertook a four-year course and finished in two, to give me the right tools.
When it comes to creating a story, I find one event, one single idea that inspires me and I build and research from that.The novel takes its own path with lots of twists and turns through a startling love story. I firmly believe love is the essence of life. Love is the reason for living. I use the politics and history of the time and some of the characters are based on true historical facts.
Writing 'Coloured Sands' was a momentous effort. I was already working almost six-days in the business and was taking the laptop to work to sneak in a couple of minutes writing where I could. It was not unusual to be writing late into the night. When I finished the first book, I was so inspired, I just kept writing and 'Gully Rakers' the wild and adventurous frontier-type second book of the trilogy was something of a natural progression.
A journalist/agent took an interest in my novels and placed 'Gully Rakers' on his website as an ebook. We had a dispute and I took my novel off the site. I wanted a fresh start with this book and chose a new title. I gave more prominence to the mystical eagle in the story and re-titled the novel 'Valley of the Eagle'. The startling Dreaming sequences of ancient mythology add an extra dimension to the novel.
Following this I wrote the third book, titled 'The Tan People' a multicultural story joining the characters from the first two books in the third. This is a story of amazing love and tormented souls, spanning two continents, and being reminiscent of the the previous books, is set on a stunning canvas in central Queensland where the magic of the Dreaming controls the hearbeat of an Ancient Land. I had completed the Coloured Sands Trilogy.