I must be a local!

I think I can just about claim to be a local to the Central Highlands region of Queensland. I’m proud of the fact that all four sets of my great-grandparents and some of my great-great grandparents were pioneers in this area.

My paternal great-grandfather, John Baker, was born at Wollombi, NSW, in 1864. He came to the Capella area in 1888, where he worked as head stockman at Cotherstone Station. In 1889 at Inverell he married Amelia Marsh, and returned to Cotherstone with his new bride. In about 1897 John moved his family to Capella where he operated a butcher’s shop, then worked at the hotel and had horse teams prior to purchasing a nearby cattle property, Malthoid, in 1910. He and Amelia lived at Malthoid until their deaths in 1930 and 1952.

My father’s maternal grandfather, Richard Eddy (Dick), was born in 1851 in Geelong, Victoria. He married Mercy Limpus in Rockhampton in 1880. Mercy had emigrated from England at the age of twelve with her widowed father, William Limpus, who worked on the railway line at Westwood. Dick Eddy had teams at Lilyvale and moved to Capella when the railway line arrived there. He carried wool from Capella to Rockhampton via Marlborough and would be away from home for six months on a trip. In 1913 he bought Hillview at Capella but soon afterwards he and Mercy moved to Rockhampton where they lived until their deaths in 1920 and 1942.

My mother’s paternal grandfather, Robert Purvis, emigrated from Scotland and married Emma Beaumont at Rockhampton in 1879. Emma’s father was a teamster at Westwood and Robert Purvis had bullock teams, carrying wool down the Dawson River. He originally selected “Glenmorgan” in partnership with William Scott but in 1880 purchased a property near Banana which he named Drumberle. He phased out sheep in favour of cattle and established a Clydesdale stud, crossing them with Thoroughbreds to breed cavalry mounts for the Indian market. Ill health forced him to retire to Emu Park in 1902. Stuart Barrett, who had married Robert’s daughter Beatrice, later purchased the property. Four of Robert’s five sons, Robert (Bob), John (Jack), William (Bill) and Henry (Harry) took up properties in the Clermont area. Robert Senior died in 1919 and Emma in 1932.

My mother’s maternal great-grandfather, Charles Paine, was born at Port Macquarie in NSW in 1843 and came to Queensland as a young man. He worked as a jackeroo in the Roma district where he married Mary Smart in 1866. They lived at Cornwall Station and Bungewogaria Station near Roma. Later he went into partnership with Henry Roberts at Cooroorah Station on the Mackenzie River. The Aborigines were very hostile and Mary had to hold off attacks with the help of an Aboriginal girl to load her rifle. This led Charles to accept the management of Collaroy Station in the Broadsound district. In 1892 he took over the management of Bladensburg Station at Winton.

Their son Frederick was born at Euthella, Roma in 1870 and married Lucy Ussher in 1891. Lucy’s father, Neville Ussher, was a mining engineer at Cawarral. Frederick and Lucy lived at Bladensburg where their two daughters were born but sadly Lucy died after giving birth to the second child in 1894. Their firstborn was my grandmother Lil who lived at Bladensburg until she was five, when she went to her Ussher grandparents who were now at Mount Morgan. Frederick Paine passed away at Longreach in 1929.

My grandparents have their own stories but I will save them for another day.

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John Thomas and Amelia Ellen Baker, 1889

Interview with Jane Carter

New rural romance author Jane Carter was going to participate in a recent blog hop, then realised she wasn’t ready. I said I would post something of hers once her book was released. So here it is:

Q1 – What am I working on?

1. High Country Secrets is set in the Monaro. Strong, grazing country, bald smooth hills and in the distance, the craggy outlines of the Snowy Mountain Range. There must be something in the air of the Monaro.  The animals have constitution and the people are tough and resilient.

Jessie is from an old grazing family.  Michael d’Larghi  is an entrepreneur- into farming and transport and various family businesses. His grandfather came out from Italy in the fifties to work on the Snowy Hydro Scheme.

Jessie returns home to introduce her new fiancé, Alan, to the family. But the first person she meets is Michael, who she remembers from primary school days…..

There is an open feel to the high country – like you’re standing on top of the world. Jessie and Michael just have to reach out and grab what they want. But secrets from the past are crowding in. Everyone these days has baggage – but how much can you take?

Q2 – How does my work differ from others in the genre?

I live in regional New South Wales, in the south.  That is quite different from Queensland or the outback. Goulburn is as different to Roma as the west of Scotland is to Bath.

No matter where they come from, country people share an understated calm and strength, a trust in each other, a practical outlook. Whether this comes from handling animals or the effect of the peaceful landscape on you, I don’t know. I do know I enjoy the feeling of space and not the crush of people around you. I felt a need to write about the country and the people I have come to love and know. So part of the difference is the area I write about.  The other difference is experience – forty years  in trucking and farming.  This experience means my perspective is different than others writing in the same genre.

q3 –  Why do I write what I write

I don’t know why I write what I write. It just pours out and I have very little say in it really. I am continually surprised by what I write. Sometimes my characters just take off and I go along for the ride. I find that is the secret. Once your characters are up and running they dictate what happens next.

 Q4 – How does my writing process work?

A writing process is not exactly the phrase I would use to describe how I write.  Noise. I like the television blaring. I can write with telephone conversations going on around me and mayhem.  Possibly my editor would say that explains a lot.  But I’ve always been a multi-tasker.

Writing also takes you to places you’ve never been to before.  So you just have to trust in the magic carpet and go along for the ride. I’m a pantser, so my ride is more rocky than most.

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How can you be in love with one man and violently attracted to another?

When Jessie Cranfield and Michael D’Larghi take the stage to sing together at a local fundraiser in their hometown, the last thing Jessie expects is the electricity between them. Not only has she not seen Michael for years but her fiance is sitting in the audience.

Michael is used to overcoming any obstacle in his path to achieve his goals. Now his goal is Jessie, the former girl-next-door from rural Cooma. 
But not even Michael can foresee that their attraction might uncover family secrets that could tear both their lives apart forever.

A Montague-Capulet war has nothing on the Cranfields and D’Larghis. Can Jessie and Michael risk falling in love, or is it too much for their families to bear?

Buy it now, for only $4.99.
http://momentummoonlight.com/books/high-country-secrets/

Jane Carter lives in Goulburn, NSW with her husband Richard. Raising five children, farming and helping to run a livestock transport business kept her busy until a few years ago when the last of the children left home and she started writing. Daughter of journalist, author and film maker Lionel Hudson this is perhaps not quite so surprising. She worked in films and television, before she was married. Forty years in the country has made her passionate about rural Australia and the people who make it unique. She enjoys her garden, particularly after rain, adores her grandchildren and anything at all to do with boats.

http://www.janecarterauthor.com/

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Another round of mustering done!

Recently we finished a round of mustering here on our two properties, branding calves, weaning, drafting strays, treating some of the cattle for ticks sand sending a load of bullocks to the meatworks. This year I wasn’t organised enough to have the camera on the job, but here are some photos I took this time last year.

We hired my nephew with his helicopter to muster bullocks and heifers for sale. This was the first time we had used the chopper for mustering as we’ve don’t have a large acreage by Queensland standards. But we’d had a very wet season, making the creek country full of long grass and unsafe to muster by horseback or motorbike. The last photo is our truck with double-decker stock crate, ready to load.

 

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In these photos is the yarding of weaners (calves old enough to be taken from their mothers – these were bigger than normal as circumstances had prevented us mustering at the optimal time) and my husband loading the feeder with hay.

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The last photo is my husband with his quad bike and the friend who helped us, riding my mare, Whiskey. Since then we have purchased two more quad bikes and this year we did all the mustering with quad bikes. I used to love mustering on a horse but circumstances have changed!

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Writing the Dual Timeline

I have always been attracted to idea of someone unearthing secrets from the past. This premise was one of the original inspirations behind Breakaway Creek.  When I first began writing it, which was some time ago, I had read only a few books written on a dual time-line. Some had brief sections harking back to an earlier period and one I can recall was written predominately in the historical era.

Since publishing Breakaway Creek, I’ve read several books by Kimberley Freeman which are excellent examples of the dual timeline. I love reading historicals, both romance and mainstream, but the more serious novels in this genre can be heavy and/or confronting. Intertwining the edgier historical setting with a familiar modern one, takes us back to our comfort zone and gives us space to draw breath.

Recently there have been a few releases of this type in the rural romance genre, so it must be growing more popular.

I have always loved writing historical stories with my earlier books, The Cornstalk and A Hidden Legacy, set in the 1870s and 1890s. Breakaway Creek devotes almost equal time to both the present and the historical sections of the story. For me, it is a way of combining my fascination with Australia’s pioneering days with a contemporary story which deals with present-day issues and which is more accessible to many readers. Although I am too fond of modern comforts to want to live in Victorian times, the horse and buggy era lends itself to adventure and to social dilemmas that don’t exist today. In Breakaway Creek the heroine from the 1890s, Emma, falls in love with someone of mixed race. What happens next would be most unlikely to occur today in Australian cultures.

My ancestors on both sides of my family were pioneers in Central Queensland and listening to my parents’ stories about them and ‘the good old days’ sparked my interest in history. Combine that with my love of romance and my childhood on a 47,000 acre cattle station and it is no wonder horses, cattle and rural life in general play a large part in my stories.

Having found a format that works for me, I am writing my next novel in two timelines. Like Breakaway Creek, it will combine romance with adventure, a touch of suspense and family secrets.

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Blurb for Breakaway Creek:

Two city women, a century apart, find love and adventure in the Queensland outback.

Betrayed by her boyfriend, Shelley Blake escapes the city on a quest to unravel a century-old family mystery.  Her search takes her to a remote cattle station run by Luke Sherman.

Shelley and Luke try to resist their mutual attraction as he fights to reclaim his children from a broken marriage, and Shelley uncovers the truth about her ancestors, Alex and Emma.

Emma’s story of racial bigotry and a love that transcends all obstacles unfolds in the pioneering days of the 1890s.

Shelley and Emma are separated by time but they’re bound by a dark secret to a place called Breakaway Creek.

Buy Links:

http://clandestinepress.com.au/content/breakaway-creek

http://www.amazon.com/Breakaway-Creek-ebook/dp/B00D43BUI6/ref=cm_rdp_product

http://www.bookworld.com.au/book/breakaway-creek/41962064/

http://www.fishpond.com.au/Books/Breakaway-Creek-Heather-Garside/9780987553805

Who’s Tagging Whom?

I was tagged by romantic suspense author Sandy Curtis to participate in this blog. Sandy and I are are fellow Central Queenslanders (although to me the Bundaberg area is more like southern Queensland) and I first got to know her when she came to Emerald to present a workshop with the Queensland Writers Centre. Since then we have been occasional room-mates at RWA conferences.

Sandy Curtis is the author of six romantic suspense thrillers published in Australia and Germany. Her novels have been shortlisted in the Ned Kelly Crime Awards, and two have been finalists in the mainstream section of the Romantic Book of the Year Award run by the Romance Writers of Australia. She has won awards for her short stories, written a weekly newspaper column and monthly magazine feature articles, and organises WriteFest, the annual Bundaberg writers’ festival. Her seventh book, Grievous Harm, will be published by Clan Destine Press in late 2014 and she is currently writing her second women’s fiction novel.

www.sandycurtis.com

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And now I will attempt to answer the four questions:

Q1 What am I working on?

I’m writing another rural romance/dual timeline story, presently titled Morrison’s Road.

Holly Colter leaves her career in nursing to help her grandparents on their Queensland cattle property. But she hasn’t bargained on Jesse Kavanagh, the boy who broke her heart and ended up in trouble with the law, being back next door.

While doing her best to avoid Jesse and encouraged by her grandfather, she tries to uncover the truth about a murdered ancestor.

Mercy Forbes is shocked but hardly grief-stricken when she finds her abusive husband murdered. Sergeant Jake Morrison is determined to find the killer, despite his suspicions about Mercy and a growing attraction between them that threatens to undermine the case and his career.

Q2 How does my work differ from others in the genre?

The dual timeline sets my two latest novels apart from most others in the genre. Although this technique has been used in other rural romances, most are predominately set in the present day and rely on diary entries or similar to tell the historical story. Breakaway Creek and Morrison’s Road are two complete stories in one, interwoven together. They combine adventure and romance with a touch of suspense.

Q3 Why do I write what I write?

I grew up in an isolated environment on my parents’ cattle station and have a deep love of rural life and the Australian bush. I have written off and on since childhood and I’m never happier than when I’m living in my characters’ heads and my writing is flowing!

Q4 How does my writing process work?

Now that I have a publisher waiting for my next book, I’m finding it much easier to stay focused. I try to do my chores first thing and then write for a couple of hours, depending on what’s happening that day. It is impossible for me to always stick to a routine with farm life, my job at the local library, and volunteer work intervening.

Although I write a rough outline first, I am more of a pantser than a plotter, finding the best ideas always come to me as the story evolves.

Now I would like to tag Beverley Eikli.

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Beverley Eikli is the author of eight historical romances.

She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, a safari lodge manager in the Okavango, and an airborne geophysical survey operator on contracts around the world.

Beverley wrote her first romance at seventeen, but drowning her heroine on the last page was symptomatic of the problems she grappled with during her 23-year journey towards publication.

Recently she received her third nomination from Australian Romance Readers for Favourite Historical Romance with her suspenseful Napoleonic espionage Romance The Reluctant Bride.

Beverley teaches in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University, Melbourne. She also teaches Short Courses for the Centre of Adult Education and Macedon Ranges Further Education.

Beverley writes under the name Beverley Oakley for more sensual stories.

You can visit her website at: www.beverleyeikli.com and her blog at: http:www.beverleyeikli.blogspot.com.au

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My second author is Leisl Leighton.

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Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).

After starting a family Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.

Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dog, Buffy, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She sometimes sings in a choir and works as a swim teacher in her day-to-day job. Her novels, Killing Me Softly (romantic suspense) and Dark Moon (paranormal romance) are out now with Penguin’s Destiny Romance.

You can catch up with Leisl at:

www.leislleighton.com, Facebook, Goodreads and on Twitter @LeislLeighton

Dark Moon is due out on March 15th.

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The third author I have tagged is Dean J. Anderson.

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I see exceptional within the everyday; I write because it is who I am.

Dean J Anderson began his professional writing career in 2008.

Living with his wife and son on the Central Queensland coast in Australia, Dean draws inspiration from striking local landscapes and everyday people. His transformation from avid reader to author is ongoing and one that has seen him come alive within the realms of Dark Urban Fantasy.

Dark Urban Fantasy is not a genre he set out to choose; he says it chose him.

Visit his website at www.deanjanderson.com.au

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Australia Day Award

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I felt very honoured to be nominated for two Australia Day awards in my local area, the Citizen of the Year and the Cultural Award. Another very deserving lady received the Citizen of the Year but I was thrilled to be presented with the Cultural Award.

This was awarded for my involvment in my local writers’ group, my assistance in compiling a local history and a non-fiction anthology, and of course, for writing and publishing my own novels.

I also received this award in 2004 so I feel it is a particular honour to be presented with it twice.