I’m a big believer in fate and just recently a couple of things happened in my writing and in my life to deepen that belief even further.
I’ll start with the writing …
A few months back I was discussing new novel ideas with my publisher who was keen for me to try a new setting. All three of my books have been set in fictional locations on or near the south-eastern coast of New South Wales. Maybe my publisher was right? Maybe it was time for a change? She suggested something well away from the coast, something decidedly outback. But as someone who likes to get a good feel for a place before I use it as a setting this idea was problematic – I haven’t been anywhere remotely outback recently and had no ideas for any suitable storylines.
And this is where the fate part comes in.
A few weeks later, when I’d already started on a novel with no definite location in mind, I received an email from a lovely librarian in Hughenden (central Queensland) inviting me to visit and speak at a dinner as part of their drought relief community program. I googled the town and found images of red earth, dusty roads and plenty of windmills. A little more research and I discovered the area is badly affected by drought – farmers are destocking, businesses closing and locals are having a very hard time of it. Perhaps there was some material here for a new story?
Another week or so later I woke up in the middle of the night with an entirely new plot – set in a central Queensland outback town. Wide awake, I spent an hour or so scribbling down an outline which I tidied up a little and sent to my publisher the next day. This was her response:
I’ve since started writing that story and have visited Hughenden. It’s a beautiful country town filled with amazing, friendly people who are, sadly, all suffering from the effects of the drought. I visited a number of properties and saw how dire the situation is for some and while this may be useful writing material, my heart breaks for those who are suffering and I am certainly praying for rain.
Not long after the trip had been planned something completely unexpected happened. A property came up for sale in an area we had been keeping an eye on and within a few days we had made an offer and were soon to be on the move. That was about 9 weeks ago and we moved in 10 days ago. It all came about because of a random phone call and after a few weeks of seriously de-cluttering (we’ve lived in the one house for 25 years) we are now living on a beautiful 50 acre place very close to Sydney.
Needless to say the novel I have started has been put on ice for a week or two but hopefully I’ll be well into the draft this time next month.
Looking forward to spending some time writing in my new location – and writing about somewhere new.
Will keep you posted.
PS: Books make great Christmas gifts. If you would like a signed copy of Close To Home, Blackwattle Lake or Essie’s Way for a friend or relative please check out details on my website.