April-July

Easter saw me back at Little Forest, soaking up the serenity and trying to get a handle on a new book idea.

The FINAL edits on Close to Home were done which at least cleared some head space. I’m not one of those writers who has a thousand new plotlines crowding my head. My stories filter into my brain one at a time and not always as rapidly as I would like. By this stage I had started a new novel, but only just and I wasn’t sure it was going to fly but it was fun playing around with a new idea.

I spent time in Wagga with my eldest daughter and our youngest ‘boy’ Rio, and watch my other two girls compete at Pony Club State Equitation where they did brilliantly, one of them placing in a number of events on our eldest horse, the 23 year old, aptly named, Sprite.

 

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At home I started fiddling around with the new storyline and spent time with my good buddy Kathie who was battling the hideous MND. Watching her deal with the effects of the disease is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but each time I saw her I was so inspired by her courage and strength and so proud to be her friend.

By mid-year the launch of Close to Home was getting … well, closer. The lead up to release date is always such an exciting time and my third time around was no exception. I visited Booktopia and was amazed by the scale of the operation.

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Within days of release CTH made it into the top 30 on the itunes book charts and was appearing on shelves all over the place. At the official launch, hosted by my amazing publisher Hachette, friends and family came along to help me celebrate. Once again the best thing about all of this was being able to share the amazing experience. The reviews were awesome and the feedback from readers was humbling.

 

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While the story was not received so well by those who are against Hendra vaccination, most people realised the main character in the novel is a vet and therefore pro-vaccination. The irony is, as a horse owner I’m probably more anti-vaccination than pro when it comes to Hendra but I can understand why vets would be keen to administer the vaccine. As a writer you need to be true to the character you create and that doesn’t always mean you agree completely with them yourself.

I spoke at the Southern Highlands Writer’s Festival on a very chilly July day and kept fiddling around with that new book idea. Something was starting to come together but at this stage I wasn’t sure it would fit the Rural Romance genre. If I’d known what the Universe had in store for me in the coming months I may have worked harder to get more words on the page. But then again …