Well, it’s that time of year again, when I give my blog over to shameless self-promotion! My latest novel, Turtle Reef, will be released by Penguin on the 25th March. The official Melbourne launch will be at Readings Bookstore, 701 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn on Wednesday 8th April at 6.00pm. Free event. All welcome!
To celebrate, I’m giving away two copies of Turtle Reef. (Aust & NZ residents only) To go in the draw, just leave a comment on this post. Winners announced on Sunday 5th April.
This week I’m posting a Q&A I did for Penguin Australia.
What is your new book about?
Turtle Reef is the story of Zoe King, an unlucky-in-love zoologist who has given up on men. Moving from Sydney to take up an exciting new role in marine science in the small sugar town of Kiawa is a welcome fresh start.
Zoe is immediately charmed by the region’s beauty – by its rivers and rainforests, and by its vast cane fields, sweeping from the foothills down to the rocky coral coast. And also by its people – its farmers and fishermen, unhurried and down to earth, proud of their traditions.
Her work at the Reef Centre provides all the passion she needs and Zoe finds a friend in Bridget, the centre’s director. The last thing she wants is to fall for her boss’s boyfriend, cane king Quinn Cooper, and so she refuses to acknowledge the attraction between them – even to herself.
But things aren’t quite adding up at the Reef Centre and when animals on the reef begin to sicken and die, Zoe’s personal and professional worlds collide. She faces a terrible choice. Will protecting the reef mean betraying the man she loves?
- What or who inspired it?
– Turtle Reef was inspired by my passion for the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral ecosystem on our blue planet, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It holds a special place in the hearts of Australians. I wanted my story to show the important part the reef plays in the human and animal life of coastal communities. It was also an excuse to write about dugongs and dolphins!
- What was the biggest challenge, writing it?
– The biggest challenge was not letting the animals hijack the story. They wanted to hog the plot!
- What did you want to achieve with your book?
– I wanted to share my love of the Great Barrier Reef, and pay tribute to its unique wildlife. I also wanted to entertain readers with a passionate and unusual love story. If Turtle Reef sparks debate about reef protection, that’s a bonus.
- Are there any parts of it that have special personal significance to you?
– The story of the black Arabian mare, Aisha, is loosely based on the life of my own mare, Starfire. And like Zoe King, I’ve always been fascinated by marine mammals.
- What do you see as the major themes in your book?
– The main themes in Turtle Reef are: change versus tradition, the risks and rewards of freedom and learning to challenge your fears. The book also explores our relationship with animals and nature.
- To whom have you dedicated the book and why?
– Turtle Reef is dedicated to the Australian Marine Conservation Society. They provide Australia’s ocean wildlife with a vital voice.
- Who do you think will enjoy your book?
– Anybody who likes horses, dolphins, or ripping yarns in magnificent settings.
- Describe yourself in three words?
– Passionate, compassionate and nerdy
- What three things do you dislike?
– Cruelty, indifference and greed
- What three things do you like?
– Horses, the wilderness and champagne.
- What would you like to think people can get from reading your book?
– I hope Turtle Reef can transport readers to the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, and immerse them in the lives of its unique people and wildlife.
- What do you think your life will be like 20 years from now?
– Not very different from today I hope – riding horses and writing books.
- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
– I always have a special good-luck symbol for each book I write. For Billabong Bend it was an unused bird-shot cartridge. For Turtle Reef it was a crystal dolphin on a piece of amethyst that my brother gave me.
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books
– Mainly from my own imagination, although I always undertake research trips to ensure settings are authentic. Google and the State Library also get a good workout.
- As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
– Write books and ride horses.
- If you were for sale the ad would say…
– ‘Well-bred aged mare. Nice nature. No vices (well, hardly any!) Quick on feet and loves bush riding. Can be stubborn. Needs experienced rider.’
- What is your life motto?
– ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.’
- What is your most memorable moment?
– Apart from when my children were born, you mean? Getting published for the first time of course.