I’m on a mission to promote Australian & New Zealand rural fiction, and am turning my blog over each week to a different rural Aussie or Kiwi author. Some will be well-established writers and some will be new, but they will all have something unique to say. I’d love more readers to discover the richness and variety of our home-grown genre.
To kick things off, here’s multi award-winning author Annie Seaton. Annie and I both share a deep love of and commitment to Australia’s marvellous landscapes and wildlife. And like me, Annie’s writing seeks to raise awareness of the threats that wild Australia faces. Add in big dollops of mystery, romance and adventure, and you have a recipe for winning fiction! Anyone who knows my work will understand why I love Annie’s wonderful books. I hope you’ll love them too! 🙂
Hi, and thanks for having me visit, Jennifer.
I’m Annie Seaton, and I live at the beach on the east coast of Australia. I always dreamed of being an author, and after working as an academic research librarian, a high school principal and a university tutor, I took up a writing career, and discovered my true niche.
My Porter Sisters series, Kakadu Sunset, Daintree and Diamond Sky, is published by Pan Macmillan Australia. I’m also published with Harper Collins in the Harlequin Mira imprint. Whitsunday Dawn (2018) is the first of these books, to be followed by Undara (July) 2019, Osprey Reef (2020) and East of Alice (2021).
My recent books have created a new genre: eco-adventure romance, a genre that gives me a voice for raising awareness of the threats to our beautiful Australian landscapes and wildlife. Over the past few years, I have used fiction to variously examine and raise awareness of:
- the threat to the environment by coal seam gas mining beneath Kakadu
- wildlife smuggling in the Daintree
- the need for the correct environmental rehabilitation of mine sites in the eastern Kimberleys of WA
- the threat to the Great Barrier Reef by coal mining and export
- endangered species in unexplored environments.
Researching a book in the actual environment and living in that setting for a few weeks is essential to me as an author. I am fortunate to write full time, and each winter, I’m able to travel with my husband to camp and live in the settings that I will use in future books. This enables me to evoke the atmosphere so much more realistically: the unique smells, the feel of the wind on your skin, and the sound of the birds, the wildlife, the waves or the desert wind. The actual essence of a setting is how you experience and feel it through your five senses. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch written well and woven through my characters’ perceptions, help the reader believe they are there in the story themselves.
My books blend disparate elements – mystery, romance and environmental issues, and explore Australian landscapes and wildlife. I begin with a setting: each story is first inspired by landscape. The idea always comes to me from the natural beauty of landscape… a desert sunset, a wave breaking on a reef, the beauty of Australian wildlife, a dark forest or one of the many natural inspirations of our beautiful country. The need to preserve the pristine nature of these beautiful Australian settings drives my stories. I then explore the issues that threatens this landscape, and I begin my research—both in the landscape I am writing about, as well as online and in libraries, reading books and digitised newspapers. By the time I have researched the issues, my characters have begun to come to life in my thoughts.
My most recently published book Whitsunday Dawn examines the threat to the Great Barrier Reef by the proposed development of a coal loader. As well as greedy political decisions, the reef is endangered by many natural threats and human interventions, and I wanted to raise awareness of these dangers in a maybe not-so-fictional scenario.
My upcoming book, Undara, raises the issue of endangered species in the Undara Lava tubes in northern Queensland, and again explores the issue of human greed impacting on the natural environment.
We visited there a few years ago and listened to the guide telling us about the tubes that had never been entered by a human, and the likelihood of hitherto undiscovered species existing in the lava tubes. It planted the seed for a story.
There are so many threatened environments and endangered species, there is a story to be told wherever we turn. I’d like to share a brief excerpt from Undara:
“To their right, a high ceiling of honeycombed grey rock rimmed the edge of the clearing. A pile of tumbled rocks rose in what looked to be a manmade cairn where the grey rock met the ground. High above them at least a dozen snakes hung from the intertwined branches. As she watched, the milky, bulbous eyes of a striped green snake looked back at Emlyn and she suppressed a shiver. A soft noise came from in front of them and the boys walked over to the rock cairn. All three of them looked up. A large gap in the green canopy revealed a triangle of midnight-blue clear sky. The noise became louder, and suddenly, with a huge whooshing sound, the space filled with dozens and then hundreds of small black bats as they flapped up to the open space and disappeared into the dusk.
Her eyes were wide as she took in the amazing spectacle, forgetting that she was with anyone else. Soon the space was full of bats and the snakes moved along the branches, their forked tongues flicking in and out as they stretched for the bats in mid-flight.
‘Bingo. Got him,’ Jase yelled with a fist pump.
A snake as thick as a man’s wrist slithered down the tree branch and disappeared into a fissure in the rocks behind. Emlyn shivered; a bat was secured firmly in its jaw.
‘Absolutely beautiful.’ Her hushed voice was almost reverent as she watched the spectacle of nature unfold in front of her.”
Undara will be released on July 22 but is now up for pre-order in print and digital format. (You can find all the links here: https://www.annieseaton.net/undara1.html )
Discover more about Australasian rural authors at our Australian & NZ Rural Fiction website!