Thursday, 31 January 2013
The Story Behind The Story
When I wrote Faith in the Great Southland, I never dreamt that one day it would not only be a paperback, included with the next three books in a four-in-one volume Barbour called Australian Outback but also become my first e-book released this very day on American websites.
It makes me look back over 13 years now to that time I first started writing Faith in the Great Southland for the Heartsong Presents inspirational romance book club. It was a few words on a very rare phone call to the Barbour editor in Ohio to even make me consider writing an historical book.
I can’t even remember now why I had to ring him that time in the mid-‘90s – something authors should never really do to busy editors. He had already given me contracts for five contemporary manuscripts with Barbour. What I do remember is for some reason he mentioned he was receiving only one historical to five contemporary manuscripts. This could be a potential problem as two contemporary and two historical Heartsong Present novels were released every month.
Without thinking, I said jokingly something like, “Perhaps I should try writing one” – something that had never entered my mind before. To my utter astonishment I received a letter from him offering me a contract on a proposal. At that particular stage I was writing still for Harlequin Mills and Boon medical romance line and trying to finish my third contemporary book in my Search series. I still think I was wise to refuse that offer and replied,”...I think I would like to see how I go on a new area of writing first. I may take you up on that offer later if it still holds.”
I followed that by mentioning some ideas about setting the historical in South Australia and included, “No convicts were sent to Adelaide...” Well that brought the response that being an Australian historical readers would expect convicts! What I already knew about the early history of South Australia from my two family association published books was not enough. When I eventually was able to start serious preparation for the manuscript, this meant I had to do far more research of the state of convicts here in the mid-nineteenth century. This time period was important because I wanted to include information from my own family’s ancestors who arrived in South Australia in 1938. Convict transportation to the eastern states had already ceased.
While I thoroughly enjoyed writing Faith in the Great Southland, it took me much longer to write than any other manuscript until then. I discovered non-fiction historical books were just too fascinating and needed to discipline myself too many times to stop reading them and write my own novel. Trying to include sufficient, accurate historical background as well as faith elements and romance was also a greater challenge than for my contemporaries. Need I mention the fourth in this series, Great Southland Gold to date has been my last smaller manuscript? I have been told by Truly Yours Digital Edition that my other Great Southland books will also be released as e-books in the next six months or so.
But how I wrote my current Baragula series manuscripts which are twice as long as the ones for Heartsong Presents is another “story behind the story”.
It would be wonderful to hear from anyone who has downloaded this e-book edition.