Thursday, 15 July 2010

My 50th Novel

This is a very special month for me because my 50th novel has just been published, ‘Beyond the Sunset’, set in the mid 1860s. I’m thrilled about this and have been cuddling my new and very special book baby at regular intervals every since I received my author’s copies.

My first novel published was special too, as it finalled in a big writing competition in Australia and won me a $10,000 prize and publication in 1992. ‘Persons of Rank’ is a historical romance, but is now out of print. However, it will be going up as an ebook at by the end of July, in case anyone wants to see how I started out as a writer. Another of my out of print historical romances ‘Mistress of Marymoor’ is already up there at:

Back to my 50th novel . . . I never realised when I first started out that I’d be able to write so many stories in such a short time – 18 years - but perhaps the imagination is like a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger it grows. I’ve got loads of ideas noted down for further books, so watch out, readers of the world.

‘Beyond the Sunset’ is one of a series of linked stories about the Blake Sisters. They stand alone and can be read in any order. The first one was ‘Farewell to Lancashire’. You can read the first chapters of these books on my web site

They’re set mainly in Western Australia (WA), where I live. Many historical novels with an Australian background are set in Sydney and the convict era. Mine aren’t because I’m having great pleasure in exploring WA’s history.

I’d been dying to write these stories for years, ever since I read in a research book that during the 1860s Cotton Famine in Lancashire, when mills were closed because the American Civil War had cut off supplies of cotton, they brought 60 starving ‘cotton lasses’ out to WA to act as maids. I even found the diary of a clergyman’s wife who’d travelled on the same ship. It seemed meant to be.

In ‘Farewell to Lancashire’ I brought the four sisters out to Australia.
In ‘Beyond the Sunset’ I take the youngest, who is desperately homesick, back to England on urgent family business. There were no railways in WA in those days, unlike the UK, so she had to travel from the outback to a port by horse and cart. As ships didn’t leave the small ‘Cinderella’ colony every month, she had to rush to catch the ship, or she’d have had to wait two months for the next.

Once on board the ship, she went via Ceylon, Suez (before there was a canal to the Mediterranean), Alexandria and Gibraltar. It was fascinating researching all this.

And of course, romance blossomed on the journey!

Book three ‘Destiny’s Path’ comes out next year, and was equally interesting to write and research, but I’m not revealing any details yet!

If you see my 50th novel ‘Beyond the Sunset’ in a shop or on line, wish it well.

And now, I have this other story to write . . .

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