The first time my husband suggested us buying a summer home in the UK and spending more time here, I shuddered and said no way, too much extra work. After all, I’ve got writing to do.
But I caved in, and I’m really glad I did. It’s been hard work setting up a two-country lifestyle, but the stimulation of our new life has made story ideas well up in greater numbers than ever before.
It’s no problem setting up the office equipment, but I worried about my huge collection of research books. How was I going to manage without those for my historical novels? The answer is, I plan ahead very carefully and do all my main and preliminary research in Australia. Then I use the living research in both countries – buildings, museums, people, the beautiful countryside, research books that don’t make it overseas.
Another thing has happened: with more exposure to people unfamiliar with Australia, I think I understand more about ‘showing’ them Australian history in my stories and I think that’s improved my stories. I hope so, anyway!
I’ve just had a series published set in Western Australia in the 1860s. (Farewell to Lancashire, Beyond the Sunset, Destiny’s Path) England was a busy industrial country in that decade, with railways connecting not only main cities, but small towns and villages too. Western Australia, physically as big as Europe, had a population of only 30,000 and no railways at all.I’ve also written a series of Wiltshire sagas, beginning with Cherry Tree Lane and Elm Tree Road