Hi blogosphere and thanks for letting me in. You let me in surprisingly easily, although I’ll admit I’m still working out which levers to press.
I started writing Murder with the Lot, my fourth attempt at a novel, after yet another road trip to the small town near Mildura where my parents, brother and my nephews live. I say ‘yet another’ because it’s 590 kilometres from my place to theirs. I LOVE seeing my family, but I count every one of those kilometres.
Much of the drive is through the Mallee – Cass’s landscape – fading towns, orange-red dust, wheat stubble to the horizon, the whole faded-purple-bruise-sunset-over-the-silos thing.
My husband, Ross, hails from cooler climes in the northern hemisphere and probably wouldn’t be living in Australia if he hadn’t been, err, persuaded. Anyway, he doesn’t much like that drive. He prefers (like many of us), to cling to the green bits in Australia – the coastal fringe, the slightly damper bits, the mountains.
I started the novel for a couple of reasons, one of which was to try and cheer up Ross about those long road trips. To find for him (and me) the beauty in Australia’s interior.
It worked in one sense: Ross quickly became a co-creator of Cass’s adventures – with lots of great ideas and funny one-liners. He even invented the town’s name – Rusty Bore.
Here he is at the launch of Murder with the Lot (photo by Michael Vandertuin):
The second reason for starting the novel was frustration. I have a background in science (marine biology) and I was getting increasingly hacked off with the absence of Australian political action on addressing climate change. Some of that exasperation was channelled into my fiction.
Did it work?
Now, in the name of ‘research’, Ross is subjected to even more trips to the Mallee.
And I’m still pretty frustrated.