All The Books I Can Read

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Blog Tour Review: The Missing Girl by Kerry McGinnis

The Missing Girl
Kerry McGinnis
Penguin Random House AUS
2021, 326p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}: The darkest secrets are buried the deepest.

Meg Morrissey has just lost her job, and her partner to an overseas assignment, when she is called back to the family home of Hunters Reach in the picturesque Adelaide Hills. Her ailing grandmother, who raised her when she was orphaned as a child, has always been a formidable figure in her life, and this is hardly a welcome summons.

When Meg arrives at the ramshackle old homestead, she learns that the place is up for sale. She is expected to care for the property with its extensive garden, while packing up the contents of the house. As she begins the arduous work of bringing the grand old homestead back to its former glory, she is forced to examine the question that has plagued her all her life – why nobody loved her as a child.

As the house unfolds the history of an earlier age, it also spills out secrets Meg had never imagined – in particular, the discovery of an aunt she never knew, her mother’s twin sister, Iris. The discovery brings horror in its wake, as Meg learns the secrets of the missing girl and the truth behind a wicked heart where love simply never existed. The more she uncovers, the more questions she has. With her grandmother unwilling to share what she knows, Meg must seek out the truth for herself.

Set against the stunning backdrop of the Australian bush in summer, with the ever-present threat of bushfire at its back, this is a highly evocative story of secrets and betrayal.

I really enjoyed this.

It’s set in 1990 and I am always surprised by how different books set in 1990 feel. Many things have evolved so much since then, particularly technology. 1990 is an entirely different time, before the commonality of mobile phones, before the internet.

Meg is in her mid-20s and has successfully escaped a life dominated by people who didn’t care about her: her parents were always much more interested in each other than they were in her, their only child, and life was a rotation of boarding school and being left with her cold grandmother on school holidays. Her parents died when she was still relatively young and that meant her grandmother became solely responsible for her care. She did the bare minumin: Meg was fed, clothed and educated but she was always aware that there was never any love there and her grandmother was such a difficult woman that when Meg was able to leave, she did so without ever looking back. Now however, her grandmother has summoned her back to prepare her large house for sale and having recently lost her job, Meg doesn’t have a reason to say no and she can’t bring herself to either. She’s always been rather frightened of her grandmother and seemingly anxious to please her, despite this never being possible.

I found myself really drawn into this from the very beginning. I loved the setting (regional South Australia during the summer) with Meg cleaning out the old house, arranging to sell some of the antique furniture, dispose of her grandmother’s belongings and getting the garden into shape. Being back there brings the one person who did care about her as a child, Betty, back into her life as well as a taciturn man arranged to bring the garden up to scratch. The old house is beautiful and even though it’s not been the source of good memories for Meg, it does present an opportunity for her to be able to delve into the past and perhaps learn the answers to questions she’s always been too scared to ask.

Meg’s grandmother really is an unpleasant, bitter person and it’s not difficult to see why Meg hasn’t been back. Perhaps if I were Meg, I wouldn’t have even bothered to come back at all but Meg does feel some duty and she’s not doing anything else – and her grandmother, who is very wealthy, is willing to pay her. She’ll never be able to return to her home after a fall she recently took (she’s close to 89) and Meg’s partner, photographer Phillip is away on an assignment in Papua New Guinea. When Meg has to contact him, she has no phone number for him so she has to ring his editor with a message for him to relay to Phillip when Phillip gets in contact with his editor. Phillip often travels to remote places and without a 24 hour news cycle, Meg tends to remain blissfully oblivious of potential hazards of Phillip’s job. After a natural disaster, Phillip does turn up at the house to convalesce – and help in his own way, providing the sort of stoic, unwavering support, kindness and love that few people have ever shown her in her life.

I admired Meg for going back there and for having the courage to dig into the past for answers when the entire family had never treated her very well. What she discovers is a big shock – but also goes a long way to explaining quite a lot of her treatment (although to be honest, not all of it). No one should ever have to experience the sort of upbringing that she did and Betty provided the only solace in what was a very lonely and miserable existence. Some of the twists I guessed, others I did not and I appreciated each reveal as it came. The tension in the novel grows with the threat of a looming bushfire and as with many people it’s not until the danger is right on top of them that they realise just how serious the situation is.

I was really invested in Meg learning the story of her origins and past and her getting all the answers she needed that might help give her some closure – to be able to move forward without her life being shadowed by her feelings of abandonment and emotional neglect. And it was very well done, I ended up reading this in a single sitting.

8/10

Book #113 of 2021

This review is part of the blog tour for The Missing Girl with thanks the publisher, Penguin Random House Australia. Be sure to check out the others taking part and learn their thoughts on this story.

The Missing Girl is book #46 for the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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Review: The Roadhouse by Kerry McGinnis

The Roadhouse
Kerry McGinnis
Penguin Random House AUS
2019, 352p
Read from my local library/Borrow Box

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

When aspiring actress Charlie Carver learns that her cousin Annabelle has died, she immediately leaves Melbourne to fly home to the remote family roadhouse east of Alice Springs. It has been years since her last visit and her relationship with her mother, Molly, is strained but Charlie is determined to patch up their differences.

The reunion, however, is interrupted when Molly suffers a heart attack. With her mother airlifted out for life-saving surgery, Charlie is left to take the reins of the struggling family business, alongside friends old and new, including the captivating local stockman Mike.

The authorities declare Annabelle to have taken her own life, but when a woman’s body turns up at an abandoned mine site, Charlie begins to wonder what else is being covered up, and why.

Beginning a search for the truth, a perilous bush chase unfolds that threatens her own life, causing Charlie to wonder whether she ever knew Annabelle at all…

I’ve read a few Kerry McGinnis books and enjoyed them but there’s still quite a few I haven’t read. A lot of them are set in the Northern Territory, which is a place I definitely want to visit one day. Australia is such a big country but with very few large cities to hop between. This is also set in 1991 and even though that doesn’t feel that long ago, things have changed a lot since then, particularly with technology, accessibility, the global village, getting word out, staying in touch, etc.

Charlie left her family home near Alice Springs some years ago and has been trying to get her big break as an actress in Melbourne. It hasn’t been working out though, so when her mother calls and asks her to come home after the untimely death of her cousin Annabelle, who was raised with Charlie, it’s a good excuse to pack in Melbourne and return to the Territory for good. Charlie’s mother runs a roadhouse, keeping people fuelled and fed and although their relationship has been strained, Charlie sees this as an opportunity to improve things between them, by sticking around to help out and hopefully building a better rapport. Charlie’s mother has never been demonstrative, has never really admitted to needing anything from her or even wanting it. Her heart attack is a surprise to Charlie, who has never known her mother to be even a little ill. As Charlie steps in to run the roadhouse, the story of Annabelle’s death takes an ugly turn and it seems like she was caught up in something very serious. Even though they never had a good relationship, Charlie feels the need to find out what really happened to her so they can properly lay her to rest.

This book definitely made me think about the challenges of living remotely at a time when technology wasn’t what it is now. Even just getting there….Charlie can’t get a direct flight from Melbourne to Alice Springs, she has to go via Adelaide, which is not an issue now (unless it’s you know, a global pandemic). When her mother is taken to hospital and then transferred to Adelaide, each time Charlie calls to check on her, it has to be with careful consideration of the long distance costs. There are no cell/mobile phones, no internet. No Skype or FaceTime. Everything is done via landline and there would’ve been times when to make calls would’ve been incredibly expensive. Tracking someone down can take some time, especially when people work on remote cattle stations and can be out anywhere on the property.

There’s a lot about troubled family relationships here. Charlie had a difficult childhood – her orphaned cousin came to live with her family when Charlie was just a baby but the two of them never got along. Annabelle was spoiled, beautiful and wilful and had no interest in fostering a relationship with Charlie when she could compete with her and try and beat her in every which way. Charlie also wasn’t particularly close to her parents – her feckless father seemed to prefer Annabelle and her sensible, no nonsense mother saw to their needs without being warm and loving. After being betrayed in the worst of ways, Charlie left her home and hasn’t been back until now. Without Annabelle around any longer, it feels like Charlie might be able to finally carve out a place for herself where she grew up. Her mother needs help at the roadhouse, especially now. Charlie can tell that there are things that have been let go and that need work in order to bring the place back up to scratch. And after meeting Mike, a man who works on a nearby property, there might be even more reason to stick around.

The story revolving around Annabelle certainly went in some very unexpected ways and brought with it the sort of danger that would’ve been very unexpected. It was very much presented that one thing had happened to Annabelle, as strange as it seemed but it doesn’t take Charlie long to feel as though something is wrong with that story. There was a nice element of suspense later in the story as the danger and tension escalated around Charlie, the closer she got to the truth.

A good read, will definitely go back and read another Kerry McGinnis in the future.

8/10

Book #105 of 2020

The Roadhouse is the 34th book read for The Australian Women Writers Challenge 2020. Working towards my goal of 50 books.

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Review: Secrets Of The Springs by Kerry McGinnis

Secrets Of The Springs
Kerry McGinnis
Penguin Random House AUS
2017, 353p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

When Orla Macrae receives a letter asking her to return to the family cattle property where she grew up, she does so grudgingly. Her estranged uncle Palmer may be dying, but he is the last person she wants to see, not when she’s made a new life far away from where she lost so much. But on his deathbed he utters a few enigmatic words about a secret locked away and a clue as to its whereabouts. 

Intrigued, Orla decides to stay, reconnecting with old friends and taking a chance on a long-time dream of opening the homestead to tourists. Continuing the search for her uncle’s elusive secret, she discovers far more than she bargained for – a shocking truth about her parents’ marriage, and the confession of a chilling murder. 

Set in the stunning countryside north of the Barrier Ranges near Broken Hill, this is an authentic tale of life on the land and a gripping mystery about old family secrets and finding love in the harsh Australian bush.

This is the third Kerry McGinnis book that I’ve read and I’ve really enjoyed them all. They all have quite remote, very unusual settings. This one takes place near Broken Hill in very outback New South Wales and revolves around an old farming family. When she was still just a teenager, Orla left the home she was raised in after the death of her parents but a letter has summoned her back. Her former guardian, her uncle Palmer is dying and he has expressed a wish to see her before he dies. Although reluctant, Orla travels back from where she’s been living, mostly to put affairs in order. But a few muttered words from her uncle about an old secret have Orla rethinking her plans to leave as quickly as possible. Instead she finds more reasons than she could’ve imagined to stay.

Interestingly this book is set some time ago – around the late 1970s, so it takes some time for Orla to be found as she’s living on an island off the coast of South Australia. No one has cell/mobile phones and travel and communication is slower and more laborious. Technically it’s not that long ago but technology has come so far that it feels a very different time, in terms of communicating with people and also advertising and marketing a business.

After the death of her parents in a car accident, Orla went to live with her uncle Palmer, her father’s brother. He was not a demonstrative person and although he fed and clothed her, he didn’t show her affection or love and she got the feeling she was an inconvenience he couldn’t escape due to familial duty. Instead Orla found comfort and affection from her uncle’s cook/housekeeper who is still in residence when she arrives back when her uncle is dying. Also still working on the family farm is a man Orla once loved, a man she also left but it’s a love that’s so tied up in pain that she’s not even sure how to act around him.

This book was really way more than I expected in terms of mystery and intrigue. Orla had always thought the death of her parents was a tragic accident, until her dying uncle muttered a few words and then all of a sudden she found herself investigating what turned out to be a murder. I really enjoyed Orla returning to the town she grew up in, reconnecting with some of the locals, shunning some others and struggling with the desire to tidy things up and go versus the idea that maybe she could actually make her home here again. For financial reasons it makes no sense to sell the family farm and so she must come up with a way to make it profitable and her ideas are very good.

The romance in this is unusual but I found that it really worked for me. The beginning of it, before Orla fled, was certainly different and in the time that Orla has been gone, both her and Mark have known terrible grief and loss. They have something of a second chance, once Orla stops allowing her pain to hold him at arms length, almost like she’s punishing him. Orla, whether she likes it or not at the beginning, fits into this community. I felt that it really showed that she still belonged there, even after the time she’d spent away. Circumstances forced her back, forced her to address the aspects of her past that were so difficult for her and it just felt like she should always stay. Her ideas for how she can support herself are innovative and clever, making the most of herself and people she knows. She begins building relationships and friendships, links with people. I loved the setting as well. I’ve never been to Broken Hill or the surrounding area, it’s an interesting in town in that it is located in one state but actually shares more with another, including taking on the timezone of its neighbouring state. I haven’t read too many books set there or near there either so I really enjoyed being able to ‘visit’ somewhere new and learn a bit about what living there would be like.

I really enjoyed this and found it a refreshing take on the rural genre. The choice to set it in the past but not back in the early 1900s set it apart for me and I found the story riveting. I was invested in Orla’s attempts to unravel the mystery her uncle left as well as find her place. It reminded me that I have still a half dozen or so of Kerry McGinnis’ back catalogue to read and I really need to get around to fitting them in because I like her books so much.

8/10

Book #104 of 2017

Secrets Of The Springs is book #34 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017

 

 

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Review: Out Of Alice by Kerry McGinnis

Out of AliceOut Of Alice
Kerry McGinnis
Penguin Books AUS
2016, 382p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

From the bestselling author of Pieces of Blue and Wildhorse Creekcomes an evocative and heartfelt story about how in the remotest of places lives can be lost…and found.

When Sara Blake takes up a position as governess on Redhill Station in Central Australia, she isn’t expecting to encounter a family in crisis, or to uncover a tragedy of her own.

With the owners’ son critically ill, Sara is called upon to take care of their young daughter. As the family struggles to make a living from the drought-stricken land, everyone pitches in – and Sara finds herself letting people in to the empty spaces in her heart.

But the longer she spends out bush, the more she becomes plagued by elusive visions of her dark and troubled childhood. The fragments of memory lead her deep into the red centre of Australia, where at picturesque Kings Canyon she must confront the horrifying secrets of her past.

This is the second Kerry McGinnis novel I’ve read (the other being Tracking North) and I love her settings. She definitely puts the ‘rural’ into rural lit, choosing more remote locations. I’ve never been to the Northern Territory so I was really excited to read this one.

Sara’s journey from Mildura involves travelling to Alice Springs, then a bus trip to Charlotte Creek and then a drive of a couple of hours to Redhill Farm, owned by married couple Len and Beth. It’s a harsh landscape, one that can be very unforgiving. When Sara arrives to take up a position as a governess, the area is in the grip of drought and most of the concerns locally revolve around water – how to get more of it, where you might be able to sink a bore, how much you need to keep X many head of cattle alive and lastly and most importantly, when it might actually rain.

The remote location doesn’t bother Sara – she’s fleeing something and the further away from society the better. She feels surprised to feel at home in the bush, although it’s beginning to stir up memories that have been long suppressed. The longer she spends at Redhill, the more these memories creep in, making her question everything she’d ever been told about her childhood.

I love the setting and I think Kerry McGinnis did a fantastic job showcasing what life is like in such a remote location. Sara is stunned to find out that they’re not on the electricity grid (although having driven hours to get there from a tiny town, she probably shouldn’t have been), the mail comes once a week and the children do school using School of the Air. Sara’s primary role is governess to Becky, making sure she does her schoolwork and taking care of her when her mother has to take Becky’s brother Sam to Alice Springs for chemotherapy and treatments. Their father works long days maintaining the family property so Sara is occasionally in charge of cooking and doing a few other things but mostly she’s there to help Becky. Sara and Becky develop a very strong relationship – Becky often feels left out, a bit less valued and appreciated because she’s not sick. Sam is sick, so he gets a lot of extra attention and concern, particularly from his mother and I think this was a very sensitive look at what it might be like to be the healthy, but slightly ignored sibling, simply because they are so healthy and don’t require that extra attention, that careful watching. Being so remote, they do have to keep an eye on Sam and get on top of anything right away because they need the Flying Doctor to be able to get them to the hospital.

I was intrigued about the reason that had brought Sara to Redhill and was interested to see it play out. It wasn’t at all what I expected and although I did enjoy Sara rediscovering her memories and learning about her past, I still feel as though there were a few holes that weren’t really addressed as satisfactorily as I would’ve liked. It required a bit of a stretch of the imagination at times. I found that as it unfolded, I lost interest in it a bit – it was more interesting when it was still a mystery than when some of those major things were revealed.

My favourite part of the book I think was the friendship between Jack, brother of Beth who helps out on Redhill a lot and Sara. It’s very understated, something that is allowed to develop and mature slowly over the course of the book. Sara comes to place a lot of trust in him and I loved the way in which they became so close. Jack was a great character, a real ‘jack of all trades’ and one of the first to welcome Sara to the new area and help her out when she realised just how isolated the place she’d arrived in was. She confides in him when her memories start to return and he’s quite protective of her when a stranger comes looking for.

All in all, this was a good read, something that easily occupied me for an afternoon.

7/10

Book #57 of 2016

AWWC2016

Out Of Alice is book #22 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016

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Review: Tracking North – Kerry McGinnis With Author Q&A

Tracking NorthTracking North
Kerry McGinnis
Penguin Books AUS
2014, 346p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Kelly Roberts lives with her husband on a huge spread in the remote cattle country in northern Australia. This has been her life since she left home at eighteen and boarded a bus. She worked as a ringer/jillaroo and there she met Bob, a skilled horseman who knew his place in the world and how to do his job. Together they had two children, raising them on properties. When tragedy strikes, Kelly takes her two children to her father-in-law’s property. Bob was long estranged from his father but both Kelly and her father-in-law Quinn believe that they can start over again and heal the rift.

At the property Evergreen Springs, Quinn has been slowly turning it into a camping ground for tourists and Kelly, as part owner of the property, isn’t sure that they should be splashing so much money around without having much of an idea about the return. She has the children to think of – both of them have been schooled by the School of the Air but her eldest Rob will soon either need to go to boarding school or board in town with a local and attend the high school. Kelly doesn’t want to leave Evergreen Springs but the reality is, she may need to move to town and get a job so that she can afford to send the children to school. Quinn convinces her to give six months on the property a go and see if she can sees them making a proper go of it. The tourists are coming – their land has a creek, a perfect camping ground and Quinn makes sure that there’s always plenty to do and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables to sell them. In his mind it’s the perfect business, they just need to nurture it and watch it grow.

Then Rob makes a sinister discovery in the bush and Kelly realises that danger lurks not too far away from the peaceful property they have made their home.

Tracking North is the first book I’ve read from Kerry McGinnis and it’s set in the Gulf Country, the north-west region of Queensland that is wedged between the Cape of York and Arnhem Land and fronts onto the Gulf of Carpentaria. The setting is beautiful. So much time is devoted to describing the properties, the isolation, the types of buildings the characters live in and the improvements they use. They live without grid electricity, using wood stoves for cooking and heating until Quinn rigs up a generator to light the buildings. In the Wet season they can be cut off from town for weeks if the roads flood or just the sheer amount of rain makes them impossible to navigate without being bogged. The children have a lovely freedom that’s somewhat reminiscent of the Mary Grant Bruce Billabong series that I loved so much as a kid – riding their ponies, helping out with chores, doing some lessons and growing vegetables etc until they head either to boarding school or into town at 12/13 years old to go to high school.

The story is so enjoyable, I found myself sinking into it with absolutely nothing distracting me. Kelly is having to ‘start over’ after a tragic loss. She’s had to uproot her children and change their lives and they’ve lost someone who was most important to them. Her son is growing into a man, fighting against her restrictions and she longs to hold him closer for just a little longer, keep him her baby. But he’s been raised in the bush to be independent, to be capable and strong and she knows that she needs to let him have his freedom, keep growing up and developing and learning things. They are all capable really – Kelly is used to isolated life having lived it with Bob for well over a decade. She can cook, keep a garden and is not afraid of hard work. She can read the weather and knows what the patterns mean.

I’m not cut out for that sort of life (am far too precious to give up my indoor plumbing, laptop, cable TV etc) but I love reading about it. McGinnis paints a lovely sense of community as well, detailing the local events and the way they welcome each other’s children into their homes, often for weeks at a time (or to board semi-permanently). She also capitalises on the remoteness of the Gulf to work in a story of a mystery aircraft and what it might possibly be up to. There’s also the small possibility of a new future for Kelly as well and all of these strands work together quite effortlessly, woven into one cohesive and enjoyable story. I loved the character of Quinn – a tough old bushman, no education to speak of but possessed of a very different sort of knowledge and skilled in all sorts of bush and rural trades plus he turned out to be much wilier than anyone, especially Kelly assumed. Quinn definitely added a certain spark to the story and it was fantastic watching his relationships with the children grow as they got to know each other.

Tracking North is a wonderful story and Kerry McGinnis has obviously used her extensive knowledge of the area and also remote cattle property living to craft it. I am definitely adding her other books to my TBR list.

8/10

Book #65 of 2014

AWWW2014

Tracking North is book #25 for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014

Kerry McGinnis

[photo credit]

Thanks to the lovely people at Penguin Books AUS, I was offered the chance to ask Kerry McGinnis a few questions on writing and life in the north.

Q1. Hi Kerry and welcome to my blog. Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for me. Firstly how did you get started writing and what was the road to publication like for you? 

I have been writing  since I was 9. I  started with  the old Women’s Own mag, circa  1954.  It  had a double  page  spread  called The Picaninnies’  Page (very politically incorrect, but hey! it was back in  the Dark Ages.) I used to write little stories, and produce anagrams for it. One year I earned 10 shillings ($1) but they only paid about a shilling (10 cents) or 1/6 pence (15 cents) a piece, so 10 shillings was quite a lot of work. I started freelancing in the 60’s –bush/stock stories, then went on to city papers like the Sydney Morning Herald and The Bulletin. I wrote a monthly column for Blue’s Country (T’ville) for some years, and won a handful of short story competitions then was published in Meanjin. That was just before my first book came out: the autobiography Pieces of Blue. That was the year 2000 so you can see it wasn’t by any means instant success.

Q2. Share a little about your writing routine: do you write  full time or balance it with other work? Do you have a favourite place to write (such as a study or café) and is there anything you consider essential to the creative process, such as music or coffee?

Nowadays  I  write  something  most  days.  That  wasn’t  always  possible  in  my previous life but I’m now retired so my time is my own. I write on a computer. I started with  scrap paper and a pencil but we all have  to move with  the  times. I write at my desk at home and like to do at least a thousand words a day. I do best on my  own without  distractions and wouldn’t  have  coffee in the same  room as my computer.

Q3. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A  bit  of  both. I  start  with a  general  outline  and then things  happen  as  my characters  develop. The  background  mostly decides  the  plot (what  is  possible within the constraints of the country and the weather pattern).  The subconscious is also a great help. I often go to sleep at night wondering, what next? And wake up with  the  so  obvious  answer  that  hadn’t occurred  to me before. The  country itself seems to work on the characters so that they evolve into what’s needed to handle their settings.

Q4.  I’ve  never  been  further  west  than  Dubbo  or  further  north  than Maroochydoore  and  I  thought  your  setting  was  beautiful!  What  can  you share about spending time in the Gulf Country?

You have to love it or you wouldn’t be there. It is a hard land, nothing is easy and  it takes self‐reliant people  to  live  there  year round.  Summer’s  are awful – very hot, very humid, far too many insect pests, and a good Wet Season isolates the station properties for up  to 3  months.  That’s a long time without  mail or visitors. Also the so‐called Computer Super Highway is more like a goat track. The tyranny  of distance  is  still  a  problem,  and  freight  is  terribly  expensive.  But  the country is beautiful ‐ vast, rugged and slightly dangerous (saltwater crocs); great fishing, great birdlife, great people.

Q5.  I  adored  the  character  of  Quinn  –  I  found  him  almost  like  a  little  fairy godfather, skilled in so many ways and determined  to make amends. Where did the inspiration for him come from?

He’s a compilation of many old bushmen I’ve met ‐ miners, station hands and boundary riders. All were as capable as Quinn, able to turn their hand to anything. Build  a  fence,  a  yard,  a  dwelling – tie  knots,  grow  things,  butcher  animals, fix engines,  bake bread. These were the necessary skills of their existence, only remarkable if a man didn’t have them.

Q6. If you won an all‐expenses paid holiday, where in the world would you go?

Maybe to Ireland to have a look at where my family originated. They came out as convicts in  the Second Fleet, all 6 of  them, starving Irish  thieves according  to the records. And France – Paris; then a tour of the beautiful gardens dotted across the country.

Q7. What do you like to do to relax away from the keyboard?

I read a lot, do crosswords. I garden, take daily walks and bird watch, go to the gym.

Q8. Share five of your favourite books and/or authors.

Robin  Hobb,  Reginald  Hill,  Harlen  Coban,  Dorothy  Dunnett,  William Shakespeare are all current  favourites. They all use language superbly, conjuring stories like master magicians. I like Hobb’s imagination, Hill’s knowledge of words, Coben’s immediacy and mastery of pace, Dunnett’s ability to handle hundreds of characters, and I just love Shakespeare’s tragedies and Sonnetts.

Q9. And lastly….what’s next for you?

Another bush  book.  I’m  working  on  it  now.  And  someday  I’d  really  like  to publish a fantasy novel.

****

Thanks so much for your time Kerry – I’m looking forward to your next rural novel.

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