When I decided to write my first novel, ‘Inheritance’ I had been up in far north Queensland for several months, and had come to love the area. We were based at a little place called Flying Fish Point, a few kilometres east of Innisfail, bounded by the mouth of the Johnstone River on one side and the ocean on another.
A glorious place, where the forest is lush and deep green, the golden beach is long, and the cerulean sea and sky almost seem to merge.
From here we made trips to the Daintree rainforest, to the huge plateau of the Tablelands, up to Cairns, Port Douglas and as far north as Cooktown. All wonderful places. And wonder of them all, we went snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.
But there was a downside to this paradise, for we were all aware that in the waters of the Johnstone River and the myriad creeks and rivers nearby lived that most fearsome of creatures, the saltwater crocodile.
I knew my book had to be set in this superb place, and in such a place the story needed to have elements of adventure, and mystery, and to reveal something of the soul of the place. It should also include some of the lore of the aboriginal people who were the original inhabitants of the land.
I set the story on Yallandoo, a cattle station. But I was born and bred a city girl, with little knowledge of cattle stations, or how to brand a steer, or rodeos, or aboriginal culture and spiritual beliefs, and their burial rites. Or the habits of crocodiles.
What I do know a lot about is life, people, and human nature. The rest I had to research.
That included how to brand a steer, how points are allotted at a rodeo, the Aboriginal Dreamtime, how immigrants to the Snowy River scheme were housed on arrival, how a fire is fought without piped water.
And just how dangerous is the “saltie”, as the local crocs are called? I found the answer to that one is “very dangerous”!
I had the most wonderful time for weeks and months, delving into all these fascinating subjects – in books and papers, in libraries, and on the internet. I love research, but I am so easily led from my subject into interesting by-ways, which runs away with the time!
I have tried to keep things authentic, and if you pick up any irregularities in the facts of the story, you must blame it on the fact I’m really just a city girl!
Once I started writing my characters dictated the story, as they always do, but when Inheritance was published I was apprehensive about what readers would think of it. Had I done a good enough job?
Inheritance is available as an Ebook in all formats from all online e-tailers, and in your local library as a print book. If you read it I would be grateful if will you let me know what you think.