Categories
Outback Travel

This Time Last Year

This Time Last Year.

Last year we were in outback New South Wales and Queensland. Most years during the winter months we take off to someplace other than Canberra. This is not, as people assume, to escape Canberra’s cold, (although it is partly) but because the only time to enjoy outback travel is in cooler weather.

Way back, we tented, then for many years we travelled in our camper trailer. Now we are more comfortable and have a little more space in our off-road caravan, tiny though it is. So, by this time last year, we had visited the quirky outback town of Lightning Ridge with its artworks and opals and thermal pool. Then in Queensland, there was a visit to the amazing cattle saleyards at Roma and on to Carnarvon Gorge with its towering cliffs and rainforest.

After visiting precious family in Brisbane we flew to Mackay to spend time with special friends there. Then we headed homeward via Lamington National Park and down the coast to Iluka and Forster.

Along the way, there were so many little rural towns, each with something special to share with visitors.

With travel restrictions due to Corona Virus, this would not have been possible this year. Certainly we could not travel to Queensland and it is doubtful whether many of the other places where we stayed would have been open.

But next year will be different! The planning is already underway for some very remote travel, some of it to places where the caravan won’t be able to go. (That means a swag.) I cannot wait!

Categories
Reading books

Do I have to finish reading this book?

Do I have to finish reading this book?

I’m halfway through reading a book which shall remain nameless. The book was a gift, and I want to discuss it with the giver. Written by a highly regarded author, it is cleverly constructed and beautifully crafted. However, after reading Girl Woman Other and vicariously living the fraught lives of a multitude of amazing women, I am finding my current read equally exhausting and frustrating. I have just shared a character’s rape, abortion, her teetering on the edge of alcoholism, and now her abusive marriage. There have been the deaths of babies and of children, wartime death and maiming, and the vulnerability of women. It is heartbreaking. When I put the book down, I feel sad and depressed, especially as the nightly news brings us hatred and savagery and the killing of women by their partners.

Instead, I think I will re-read Who We Were by B R Carroll, with its scrumptious cover. There is darkness there too, but it is a delight to see how the author has created a cast of characters – former classmates – with their differing experiences and memories of school days.

Another book which has been sitting on my desk trying to catch my attention is Favel Parrett’s There Was Still Love. There is war behind this story too, but I have heard Favel talk about her book with love and warmth. It will be a welcome relief.

The time to go back and finish the unnamed book may be when life assumes its ‘new normal’.

 

Categories
Writing Novels

Second novel – is it any easier?

Second novel – is it any easier?

I am often asked this – having written one novel, was the second one less difficult to write? The answer of course is – yes and no. Yes, because you know that you did succeed in creating a lengthy piece of writing. And most rewarding – and therefore inspiring – was the positive response from readers who loved the book.

As an independently published author, I was familiar with the process of printing the book, especially as I used the same printing firm as previously (Bytes n Colours, Canberra). Their advice to use a typesetter the second time made the process so less fraught. (There were still many decisions to be made, of course.)

However, I suspect the actual process of writing never gets easier. Every book is its own entity and demands that consistent hard slog. I am somewhere between a plotter and a pantser, so although I have an overall concept and overarching story arc, I don’t know how the story will unfold. That is unsettling until that magic moment when my characters take charge and decide where their story will take us. I would like to think the ability to relax into this expectation might become easier with ensuing books.

So, as I mull over book number three, I have to admit every book is hard, but as the story moves along and characters develop, I would like to think it does become easier.