Currawong Manor has been receiving some very positive early reviews:
Academic, columnist and author, Karen Brooks’s review you can read in full HERE:
The settings are richly and beautifully drawn. You can smell the flowers, feel the cold press of the snow or the dewy warmth of a humid summer. Likewise, as the mystery unravels, you can feel the whispers of the past and the weight of guilt that hangs upon those who carry their secrets, determined to protect themselves and others. Like the birds that occasionally darken the eaves of the house, doom walks through the pages and reading Currawong Manor becomes a visceral experience – at once exciting and dramatic. A Gothic treat for lovers of mystery, family dramas, history and suspense.
Shelleyrae at Book’d Out says:
An impressively crafted literary story, Currawong Manor is an absorbing and dramatic tale. Full review HERE
Kathleen Easson at Aussie Mum Network:
There is more than one mystery to be solved within these pages. The book contains hints of Agatha Christie, the kitchen and garden of Sunday Reed and subtle references to various famous artists including Norman Lindsay. I could not put this book down, it was an enjoyable and easy read. I look forward to further works by this author. Full review HERE
A reminder that on Tuesday 24th June, I’m talking at Newtown Library with Gayle Donaldson and so hope to see you there if you live locally. You can book tickets for this event. HERE.
And I made a video where I’m talking about some of the inspirations behind Currawong Manor including my brief meeting with Pearl Goldman, Norman Lindsay’s life model and muse. I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to share with any people you think might be interested in the book.
Keep yourself creative.
In Love and Light
Over the next two weeks, I’m going to post a couple of Youtube clips I made for Currawong Manor. This first one is a peek at the palette of the book that I was working with. Next week, I’ll post a video where I’ll talk about some of the different inspirations for the book. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the world of my gothic mystery. If you feel like sharing it with kindred spirits in your online life, I’ll be most grateful.
Love and Light,
Being a visual person, I love
Pinterest for collecting images to help me when I’m working on a book. The
Scorpionic side of me also relishes the fact you can have secret boards as well.
With Currawong Manor nearly due to hit the shelves, I thought I’d share a few of
my inspiration images for Currawong Manor. They’re not meant to be literal, but
they help me with the palette of the work.
I’ll unlock my Currawong
Manor board on Pinterest when the book has been out for awhile, but for now
here’s a bit of a sneak preview. I also use my own personal photographs a lot
from the location I’m working with and I’ll share some of those very
Stay tuned for an updated website and a giveaway to celebrate Currawong Manor’s publication. Love and Light,
Thanks to everyone who has booked for my High Tea at Better Read Than Dead in June.There’s only a few places left, so if you live locally please book promptly. If you can’t make the High Tea, I’ll be talking at the Newtown Library a couple of nights afterwards. Booking information can be found here.
Just a reminder that on the 21st of June at 3pm I’ll be the guest of a High Tea at Better Read than Dead bookstore in Newtown to discuss murder, mystery, creativity and other engrossing topics.
And on the 24th of June, at 6.30 pm, I’m at Newtown Library to take you behind the scenes of my world of Currawong Manor. Would love to see your friendly face at either or both these events – so please ensure tickets by booking.Details of both and booking information can be found HERE.
Lately I feel like Toad from Wind In The Willows. I’ve recently moved over from WordPress.com to WordPress.org and being a total Toot, Toot Technophobic, I’m finding it a challenge. I feel as if I’ve swapped my comfortable cruisy car that I’ve tooted along in over the years for a spaceship where I can barely fathom the controls. Hopefully I’m going to be able to work out how to even post this journal. Despite all the stimulation to be discovered online, I must confess I do yearn for the time when writers could just write and not have to fathom the mysterious intricacies of our technological age. I know WordPress.org claim Code is Poetry, but give me Mary Oliver or Keats any day.
I’ve had my daughter home for a fortnight’s holidays and we’ve enjoyed a few jaunts around Sydney and into the mountains to see the Autumn leaves fall. Staying home on holidays is always a good chance to rediscover Sydney. I feel very fortunate to live in an urban inner-city area surrounded by so much bush land. We’ve enjoyed exploring islands around the harbour where we’ve escaped the crowds and enjoyed panoramic views of the cityscape amongst pine and oak trees surrounding silver-grey Sydney Harbour. Such bliss to read a good book with million dollar views to reflect upon. You can hear the echo of long-ago and lost-to-time picnics and imagine the cries of children as they explored the leafy island. I could sense the deep sigh of relief as dusk falls and the ferry arrives to collect the few tourists and the ghosts begin to dance.
Life is filled with change and I feel that Autumn, a transitional time, is heralding a new season for me as well.
Watch this space for future changes. The Autumn light has been golden and mellow. I love this season as we bid farewell to Sydney’s humidity. I am busy planning my new mystery novel which I am very excited about as it’s been coming together wonderfully well. I also have ideas for a crime series I am very, very excited about. I’ve been mulling this one over for a few years.
A busy month filled with activity. In Australia we bid farewell to Summer and welcomed Autumn.
In Germany my Currawong Manor was released. It’s German title is Sturmtochter which translates most poetically to Daughters of the Storm. I hope that my world of Currawong Manor is enjoyed as much as Poet’s Cottage was received there.
In the mail I not only had the delightful pleasure of my receiving my beautiful copies of Sturmtochter, but also Poet’s Cottage (Dornen Tochter) in another edition with its SPIEGEL Bestseller tag.
Just yesterday at the seaside after my daughter’s netball, I spotted a gentleman who sparked a character and an entire addition to a book I have been mulling over for years came to me. Luckily I had my notebook and I began sketching and writing ideas that came to me as I studied him. My husband walking past this unsuspecting man engaged in a brief conversation which was reported back. Strangely enough, notes I had taken regarding his culture, his appearance etc were proven accurate. Plus, he said a most intriguing sentence to David which I can definitely use in the book. I was surprised by the speed of the information triggered by this gentleman that came to me. You must always carry a notebook! More on notebooks in another post.
And here is a shot of my Currawong Manor edit for the Australian version.
And my stunningly beautiful Australian cover for Currawong Manor has now been revealed. I love it so much as it really conveys the darkness and mystery in the books. So happy with my Australian covers for both my mysteries from Pan Macmillan.
Currawong Manor will be released in Australia in June. You can read a synopsis HERE.
In July on the 26th at 3pm, I am going to be at Better Read than Dead in Newtown for a High Tea to discuss murder, mystery, and creativity over cupcakes and tea. If you live locally I would love to see you there.
In Love and Light
Author Neil Gaiman called Hobart one of ‘the fine secret places of the earth’.
Back in the 1920’s Agatha Christie on her world tour similarly declared Hobart to be incredibly beautiful with its deep blue sea and harbour and expressed her hopes she would return to live there one day.
It always takes me ages to recover from my trips home to Tasmania as predictably, I always want to stay. This January I visited to research material for my next mystery novel which is once again set in Tasmania.
It’s early days. But I have a title, opening and closing scenes, an idea that has been brewing away for a few years, and a palette of colours I want to work with. A few characters are stirring and introducing themselves. Once again, I find myself scribbling notes furiously in a notebook in a charming Tasmanian cottage. Here I am at the front of the aptly named Bridge Cottage at Richmond, where we spent a few days recently as I soaked up the atmosphere of this pretty, historic village. The light and shadows in Richmond were perfect for my book.
When I wasn’t at Bridge Cottage, I was lying in the shade of a tree by the river, sharing the shade with the river geese, ducks and Tasmanian native hens. (Tasmania was in a heatwave which was fortunate as this book is set in a sizzling Tasmanian summer). I spent pleasurable hours staring up at this perfect blue and canopy of greenery as scenes unravelled themselves.
Another photo of Bridge Cottage
I was reminded of our last visit to Richmond, when we were thrilled to spot author Christopher Koch in a local cafe. Koch, as you are probably aware, died September 2013.
Richmond is perfect for a writer with its peaceful atmosphere and plethora of Georgian buildings. It reminds me a lot of Oatlands, the midlands village where I spent a lot of my childhood. Oatlands has more Georgian buildings, but Richmond is nearer to Hobart, only a 20 minute drive from the city centre. You can read more on Richmond Village HERE.
We toured Richmond Gaol, always a poignant experience. You have to spend some time alone in a darkened cell to imagine the hellish conditions the prisoners were subject to.
Some of the inmate’s stories are most Dickensian. Isaac (Ikey) Solomon, a Javelin Man in Richmond Gaol 1831-1834, was believed to have inspired the character of Fagin in Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist. Ikey came from Bell Lane, Spitafields, where along with his wife Ann, he set up a jewellers’ shop, receiving stolen goods. He was known as The Prince of Thieves. Ann was sentenced to transportation to Australia for 14 years and became the mistress of ex-convict George Madden. Ann was never reconciled with Ikey. You can read more about Ikey’s flamboyant life HERE.
Convict-built beautiful sandstone Richmond Bridge built between 1823-1825 also has a wonderfully Gothic tale. George Grover was an extremely cruel overseer and flagellator of the convict road crew working on the bridge. He was known for his harsh punishments and numerous floggings. Grover met his destiny in March 1832 when he had been drinking hard and passed out on the bridge. When some prisoners came upon him, they took the opportunity to heave him over. His ghost is said to walk the bridge and on dark nights if you glimpse only a shadow behind you, you would be well-pressed to leave the bridge quickly. Sometimes it’s only the cruel Flagellator’s footsteps that are heard in the silent village as you cross the bridge.
Grover’s dog is also said to haunt the bridge, although why the dog has been linked with Grover remains unclear. But several witnesses have claimed to see the spirit dog described as a big black dog, also prowling the bridge. Interestingly enough, mainly women and children see the spirit dog. Richmond Bridge was originally called Bigge’s Bridge and is Australia’s oldest bridge.
I am slightly saddened to admit I did not see any ghosts apart from one Daisy photo ghost, but I did fill a notebook with loads of ideas, I took close to 400 photos for inspiration to refer to when I’m spending the next few years working on the book. Of course there’s always plenty of charming historic houses to fall in love with in the village streets.
And I could see myself quite happily retiring to live in Grannie Rhode’s exquisite cottage where I could have my chickens, grow herbs and make friends with the garden fairies.
But it’s not all about the historic houses, Gothic ghost stories, and convict tales in the state. Culturally the State is really smoking with MONA which is always worth a mind-expanding trip. The Red Queen was the current show, but I’m always happy to simply wander around MONA and take in the stimulation of this amazing eclectic surreal wonderland. Here are a few photos from MONA of pieces I particularly liked on this visit.
I really love the way David Walsh has installed his temple in the suburbs and his car parking space made me smile. His car was parked in the space allocated to God and there is another space for God’s Mistress (as David pointed out the God’s Mistress space was empty).
Aside from MONA, you can be visually stimulated by the fabulous Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery near the picturesque wharf. I loved several of the displays here.
And enjoy a punnet of my favourite Tasmanian snack (with the exception of the Tasmanian pink-eye potato)
The scenery wherever you go is spectacular. Hobart seemed to shimmer and sparkle more than ever on this trip.
Thank you for visiting me. There are more photographs on my personal and Author Facebook pages. Also on Instagram.
May 2014 bring to you all the creative joy and blessings you could wish for. It’s going to be a big year for me. My mystery novel Currawong Manor will be released here in June and earlier in Germany.
I am currently doing another draft on a historical crime manuscript I’ve been working on for years. Then I shall begin some more intensive character development for my Tasmanian mystery.
One final glimpse of the wild Tasmanian sea.
Tasmania my Muse. Home. And if 2014 hasn’t got off to the start you, take heart and strength from the wonderful Gregory Peck. ‘Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.’