The past weekend was one of memories for me. A visit to the area I spent many of my growing-up years had me recalling summers spent swimming in rivers and dams, past friends, and family life. It also reminded me of the influence that time has had on my writing. North East Victoria—Beechworth, the Snowy Mountains, and the flood plains of the Ovens River—have influenced settings and characters in all of my books.
One of the things I loved was the time I spent in the snowy mountains doing bush walks, school camps, and I once lived in a remote bush camp for a week. When I started writing Roses, these experiences manifested themselves in Beth’s love of the Victorian high country and the time she spent there with her parents. It still calls to her, as it does to me.
The call of the high country has been written about since white people first arrived in the mountains. There is, of course the poetry, including Banjo Paterson’s famous ‘The Man from Snowy River’, and songs and stories. These romanticised the region, but my experiences of being there lived up to it. It is a beautiful, and to me spiritual, place.
Beth will return this beautiful location in a future White Rose book. I found a lot to inspire me during the short visit, and I’m looking forward to putting it to good use! The drive out to Fletchers Dam was particularly inspiring with the mix of native bush and pine plantations. There were narrow tracks leading off into the bush and a maze of forest roads. So much potential for a story.
I’m looking forward to writing a story set in Australia, and in a region I know. Drawing on my own experiences and knowledge will be fun, and potentially dangerous for my characters! First, however, I have a different project to finish, and then Beth can return to the mountains she loves.
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