Welcome to the author interview of Australian Author, Tricia Stringer.
Tricia has published five titles to date, with more on the way. I was lucky enough to get a copy of her newest book Heart of the Country from Harlequin. I haven’t got to it yet, but it sounds exciting.
Synopsis: Heart of the Country is the first book in an epic historical saga of three Australian families. Spanning several generations, this epic tells the story of the Baker, Smith and Wiltshire families forging their paths in a land both beautiful and unforgiving.
Lives are intertwined by love and community then ripped apart by hate and greed but remain always bound to the land they love…
1846. Newly arrived from England, Thomas Baker is young, penniless and alone. Eager to make his mark on this strange new place called South Australia, he accepts work as an overseer on a distant sheep property, believing this will be the opportunity he seeks. But when Thomas’s path crosses that of ex-convict, Septimus Wiltshire — a grasping con man hell bent on making a new life for himself and his family at any price — trouble is on the horizon.
But Thomas is made of stern stuff and his fortunes take a turn for the better when he meets spirited farmer’s daughter Lizzie Smith, and soon he envisages their future together.
But this land is like no other he has encountered: both harsh and lovely, it breaks all but the strongest. When his nemesis intervenes once more and drought comes, Thomas finds himself tested almost beyond endurance with the risk of losing everything he and Lizzie have worked for… even their lives.
So keep an eye out for my review in the coming weeks 🙂
Now, on with the interview:
- Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I started writing local history stories for the children I taught. The more I tried the more I realised I needed to learn so I did a children’s writing course. The first of many courses, workshops, and classes but it was that original course that had me hooked and changed my dabbling to a love of writing. It was a natural progression for me to expand to stories for adults.
- What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Organisational skills, maintaining a network with other writers, building in a daily routine of fresh air and exercise, reading simply for pleasure, having a non writing hobby, knowing when you’ve had enough coffee and wine. Sounds good in theory.
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Family is no. 1 for me. My children live all over the country so it’s precious moments to chat or actually spend time together. My husband and I also like to do short trips away from home catching up with friends. I love to walk on the beach and I’ve always got something crafty on the go. I’ve done so many things over the years. My hall cupboards are a testament to many phases but my original sewing machine is still my most treasured crafty item.
- A psychic has just told you about your past life. Who were you?
Grace Kelly – charming, gracious, she got to have fun with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra in High Society then married her Prince Charming.
- You are now in charge of the dictionary and need to remove five unwanted, overused or otherwise irritating words from our language. Which do you choose and why?
I only have one –
Surreal – it gets overused, especially by celebrities.
- If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do what makes your heart sing.
- What is your favourite character from one of your books? Why?
Lizzie from Heart of the Country. She’s a strong and loyal partner for Thomas and she says the funniest things sometimes. She has some terrible things happen to her but she soldiers on. She looks on the bright side of life through the toughest of times. I really admire her.
- Your new best friend is a character from a book you’ve read. Who will it be, what book, and why?
Lexie Rogers from Sinister Intent by Karen M. Davis. Lexie is a Sydney cop who’s seen a lot. She’s tough but not unrealistically. She has a vulnerable side. She’s had some trauma but remains steadfast in her work. She falls in love with another cop but I think she could also do with a close female friend. That would be me.
- At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
A couple of years ago I jumped out of a perfectly good plane. (With a parachute and strapped to a dive instructor of course). It was one of the scariest and most exhilarating things I’ve ever done. I loved it.
- Tell us about your writing style. Do you sit down and write for large blocks of time or do you flit around on different projects? Why do you think this is?
I can easily procrastinate so I sit down every week day morning with a goal to write 2000 words on my current manuscript. Sometimes I can do it quickly, other times not but it means I have whatever time is left in the afternoon to do other writing related activities.
- What genre would you like to try your hand at and why?
Women’s commercial fiction. There aren’t many stories with the over fifties as main characters, exploring the world, falling in or out of love, living life to the full.
- Your all-time favourite book?
- Tell us about your writing space (study, cafe, office?)
My husband and I were lucky enough to build our own home two years ago. I have a purpose built study, with lots of bookshelves and a good desk space. I have my book posters and my perpetual planner on the wall above my computer and all my writing tools at my fingertips. It’s a sunny room looking over the garden and also has a sofa bed and a television so can be used as an extra space when the family are all home together or a good hidey hole for me to relax in when I’m conjuring up some new ideas.
- What is your favourite scene from your books?
I love the scene in Heart of the Country where Thomas sees the Flinders Ranges for the first time. The land has just been drenched in a torrential downpour so the creeks are flowing, the sun is rising, changing the colours of the mountains and a couple of eagles soar overhead. It’s a magnificent sight he wishes he could paint. I’ve seen it, I know how he feels.
- What ‘must read’ books would you recommend for people to read?”
I read almost anything. My must read suggestions are always the most recent books I’ve read and enjoyed – Runaway Lies by Shannon Curtis, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, Seasons of Shadow and Light by Jenn J. McLeod, Sinister Intent by Karen M Davis, The Burial by Courtney Collins and The Lost Swimmer by Ann Turner.
- Do you think e-book readers will eventually supersede books?
Not in my lifetime. So many people across age ranges tell me they still love to hold a book in their hands but who knows what the future will bring – perhaps an ebook that is a virtual book in your hands.
- If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
- If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. Who would it be and why?
Julie Bishop –she’s a fantastic role model. I think it would be terrifying to walk in her shoes but fascinating at the same time.
- What would you say is your primary source of inspiration?
Australian settings. Wherever I go the landscape and the people that live in it inspire me. If I immerse myself in the setting, the characters form and the story ideas flow.
- If you were in a fight to the death, ‘The Hunger Games’ style, what would be your weapon of choice?
A stock whip. So much you can do with it without getting close.
- Tell us about a vivid childhood memory.
Happiest – so many. Growing up on a farm was the best childhood. I was always outside, building something, driving something, climbing something, riding something – such great times.
Scariest – attempted abduction on a street in Adelaide in broad daylight.
- In light of the current trend for books about the Paranormal, what sort of paranormal being would you like to be and why?
I would be a half-angel from the pages of Paula Weston’s The Rephaim series. They’re young and sexy, have long life, strength, can shift and live in contemporary urban Australia. That’s the kind of paranormal I like.
Thanks so much, Tricia for taking part in the interview 🙂
Have you read anything by Tricia? Or perhaps one of the books she suggested as ‘Must read’? I have Burial Rites and The Lost Swimmer on my TBR. 🙂