Can you believe it is nearly September? Spring is already here judging by the blossoms and birds. This morning there is a warmth in the air that tells me it won’t be long before the cold days of winter are a distant memory.
Memories are funny things. They can be slippery and foggy and hard to grasp sometimes. Other times they are as rich and true as the day you experienced those moments. Sometimes, you smell a scent or hear a sound and you are transported right back to that time and place.
Sometimes you can almost see a memory, you know it’s there, but you can’t quite grasp it. I call these ‘feeling memories’. You know there was a place and a time and you, but it’s misty and distant. It’s the emotions and the senses that you hold onto.
Occasionally, I will hear the background hum of traffic on the main road that is way down at the end of our street and I am suddenly 18 years old and living in Adelaide for Uni, the possibilities of my future humming with that traffic. Sometimes I walk past particular trees and I am 3 years old and back at the beach with my parents, dancing in the waves upon the sand.
I am a collector of memories. I keep special concert tickets and old diaries and letters. I gather china animals and vintage teapots and cups and saucers. I find interesting artefacts and collectibles. I pick up stones and feathers and shells. My walls are covered in art, some by me and my children, some from op-shops and secondhand markets. My book shelves are stuffed full with old books from my childhood and my children’s younger years, and many new Australian authors books. I surround myself with stories and memories and moments.
Memories and history are central to The Rebels of Mount Buffalo. My research involved many months of searching online in places like Trove and in state library collections, reading books, websites and other resources, interviewing many people, and using Google maps and videos to walk the mountain when border closures prevented me from travelling.
When I finally was able to go to Mount Buffalo, I felt as if I had been there before, all of those stories and all of that research creating memories inside of me that were as strong as if I had lived those stories too. In many ways, this book is for all those people who hold a special place in their hearts and memories for Mount Buffalo, and for those who are yet to discover its magic.
There were many important people I discovered in my research. I interviewed award-winning author Andrea Rowe, who gave me so much insight into her years living and working and loving on the mountain. She met and married her ranger husband at Mount Buffalo and managed the Centenary projects for the national park. They even have a role to play in the book! Here is what Andrea has to say about The Rebels of Mount Buffalo.
There were lots of people eager to share stories of generations in their family who had spent their holidays at The Chalet. One of the most special was meeting Anne, the granddaughter of Alice Manfield. Not only was she a treasure of stories and history about Alice and her family, but she is a treasure of a human being, who I am now lucky to have as a friend. She read the very early drafts and has now finished reading the Advance Reader Copy. Here is what Anne has to say about the book. An emotional moment indeed to read these words and there could be no higher endorsment than this one… Looking forward to being with Anne and the many other people supporting my book in October as we launch Clara and Alice and their adventure in time to the world!
Writing a book is a solitary pursuit. There are days where you live in the world of your characters and hardly notice anyone else. As a writer of historical fiction, there are also days where you get to walk the places your characters walk, listen to stories of others who have walked there too, hold onto moments and memories of lives well lived, and in this case, even meet relatives of the inspiration behind your story. This endorsment means the world to me and I feel lucky to have been able to find Anne, and to have her support in writing this story inspired by and featuring her grandmother, Guide Alice.
If you are in the area or would love to come and join us and have a little mid-week break, here are the details for the launch at The Mount Buffalo Chalet
There will be an Adelaide launch on 29th October with details coming soon, as well as other events in the North East Victoria region. We are just finalising the details and I will be back when those are all locked in.
WIN a Copy!
If you would like to win a signed copy of The Rebels of Mount Buffalo, keep your eye on my social media and Yellow Brick Books/Riveted Press. We will be running a couple of comps over September. There is also one running at the moment in partnership with The Chalet Facebook page, and there will be 4 winners. So, if you have ever visited The Chalet and have a memory to share, hop here to enter.
I hope you are well and making memories to treasure. Look forward to perhaps meeting you soon and sharing some stories over a cuppa.