Being a writer can be a solitary affair with hours upon hours at the keyboard trying to perfect the next story. As with any profession, it’s nice to meet and get to know others in the same field and I have been so very fortunate to meet many writers who I admire immensely. And from a reader’s point of view (and of course I spend a lot of time reading other people’s books!), it’s fun to get to know the person behind the story. So with that in mind, I’m creating a new series of blog posts that will feature authors and their books and we’ll be concentrating on the story behind the story.
Today’s special guest is one of my lovely Harlequin MIRA sisters, Marilyn Forsyth. Her debut novel is the gorgeous The Farmer’s Perfect Match.
But first, let’s get to know Marilyn:
Marilyn Forsyth would love to live in a world where everyone’s story has an ending as happy as those in her books. Her emotion-packed outback romances combine hunky heroes and huggable heroines with settings in some of Australia’s most remote and beautiful places. When she’s not bunkered down in her peacock-blue writing cave creating unique characters for readers to fall in love with she can be found travelling with her other half, drawing and painting, or scouting out local cafes in search of the perfect coffee and cake combo. She has two grown sons and lives, surrounded by bush, with her husband in the foothills of a coastal village south of Sydney. You can check out her website and her Facebook author page and she also blogs regularly at Breathless in the Bush.
And now to find out more about this simply wonderful story:
Where is your story set?
The Farmer’s Perfect Match is set in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most isolated, places on Earth.
What made you choose this destination?
My hero, Adam, is a pearl farmer, and the far north-west provides the most ideal conditions in Australia for growing cultured pearls. His farm needed to be in an extremely remote area to give credence to the idea that the reality match-making show he’s signed up for might well be the only way he’ll ever meet someone to share his lonely life.
(It was also a fantastic excuse to go up to there for a holiday research. I take my research very seriously :-). )
What is the landscape like?
Kimberley coastline is spectacular—rocks twisted by the elements into crazy Salvador Dali-like shapes and water so clear you can see metres down to the sandy bottom. What I was most struck by was the saturation of colour: the turquoise ocean, the deep red sand, the bluest-blue sky that stretched on forever.
Does the setting have an effect on your characters?
Definitely. The Kimberley is one of the world’s last wilderness regions and provides a sanctuary for threatened species. Adam feels at home here because he’s an emotionally wounded man and this undamaged area is his safe place. Despite the loneliness, he’d never be able to live anywhere else so he certainly can’t risk doing anything that might lose him the farm.
As for Evie, she’s a city-girl with a career at stake. At first she’s severely tested by the isolation, but as Adam helps her to see the world through different eyes, it becomes clear that life in the outback has more than its fair share of compensations. The problem is she’s not a contestant but part of the filming crew!
How important is setting in a story?
I believe setting is intrinsic to the plot of any novel. For the sake of sheer authenticity it has to become one of the characters (that might sound cliché, but only because it’s true). It’s essential to establish a strong sense of place as quickly as possible; readers want to begin to visualise immediately the setting of the story about to unfold. But care does need to be taken. As a reader there’s nothing more off-putting for me than big blocks of description. Setting needs to be woven into the fabric of the story (and Alli, you do that so well in your books).
What are you working on next? What will the setting be like?
My next book, tentatively titled Falling in Love Again, reunites ex-lovers in a tug-o’-war over an opalised skeleton. It’s set in a mythical opal town in far west NSW. The fascinating landscape was once an ancient seabed but now resembles a moonscape, with sparse vegetation that struggles to survive in much the same way the miners struggle for a living, all hoping for that one find to make them rich.
Throw into the mix a unique plesiosaur fossil, opal theft, underground living, a secret baby and a vicious ex-husband, and you’re in for a fast-paced read (and yes, there was a holiday ‘research’ involved. White Cliffs and Lightning Ridge, this time :-)).
And we have a give away!
Marilyn has kindly offered to give a signed paperback copy of her new release, The Farmer’s Perfect Match, to one lucky reader. Simply answer Marilyn’s question below to be in the running. The competition will be open until 11.59pm, Sunday, 27 March. Please note, due to postage rates, the competition is only open to those currently living in Australia or New Zealand.
QUESTION: Have you ever visited a place, or added one to your travel wish list, because you read about it in a book you loved? Do tell!
UPDATE: We have a winner!
Thank you to all who entered. Marilyn has randomly drawn a name and the winner is Sue Gerhardt Griffiths! Please contact Marilyn or myself and send us your details. One signed copy of The Farmer’s Perfect Match will be the way to you!
And no doubt you are wondering where to buy Marilyn’s book, so here they are:
And of course, you can find print copies at a store near you!