I am delighted to introduce you to the lovely Darry Fraser. Darry woke up one day with an epiphany: writing is her journey, and a major publication was the goal. It was now or never.
So, the ‘now’ took five years and 9 e-books and happily, ‘Daughter of the Murray’ was published with Harlequin MIRA in 2016.
The Australian landscape is home and hearth – the rural, the coastal, the arid lands and the desert. The history, the hidden stories, the catalysts, and the powerful connection between humans are her drivers.
She lives and works on a beautiful island off the coast of South Australia with her black kelpie x writing companion.
So, Darry, please tell us about your story behind the story:
So lovely to be here on Alli’s ‘Story Behind the Story’.
Funny how the path to your goal takes many twists and turns. Had I been the sort who had one eye on the goal and the other eye also on the goal, I might’ve arrived at my dream a helluva lot earlier. Life gets in the way, as most of us know.
In a sense, I’m glad I wasn’t ‘one-eyed’ about it (though I do question that just a bit). When I first started writing seriously, i.e believing I could deliver a well-crafted story, I was nowhere near the mark. I remember being encouraged by friends and family, who alas, were well meaning, and also nowhere near the mark.
So, when I finished what was to become Daughter of the Murray many years later, I was a young writer burning with the urgent need to write, but without my craft honed, without my instinct for pace sharpened, armed only with my natural talent still raw and unformed.
Another author and I lately identified that the mature writer has had some years of ‘living’ under her belt. I certainly have those years now. And what those years have done for me – and the story – was give it the maturity of voice and style that it needed. If I’m lucky enough to have the second in the series published, those years of apprenticeship have honed my skills tremendously.
I’ve always loved a bigger story, the type with more than one arc, where characters are real, and who walk with me every day – albeit in my head. I tried my hand at other types of stories, learned how to make every word count, how to show not tell – but tell where telling had to be – and to find my own way.
By the time I grappled with my courage and pitched it to a publisher, Daughter of the Murray had come of age.
Readers have told me that my book is not what they were expecting. My research told me that the 1890s was not a namby-pamby nanny era, anywhere. It was tough. It was misogynistic and paternalistic. Rough, bloody, dirty and diseased. I wanted a decent story, so I had to be true to the times and not throw a 21st century character into a 19th century setting. I had to have my characters as true to their ‘selves’ in their era as I could.
The other thing I feel strongly about, and is why I write these sorts of historical characters: Australia needs some honourable, if fictional heroes. People who had personal honour. We weren’t all murderers, marauders, or rapists and pillagers, thieves and dirtbags, or escaped convicts but innocent of alleged crimes. And they are always fundamentally flawed. My take only, of course.
Where did the story-telling gene came from? A generation back to a woman who only had her imagination to take her to places she could only dream about.
But honour in her heroes was always there.
Blurb – Daughter of the Murray
1890s, River Murray, Northern Victoria
Georgina Calthorpe is not happy living with her foster family, the MacHenrys, on Jacaranda, their neglected sheep run on the banks of the River Murray.
Unlike the rest of the family, she isn’t looking forward to the return of the prodigal son, Dane. When he arrives at the homestead, he’s furious to discover his inheritance in severe decline. When he blames Georgina, ignoring the true culprit – his father, she decides to leave in a hurry.
Unfortunately, she makes her escape on Dane’s prized stallion and he gives chase, at first to track her down…
From here their fates collide with Conor Foley, a businessman with a dark secret. He offers Georgina apparent security: marriage with status in the emerging nouveau-riche echelons of Melbourne.
But where does her heart lie, now?
None of them can imagine the toll the changing political and social landscape will have on home, heart and family. Has Georgina’s decision led her into grave danger and more unhappiness, or will she survive and fulfil her destiny?
You can find out more about Darry here: www.darryfraser.com
Daughter of the Murray is available in all good bookshops in print and ebook. Link to all retails found HERE.