My new novel The Smuggler’s Curse is scheduled to be released by Fremantle Press on October 3rd, 2016. It started out in the first draft as a historical novel for high school aged kids, but as it developed, the manuscript somehow turned into more of a straight out adventure for younger readers.
I’ve found that manuscripts and characters in them do take on a life of their own and no amount of pre-planning from me is going to stop the characters doing whatever they like as soon as I get beyond the first page. They are completely out of my control, and this one was no exception. Where did the storms at sea, explosions, cannons firing, gun- runners, murder and savage head-hunters all come from? Probably the Saturday afternoon matinees I enjoyed as a kid at Narrogin Cinema, but I’m not admitting to that.
Between now and the publication date, I’ll share some of the twisted pathway this book took on its long journey from the initial idea on the back of an envelope to the hopefully, glowing new cover on the finished book. I’ll pass on photos I took while researching smugglers of the 19th century and include pictures of various places I used as locations in the story. They range from tropical Broome in North-western Australia to Singapore, Sumatra and Aceh as well as Cossack, Fremantle and Albany back in Australia.
And just to start off this blog, here is the opening of The Smugglers’ Curse:
I cannot believe it. My mother has gone and sold me. I’m her only child and she has sold me to the most notorious sea Captain to sail the wild, west coast. What sort of a mother would do such a thing, knowing full well I will be carried away in a black-painted sailing ship to face untold dangers and probably death a hundred times over on treacherous seas and in exotic ports?
Sold? I never imagined something like this could happen in these modern times. After all, the twentieth century is only a few years away and the British Empire outlawed slavery seventy or eighty years ago. Did Ma somehow miss that? Maybe she did. She is a busy woman.
My Ma runs a hotel in Broome, all by herself. Broome is a rough, ramshackle pearling port in the north of Australia and one of the most remote towns in all of the Australian colonies, and maybe even the Empire…