Thursday, 19 May 2011
01:09 Karly Lane No comments
By Kim Honan from Macksville 2447
After inheriting the family property Kate Thurston has left the city life and returned to the land where she grew up.
There she finds a rundown homestead, struggles with a rebellious teenager, unearths an old family secret, discovers an unexpected love and breeds wagyu.
Kate is the main character in North Star the latest rural romance novel by Karly Lane.
"I love Australian stories and I've always just loved them," says Karly.
The rural fiction genre is growing in popularity with a new crop of writers like Fiona Palmer and Fleur McDonald making the bestsellers list and becoming household names.
These are authors that live in rural Australia and know their subject.
"Fleur and Fiona Palmer write very farm based rural things because that's what they do working and living on a farm," says Karly.
"I'm not from a farm but I've always lived in rural small towns so that's where I focus my books on the rural and community aspect of it rather than the farming aspect."
"It's like anything if you've had a bit of experience with it it's going to sound a lot more true to life but I couldn't probably not write something based in a city because I've never lived in a city."
With Kate back living on the farm there was no escaping the farming aspect with an income needed to keep the property running and in the family.
"I was actually stuck and I needed her to do something," says Karly.
That's when a farming friend from Parkes suggested that maybe Kate should try her hand at breeding wagyu.
"He said 'This wagyu they're selling it for $100 a steak over in Japan' so I thought that would be really good," she says.
Then Karly went off to research the wagyu industry before including all the necessary factual details in the story.
Karly decided to set North Star on a large property in Queensland near Goondiwindi after several visits through the region.
"I just love it out there and Goondiwindi I'd move there tomorrow if I could, it's just a beautiful place," Karly says.
"It was just a fictional town, I just based it somewhere out that way loosely."
Karly Lane lives in Macksville on the NSW Mid North Coast and while there are no vast sheep and cattle stations the Nambucca Valley is home to smaller dairy and beef cattle farms, macadamia and banana plantations, oyster leases and the infamous The Pub With No Beer at Taylors Arm.
"I wasn't expecting to write it, I just sat down and thought I'd write something and more I wrote the more the story kept unfolding," she says.
"There is a little bit of my story in there although it's a lot more dramatic for Kate and a lot of horrible things happen to her but it is based a bit on me."
Like her character Kate, recently divorced Karly packed up her house and moved from Townsville back her hometown with her three children.
"I think you've got to write a little bit about what you've been through so you can write it realistically but I moved with kids back to my home town and they were through the terrible teenagers," she says.
North Star is her first novel to be distributed by a major publisher in Australia, two previous books Operation Summer Storm and The Cattleman's Runaway Bride were published and sold online as e-books by an American company.
Karly has already sent her next book Finding Rose off to her publisher Allen & Unwin.
"I'm very excited, it covers a lot of really good rural issues that are around today and it has a little bit of history twist to it and suspense theme," she says.
North Star is published under Karlene Blakemore-Mowle's maiden name.