My new novel, Brumby’s Run, was originally inspired by an iconic Banjo Paterson poem of the same name. The poem was first published in The Bulletin, 21 December 1895. I’ve always loved it, and the story behind it. The term Brumby was just entering the language, based on a similar Aboriginal word, baroomby which means wild. At a trial in the N.S.W. Supreme Court around the time this poem was written, the Judge, hearing of Brumby horses, asked: “Who is this Brumby, and where is his Run?” Banjo Paterson was so amused by the misunderstanding, he wrote his poem. So add Banjo’s poem, to my childhood love of the Silver Brumby books by Elyne Mitchell, and Brumby’s Run was the result.
I loved writing this book. It is a passionate love story set in the magnificent mountains of Victoria’s Upper Murray region – Man From Snowy River Country! It tells the story of a young woman, Samantha Carmichael, who discovers she has a critically ill sister named Charlie. When city girl Sam travels to the high country town of Currajong to run her sister’s farm, she finds romance and adventure in the shadow of beautiful Balleroo National Park.
The sisters’ heartfelt relationship with their horses is the lynchpin of this novel. Brumbies aren’t just used as some romantic backdrop – they are front and centre to the story. The novel also explores the theme of how secrets damage families, and how the truth, however painful, allows healing to begin.
I began writing Brumby’s Run in January of last year. A little while after that, my friend and fellow rural author, Margareta Osborn, suggested I go to the 2011 Romance Writer’s Conference in August.
‘It’ll be fun,’ she said, ‘and you get to pitch face to face to editors. Not just any editors, but key industry professionals.
‘Really?’ I said, my ears pricking right up. ’Editors?’ Now, all I needed was to finish my novel and knock their socks off. Eight months … I could only try. I wrote and wrote, revising as I went, and had a polished first draft just in time for the conference. I scored pitch sessions with two editors, who both agreed to look at my manuscript. Eight weeks later I received a Penguin Letter of Offer for Brumby’s Run. At last!. I printed that letter out and carried it with me for weeks, looking at it occasionally to check it was real. Dreams really can come true!