Our Awesome Aussie Author for this week is the bona fide country girl, Margareta Osborn. I am eagerly awaiting Margareta’s debut novel, Bella’s Run, which is hitting the shelves as we speak in book shops all over Australia. Margareta writes Australian rural fiction that is steeped in love for life on the land and the reviews are speaking very highly of her ability to tell a beautiful heartfelt country story. Even Sara Storer has praised Bella’s Run! I’m mighty mpressed!
Welcome, Margareta. I’m thrilled to have you here today
Where were you born, raised, schooled and what was the most mischievous thing you did as a child?
I was born and raised on my family’s historic (and sometimes hysterical) dairy farm in the Macalister Valley of East Gippsland, Victoria. Primary schooling was under the stern eye of the nuns at our small local Catholic school. A secondary education at Our Lady of Sion, Sale, followed where lessons in speech, dancing, sewing and cooking plus four years of French were a highlight - not.
There are two houses on the farm. Our family lived at one end of the property, my darling grandmother at the other. We spent most of our childhood riding ponies and bikes between the two places, bringing up the cows for milking, swimming and exploring. This day my grandmother was looking after my sister and I, so whilst one stood guard, the other sat on the kitchen table and broke the wooden spoon. We were figuring then she couldn’t smack us if we were naughty. How wrong we were …
Oh,and then there was the ‘black paint instead of dirt’ for mud pies episode, followed by banging up Dad’s brand new ute (the first one he’d ever had), an hour after it arrived on the farm.
How long did it take you to get published and how did you feel when you were told you had a contract?
I have been writing all my life, but it wasn’t until my youngest child went to kinder that I actually found ‘the space’ to sit down and start a full length novel. A published writing friend also advised me to ‘learn the craft of writing’; so I enrolled in a Year of the Novel with the Victorian Writers Centre in Melbourne and then went on to do the Advanced Year of the Novel with Andrea Goldsmith. It was an excellent investment (six hours travelling every second month for two years) because on the final day I was able to announce my writing contract with Random House. Bella’s Run was completed over that time. I was in the supermarket when my agent phoned and told me I had the contract. I screamed into the nearest grocery stack, which just happened to be the toilet rolls.
What time of the day/night do you prefer to write and where do you like to write?
I don’t have luxury of deciding when I write. With three children, a husband and a small farm to run, writing is squeezed in. From time to time, I also help my father on his property, so things are always hectic. My favourite place to write is at the homestead where my grandmother used to live. I find the historic serenity of the place allows words to flow. I also sometimes feel like I have four generations of Osborn’s peering over my shoulder commenting in shocked tones, ‘They did that?’ Read Bella’s Run and you’ll see why!
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming book? And what date it will be released?
Bella Vermaelon and her best friend Patty are two fun loving country girls bonded in a sisterhood no blood tie could ever beat. They’re coming to the end of a road trip, which has taken them from their family farms in the rugged Victorian high country to the red dust of the Queensland outback. For almost a year they’ve mustered on cattle stations, played hard at rodeos and danced through life like a pair of wild tumbleweeds. And with the arrival of Patty’s brother Will and Bell’as cousin Macca, romance beckons …
Then tragedy strikes changing Bella’s world forever.
So she runs – from the only life she has ever known. But can she really turn her back on the man she loves? Or on the land that runs deep in her blood?
BELLA’S RUN is released nationally on March 1, 2012.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
Life, my surroundings - I just need to be in a place that strikes a certain creative chord and a story idea will come tumbling out of my head. My husband knows exactly when that happens because I must go into this semi-trance and he just looks at me and says in a resigned voice, ‘It’s the book isn’ t it?’
What is your favourite meal?
A roast, especially if it’s out of a camp oven. If the night was truly perfect, the roast would be followed by apple pie and cream or my grandmother’s steamed jam pudding, known as the ‘Margareta Pudding’.
Who is your favourite Australian?
The late Jane McGrath for her courage and inspiration.
What is your favourite Aussie saying?
‘No worries’ and ‘She’ll be right’.
Where would be your ideal place to holiday?
I have already found it. Up on the high plains in the mountains of East Gippsland, surrounded by family and friends,spotting brumbies, riding motorbikes and horses, is one. Boating on the Gippsland Lakes with my wild and wonderful family is the other. I am so very, very lucky.
Cheers, Margareta, for being my guest today. It's been such a pleasure hearing all about your lovely country lifestyle.
You can find out more about Margareta at her website.
Thought for this week
“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves”
Next week my Awesome Aussie Author is a wonderful male writer, Tony Park. It will be lovely having a man about the blog :) Tony spends most of his life in Africa, living the life, loving the life and writing amazing novels based on his experiences there. He is a very talented man…with a wonderful office incorporating views of sweeping African plains, giraffes and elephants. So be sure to pop on by next week for my Awesome Aussie Author segment. It’s going to be very interesting.
Stay posted, over the next few weeks I will be revealing the front cover of Jacaranda. It's beautiful! Only 12 weeks to go until the release date :)
Until next week, keep dreaming and smiling