In May 2015, I sat down in an Edinburgh pub
with a fresh notebook and a pen, and started my third novel. With a nod to future history, I penned the working title and a few lines on character and opening scene.
I’m happy to say that last week I signed the contract that, hopefully, will see Crossing the Line (book 1) published later this year. I’m also happy to say that the title and main character have survived time, numerous edits, and months of research to make it to the printed page.
Let me introduce you to Florentine Ponsonby, a young woman living in Sydney in 1882. An exciting time in Australia’s history. Education, the economy, social change - all booming. Not always for the best. Indigenous people were being sidelined, their stories and culture written away and discounted by inaccurate re-telling and bigoted viewpoints. Women, of all cultures, also. But there’s one thing I’ve learnt in researching for this novel, what we know as history and what was happening, the situations people were living through, and coping with is often vastly different.
Crossing the Line is not a social discourse or historical fiction targeted at putting history to rights. It’s a fantasy novel. Call it urban fantasy, magic realism, historical fantasy, whatever you like really, it’s all in the imagination of the reader. I, the writer, call it an adventure story with a good dollop of history, myth and magic thrown in. The sort of story I like to read. The sort of story I like to write.
Florentine’s mum, Rosalie, runs the Garden Arms Hotel with attached tearooms and guest accommodation on Macquarie Street. But Rosalie has a secret past that’s about to change Florentine’s world, and world-view.
Clementine Benedict and his father, Lord Benedict arrive in Sydney searching for a woman and her secrets. They seek revenge, reversal of fortune, and a power that is hiding in the basement of the Garden Palace.
I have enjoyed researching this story and bringing to life characters and buildings from Sydney’s past as well as exploring deeper into the history of the Isle of Skye (and the First Peoples of Scotland).
Come on this walk-through history with me. It could be the start of a great adventure!
Crossing the Line: Book 1. Out soon - Odyssey Books
Greyfriars Bobby image sourced from: Yelp | Paul M