Happy release day to S.E. Gilchrist! Today marks the start to another fabulous rural romance series from seven of the authors of the hugely successful A Bindarra Creek Romance. S.E. Gilchrist is the brains behind the concept of this joint venture which will no doubt be a hit with readers.
Thanks so much Juanita for hosting me on your website to chat about the inspiration behind Mindalby Outback Romance series.
Around June 2016, I decided to organise another group writing venture outside the Bindarra Creek community we’d built. I wanted to bring a fresh twist to the overall series arc and after a bit of brainstorming with my good friend Sandie James, came up with the idea of a major business going bust overnight. I recalled the impact the closing of the National Textiles had on the town of Maitland. It was considerable and sent shockwaves throughout the community. Many employees had worked there almost their entire lives and were owed over $21m. Not only had they lost their jobs, but also, their entitlements. I thought how much worse it would be if the same thing happened in a remote location and if the business should be the major employer.
After pouring over a map of New South Wales, I decided somewhere on the edge of the Outback would suit the series perfectly. I needed a river close by, possibly a national park or two and nothing much else. Somewhere a little south of Bourke seemed and a trifle north of the small town of Louth seemed ideal. So I settled on the north-west area where the Darling River meets the Warrego River, used the street layout of the township of Walgett and our fictional town of Mindalby was born.
I think making it a cotton growing region seemed a natural progression with the National Textiles in the back of my mind and this also led to the failed business being a cotton gin / mill. Research of the area, revealed that cotton is grown in the Bourke region and thus, the idea sounded feasible.
Just like Bindarra Creek Romance series, though, it took a group of enthusiastic members to bring our new community to life and our stories to fruition. We had fun with our characters and developing our map to include farms and other outlying properties.
Initially, and in what must have been a major moment of madness on my part, I thought having stories with parallel timelines was needed to give our series a different take. What was I thinking? It took Kate Cuthbert from Escape Publishing to point out the folly of that idea! So re-writes were in order and some of us had to do some BIG re-writes. But we’re a professional bunch and after a lot of ‘Oh my Gods!‘ we knuckled down and persevered.
Hopefully our stories are stronger as a result and that readers will be engrossed in the challenges of a small town working to overcome major economic problems.
Cotton Field Dreams
Sasha comes to the small town of Mindalby to recover from a traumatic event, plan her next move, and seek out information to avenge her beloved uncle – the last thing she wants is a relationship. But when she meets local single dad, Cole, she can’t help but be drawn to his warmth and his humour, and his two engaging children. Cole says and does all the right things, and Sasha finds herself falling, but will all of her secrets destroy the relationship before it has a chance to begin?
Mindalby, a small town, a community, a home. But when the mill that supports the local cotton farmers and employs many of the town’s residents closes unexpectedly, old tensions are exposed and new rifts develop. Everyone is affected and some react better than others, but one thing is certain: living on the edge of the outback means they have to survive together, or let their town die.