Today I welcome the super-talented Susanne Bellamy to the blog to talk about the inspiration behind her new release, Starting Over.
Starting Over (book 2 in Mindalby Outback Romance) was influenced by my mother’s talents and creative vision. Although I wasn’t conscious of her presence in my words at the time I can see that now as clear as day. Both protagonists are creative people; Serena works with fabric while Paul works in leather, but both have vision. They can see the finished piece in their mind’s eye while exploring the raw material.
My mother was like that. She would feel a piece of fabric, sometimes brushing her thumb over the weave, and say, “I can see this as . . . accessorised with . . .” To her, the finished piece was real, even if its existence was still in her mind. I believe most creative people are like that.
When we began tossing around ideas for a town driven to desperation by the closing of its cotton mill, I was drawn to explore how far-reaching the ripple effect would be. Not only the mill workers and cotton farmers would be affected, but also small businesses in town would suffer. Business would drop away as money dried up and families struggled to pay rent and put food on the table. I know plenty of people who live from pay to pay and don’t have a safety net. When the mill closes unexpectedly just before payday, the effects are devastating.
And so I chose to write about Paul, the town saddler who is branching out into creating artwork in leather and whose family owns a cotton farm. He takes a double hit, carrying a burden of guilt for choosing not to stay on the land and help run the farm, and fearing his brother might commit suicide when everything goes wrong.
Into the desperate town comes Serena, a young fashion designer from Sydney. She has been given an opportunity to showcase her work at the Mindalby Cotton Festival and has driven out to meet Paul who is going to make leather accessories for her collection. But Serena also is on a mission to find her father. Knowing only that he came from the area and was involved in cotton, she worries how the mill closure might complicate things if she is lucky enough to find him.
The overarching story of the mill closure and how the town deals with it continues through each story while also exploring how individuals deal with it. In difficult times the ‘real’ person is revealed when protective layers are stripped away. Some of them rise to the challenge and some find love along the way.
I hope you enjoy Starting Over. It’s the story of a town on the edge of the Outback that finds a way to come back and begins that journey.
When fashion designer Serena Quinlan arrives in Mindalby for the annual cotton festival, she is hoping to do two things: meet local leather worker Paul Carey and check out all the 50–year–old men to see if they might be her father. She doesn’t expect the explosive attraction she feels towards Paul, nor the untimely and unwanted arrival of her ex–fiance. When her search for her father leads to unexpected results, Serena will be torn between the past she came searching for and the possibility of a future she never expected.
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.