Throughout the year dedicated personnel and volunteers work to protect or save
– on land, sea, and in the air.
We celebrate them all, and here are a few we’ve written about
in our rural romances!
Read what the authors have to say about the characters they created in their books, the jobs those characters do, and how the characters – and sometimes the whole story – came about.
At the time of posting, Australian Rural Romance authors send best wishes to all those affected by the earthquake in
New Zealand on Monday. You are in our thoughts.
In The Long Paddock the heroine Cressida is a SES volunteer. To Cressy, her small town community of Woodlea is everything and she works hard to give back to the town who supported her when she lost her parents. From rescuing a man who has fallen off a wheat silo, to pulling a cow out of a cattle gird, or helping after a natural disaster, Cressy is always there dressed in her orange SES uniform.
I live in the central west of NSW and twice now the Rural Fire Service has had to come to our farm. Our first summer fire was caused by a car who pulled over on the side of a road and the grass beneath the hot exhaust caught light. The fire raced through our front paddock and was en route toward our house when the RFDS arrived. Thankfully there’d been another fire close by so the water bombers were already in the air. They were able to take water from our neighbour’s dam and stop the fire front.
Our second fire was at the back of our farm where a stolen car had been torched on a 42C day. The hot winds again directed the fire toward our house. My husband used the tractor to plough a firebreak while the kids and I moved the horses and cattle. Even with the help of the RFDS, this time the fire wasn’t as easy to extinguish. It was a long and anxious wait until the flames dimmed and the smoke haze cleared. I’m yet to write about a fire in my books and am hoping we never have another one. I already have more than enough firsthand experience for inspiration.
Alissa Callen is a bestselling author of rural and small town fiction.
The Long Paddock is book #1 in Alissa’s Born In Boots series and is releasing January 2017
in eBook and paperback and is available for pre-order now!
In Mackenzie Crossing Sergeant Finn Galloway is the policeman in charge of the station at Elysian, a small town in the Victorian High Country. Elysian may be tiny but the area Finn has to cover is enormous. Snow capped peaks and impassable gullies, old abandoned gold mines and a network of tracks that invite the adventurous to try their luck. Finn deals with hikers getting lost and illegal hunters, as well as tourists (and locals) driving their cars off the sides of mountains. The weather can be treacherous, with bushfires in the summer and blizzards in the winter, but this is Finn’s domain and he handles his job with capable professionalism.
On a personal level, during the five years Finn has ruled his patch, his marriage has ended and he barely sees his daughter. His dedication has come at a cost. And there’s another reason Finn finds solace in isolation. He has a murky past. As a teenager, he went off the rails, but unlike his twin brother Dylan, Finn found his way back. Now that past is about to catch up with him. Skye, the girl he and his brother loved, and fought over, all those years ago, is coming to town. And she’s about to put everything at risk.
Kaye Dobbie is an award winning author of historical and dual timeline rural romance.
Mackenzie Crossing is releasing 24 November in eBook and paperback
and is available for pre-order now!
Bushfires are common occurrences in South Australia and when I was a kid living in the foothills I watched many of them creep over the hills towards us. I think it was living so close to these devastating wildfires that gave me such a respect for their ferocity and an even bigger respect for those men and women who volunteer to do what they can to keep people and their properties safe.
So when I became an adult it was a no brainer that I would do my part. I volunteer with the Salvation Army Emergency Services who go out to the bushfires and other emergency events and feed the volunteers from a state of the art transportable kitchen.
In my second Muller’s of McLaren Vale book, Chasing the Flames, it was natural that Brian, Seth and Andrew would be volunteers for the CFS. Three strong, capable men living in a rural region and making their living from the land would of course want to protect it. The climax of the story features a catastrophic bushfire, started by a firebug. I based this around a real issue, sadly, of a firebug who caused havoc for a few years in the McLaren Vale region. Our hero goes missing in the fire and . . . you will have to read the book to get the rest of the story.
Cheryl Adnams is the author of the contemporary Muller’s Field winery series.
Chasing the Flames is book #2 in the series and can be read as a stand-alone story.
In A Place to Stay, Luke Weston is a police officer. He’s Senior Sergeant and OIC of a remote town on the edge of the Great Victoria Desert. Although this story is not about police but rather, the current issues Rachel Meade—woman on the run—is dealing with, I had to give depth and realism to Luke’s role. Except that I knew nothing about how police worked on a day to day basis within their office environments, let alone the procedures they need to adhere to.
My goal was to find a police officer who worked in a remote environment, because otherwise, I’d have to scrap this story or change the male protagonist’s profession – which I did not want to do as it worked so well with Rachel’s predicament.
Thankfully, I got lucky. If it wasn’t for the help of a Senior Sergeant who is OIC of a town in the area I’d placed my fictional town, this book would not have come to light. I will be forever grateful for his willingness to help with all the nitty-gritty bits of everyday life as a police officer that I needed to know, and for all the insights into the whys and hows, such as how my ex-detective would come to be in the position he finds himself in—back in blue. I have, of course, used some fictional licence here and there for which I hope he forgives me! But I gained more than just everyday basic police procedural aspects for this story, I got a true sense of what it’s like to be a police officer in the outback. My admiration for good police officers everywhere—men and women—and particularly for good rural police officers, is overwhelming.
Jennie Jones is the bestselling author of the small town rural romance Swallow’s Fall series.
A Place to Stay is book #1 in Jennie’s new Rangelands series and is releasing 21 November in eBook and paperback and is available for pre-order now!
The RFS is such an important organization for so many Australians. I wrote Blackwattle Lake back in 2009 as part of Nanowrimo, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. When I started it all I had was an image of a woman standing at a gate of a rural property. I just let the story unfold as it came to me. Since this wasn’t long after the terrible Black Saturday bush fires that occurred on February 7 earlier that year, the frightening images of the fires I’d seen on my television screens were seared into my mind along with the traumatic stories of destruction experienced by the fire’s victims.
The other stories that burnt brightly were the ones of courage and survival, from both the property owners who stayed and fought the fires and the Rural Fire Service Men and Women who risked their lives – and in some cases lost them – to help their communities. At the time I wasn’t living on a property full time but we did have a holiday acreage and the memory of being stranded in town with three children when a fire closed the road home along the fear of waking in the middle of the night to see the bush in the distance glowing orange were also both still very present.
All these things must have been bubbling away in my subconscious when I wrote about the fire in Blackwattle Lake.
Now I am living on a property surrounded by bush and while I love it there’s that lurking fear of being surrounded by flames. I’m so thankful we have a very active RFS brigade. I just hope we never have to call on them.
Pamela Cook is the author of Australian fiction with a country heart.
Blackwattle Lake was Pamela’s debut novel.
Pamela’s fourth book and next release is The Crossroads – releasing in eBook and paperback 29 November.
“Sydney girl Faith Montgomery is single and out of work,
but moving your life in a new direction sometimes means taking the hard road.”
We hope you enjoyed the insights into these wonderful rural romance books.
With our enduring thanks for all those men and women who put themselves at risk for others.
Australian Rural Romance authors.