This week the golden spotlight is on
and we’re showcasing Colours of Gold
Read an excerpt below.
I currently juggle my writing with sharing an old house and big garden with my husband, as well as far too many animals. Sometimes writing anything is a struggle but I keep trying because I love it.
Looking back, I always seemed to be writing something, but the first time I actually thought I might make a career as a writer was when I won the local short story contest.
Suddenly my name was in the newspaper and people had heard of me, and I was actually paid! Probably until then, although I had dreamed of being a writer, I had never expected to make a career from it. I thought writing was a hobby.
After the contest win I began to wonder if, maybe, one day I would be able to write and not have to work to support my habit!
Kaye Dobbie. Rural Romance, contemporary romance and historical romance.
The child has no name, she’s a little girl…lost and forgotten.
1867: Named by the wife of the paddle steamer captain who finds her half drowned in the Murray River, Alice must survive in a world that reviles her. Because Alice has a gift…or a curse. She can see an aura of colours around the people she meets — and those colours tell her of impending doom.
With her friend Rosey, Alice runs away to the gold fields and then joins a troupe of entertainers where people pay to hear her predictions. But she can never escape her past…along with the frightening man in the dark coat who follows her wherever she goes…
Present: Annie Reuben is an art restorer in her father’s business, but times are tough. After being given a long-lost painting found in the basement of a condemned hotel, Annie becomes intrigued by the two girls who stare out at her from the ruined canvas.
Who were Alice and Rosey? And why does Annie find their lives so important? As Annie becomes caught up with finding answers from the past, she finds herself being stalked by the same frightening man in the dark coat who follows her wherever she goes…
Excerpt from Colours of Gold by Kaye Dobbie
‘Hey! Annie, is it?’
Startled, I looked up. The captain had come to the door of his wheelhouse and was leaning out. The sun was in my eyes and I squinted, holding up my hand to shield them, and in that moment I could have sworn I was looking at the figure in the painting, the captain with grey eyes wearing a double-breasted jacket and flat cap. The next moment I blinked and found myself, instead, staring up at an unshaven man, about thirty, my own age, with a baseball cap over messy hair wearing a checked shirt and jeans. Oh, and he was handsome. Despite his unkempt appearance he had no trouble capturing my full attention.
‘Come up!’ he called again.
I looked uneasily at the narrow vertical gangway.
‘We can talk up here, it’s quieter.’
The engine was very noisy. I approached the wooden steps with trepidation, but once at the top I found his hand waiting for me, either to steady me or to give a friendly shake, I wasn’t sure. He had the same grin as the younger man who’d welcomed me aboard and I thought they must be brothers.
‘Thank you for the ticket, but there was no need . . .’
‘You seemed interested.’ He brushed it off.
He led me into the wheelhouse which had windows on two sides and openings on the other two. I stepped back out of his way and turned to gaze out over the stern. The view was wonderful, and here I was somewhat sheltered from the smell of the hot engine and the puffing smoke. He’d taken up his place at the wheel again, narrowing his eyes against the glare from the water, and I saw that we had reached a bridge over the river and were about to go underneath.
‘We’ll be serving the champagne soon,’ he said. ‘I’ll have Kenny bring one up for you, if you like.’
He pulled the cord that blew the whistle. I jumped—it sounded louder up here. I caught his smile and thought that maybe he’d done it on purpose. But then again we were passing under the bridge and it could be the law of the river or something.
‘Did you restore the Ariadne?’ I said, positioning my camera and clicking off a photo of him at the wheel.
His turn to look startled. ‘Ah, my father. Worked on it all his life. Never got to see it finished. I think of him every day I’m aboard her.’
‘Can I show you something?’
He glanced at me as I removed the enlarged photographs from my bag, and then took the one I offered. He looked closely at it for a moment, then smiled in amazement. His whole face seemed to light up.
‘Looks like the Ariadne,’ he said. ‘Is this the whatsit you’re restoring? You said something about it in the email.’
‘The Trompe L’oeil.’
‘Trump Loy,’ he echoed my pronunciation.
‘Yes. It’s a three-dimensional painting, or at least it tricks the eye into thinking it is. This particular painting gives you the sense that you’re gazing into someone’s life, with all the little moments that went into making it. Some of the scenes are tiny—like this one—but it stood out. It took me a while to make out the name of the paddle-steamer, but when I did I Googled it and you came up.’
‘You think it’s the same boat?’
‘It has to be, surely? One of the other scenes shows miners digging. I’m assuming that’s the gold rush and we can date the story back to the 1850s or 60s. I’d be more inclined to say the 1860s, because there are mines with poppet heads, and they were later than the alluvial diggings so . . .’ I smiled at his bemused expression. ‘I’m losing you.’
‘No, no, I’m just a bit flabbergasted. So this painting . . .’
He gave me a look. ‘So this Trompe L’oeil has all of the detail of someone’s life in it, and that includes the Ariadne?’
‘Yes. I’m sure it’s not just scenery for the sake of it. It tells a story. A life story. And I want to find out all I can about it because knowing helps me with the restoration. I want to do justice to those people who commissioned it as well as those who painted it or appear in it.’
His eyes crinkled around the edges as he smiled again in a way that made me feel embarrassed about my enthusiasm. Not everyone understood the intensity of it.
‘I’m sorry, I don’t know your name,’ I said, suddenly awkward.
‘Max Taylor,’ he replied with that smile.
Kaye also writes under the names Sara Bennett, Deborah Miles and Lilly Sommers. Visit her webpage for more information.