The Drifter: Meet The Author, Anthea Hodgson

Meet Anthea Hodgson, author of
The Drifter

“A witty, charming and moving debut rural romance about what makes a good death and, more importantly, what makes a good life.”

Read the story blurb.
Read a few words from Anthea.

Plus, there’s a giveaway!

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Cate Christie is a party girl, unable to commit to anything, until she is involved in a tragic accident that changes everything. To escape her guilt and her parents’ bitter disapproval, Cate leaves Perth for her aunt Ida’s isolated farm in country Western Australia.

Henry is a drifter, a young swagman-like character who wanders onto the Christie family property and takes up residence in a disused shed. With secrets of his own, the last thing he wants is to get tangled up in Cate and Ida’s lives.

Against their own better judgement, the fates of Cate and Henry and Ida inexorably intertwine and they learn to face the realities of life, death and letting go.

From the author

The Girls and The Drifter

The Drifter is close to my heart. It is a redemption story, a love story and a story about death. I wrote it in five weeks because Game Of Thrones hadn’t been invented yet, and I filled it with everything I love.

It was inspired by a few things, mostly by the death of my dad, but also by the wonderful women of my hometown, known in my family at least, as the girls. They are my mother’s friends. They’re all in their 70’s now, but they ran our community in Yealering, as of course women are still running communities everywhere, be they in the country or in the city.  I grew up with the girls; hung about outside Guild meetings, killed time on the swings at afternoon teas on a Friday afternoon, pulled weeds alongside them at busy bees, listened to them exchange casual news about their families. When I first wrote The Drifter, I wrote it with their names still in it, out of laziness mostly, but also because I liked the way it felt to spend time with them in ‘Windstorm’ again. I found the memory of their interactions so comfortable that I slipped into them easily, but I also found that it was important to me to represent them as they were – as they still are – incredibly valuable.

I was sick of seeing older women portrayed as dull, nagging, foolish and irrelevant. In a world where so many of our young women have been lured into obsessing over the shape of their nails, lips and backsides, where everyone wants to be a diva and where Instagram accounts are ruled by boring perfect girls, I wanted to celebrate women who do things. Women who regard ten minutes in front of the mirror as more than adequate, who are too busy to care any more than that. In the face of endless crowing and vanity, I wanted to spend some time these women who offered more to the world than perfect social media.

I wanted to celebrate the value of a person who leaves their house and their mirror to take a cake to someone, to buy groceries for a family in need, to collect someone’s kids from school, or to plant flowers in a garden bed for everyone to enjoy. In the country these things are so important because there is no-one else to do them, but they are also important because they give these generous women’s lives even more purpose, and fill them with comradeship and love. My mum is still friends with the girls, they still catch up for movies, lunch or coffee and they now travel the world together. They have been friends all their lives, and they share the history of each other’s joys and sorrows.

These are the girls who looked after my mum when my dad was ill with Alzheimer’s. These were the girls who included him so kindly in their activities when he could be no longer independent from Mum. These were the girls who cooked cakes and casseroles, who came over and did the ironing when Mum was away, who taught me to play tennis, to crochet, who gave us kids lifts to school in Perth from Yealering, who watched over us from afar while we finished school, went to Uni, travelled overseas, who came to our weddings and who sent gifts when we had babies. These were the girls who were vital members of the local committees and sporting clubs, and these were the girls of whom I often thought when I was considering doing something stupid. What would the girls think? I would ask myself. How will I feel if the girls find out?

These were the girls who came to my book launch, who laughed when they recognised in The Drifter Deirdre’s weak tea, Margaret’s tardiness and Luise’s famous sponge. These were the girls who knelt beside me as I signed a book and murmured ‘…now, I’m very sorry Mrs Beswick can’t be here, she’s having a terrible time with her poor cousin…’ These were the girls who posed for a photo in a bookshop, who’s proud and comfortable faces are as familiar to me as my own mothers. Who’s kindness and grace inspire me. And who are the most beautiful women I have ever seen.

Anthea

Anthea Hodgson is a country girl from the WA wheatbelt. She likes all the usual stuff, from chocolate to puppies, and she loves a coffee, which probably played a large part in her move from the farm to Perth – although she thinks boarding school may have had something to do with it, too.

In her previous life she was child free and working as a radio producer, where the coffee was terrible but the people were great, and now she has three brilliant kids, including her husband, a job she loves even more than radio, and a two book deal with Penguin Random House.

Because a few years ago Anthea found herself with nothing to do at three am, so she climbed out of bed and wrote her debut novel, The Drifter, in five weeks. Told you she likes coffee.

Buy The Drifter

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Giveaway

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Leave a comment for Anthea and go into the draw to win a signed paperback copy of
The Drifter

(Giveaway open to Australian postal addressees only. Giveaway ends midnight AEST Friday 7th April 2017.)

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62 thoughts on “The Drifter: Meet The Author, Anthea Hodgson

    • Thanks Kerry! It is close to my heart – but I think it’s a really fun read at the same time – I do hope you enjoy it! xx

    • Thanks so much! It’s been such an exciting time, and so important to me to share the people and the country I love. I’m working on my next one right now!

  1. Lots of your life experiences seem to be woven into the storyline. Readers will get to know the characters in the book and a little about you as well Anthea, great idea

    • It was such a pleasure to write, Karen, and it was so brilliant to see the girls at the launch. I was so lucky to be raised in the country – I owe my family and my community so much!

    • Thanks Linda! I hope you do have a look at Drifter. I often think it’s a romance but it’s also a love story – of my love of the bush and my home town! I really think you’ll enjoy it!

    • Hi Margaret! Funnily enough you share the same name as my mum! (she’s in the book – I didn’t bother changing her name…!) I hope you have a look – I really think I’ve captured my home town and my love of the local landscape. I’d love you to visit!

  2. I loved reading this book. So much heart and very country – just what i was after <3 i can't wait for more from Anthea

    • Emma! Thanks so much! How very kind of you – it means a lot to hear that you liked the heart of my novel – it’s always a risk to put it out there, and to hear that The Drifter has found a home with you makes me very happy – much appreciated. I hope you enjoy the next novel as well…!

  3. Wow. I am so impressed by what I read. The characters sound so intriguing, you just want to read more to find out what happens. Thanks An the a for addressing these issues in your book.

    • Thanks for your message, Melissa! I hope you have a look at The Drifter – even though it deals with themes surrounding death, I promise you it’s also a lot of fun! The characters are all close to my heart – maybe a little too close – it was hard to let a couple of them go while I was writing my follow up..!

    • Thanks Jody – how kind! I feel like I read it at least a hundred times myself (and there are bits that still make me cry, because they are too close to me..!) I’m so glad The Drifter found a home with you!

  4. The way you describe your inspiration “the girls”, reminds me very much of my Nanna and her friends, and the way they are still community minded at 80+, and doing wonderful things – as well as all the good times I remember with these honourary ‘aunts’ from my childhood.
    I am looking forward to reading this one very much, if only to learn the secrets of all the characters!

    • Hi Christine – I know you will really relate to Drifter, it sounds like you know same breed of women I do! The girls are very much my honorary aunts – I was so thrilled to see them at my launch, one of them even checked out of hospital to be there! I hope you enjoy spending time with them as much as I did!

  5. I love the premise of your book Anthea. I know what it’s like to lose family. I lost my parents 12 months apart and 3 siblings over a 7 year span. All gone way too young. Thankfully I still have 3 sisters and they are the sort of ladies who take the lost souls into their hearts. And yes, I guess we are becoming those older girls – hopefully not dull and irrelevant as some would want us to be, but vital and much loved by those who know us, young and old.

    • Hi Patricia, thanks so much for your message – I’m sorry to hear you have been through so much. I hope that your sisters and you all find a way remember those you’ve lost – in the Drifter, I wanted to say that we can take those we love with us – and I hope that’s the case for you. We are all lucky to be becoming the older girls – involved, interested and loving. Best wishes!

  6. Anthea – you Aussie authors are like mushrooms – you keep on popping up everywhere! I am a very dedicated Australian reader and a huge promoter of you authors at my workplace (I work in a library in Melbourne). We have so much writing talent here in this country that goes largely unnoticed so I do my best to spread the word. Your books sounds great Andrew I have already seen some very positive reviews online. I would love the chance to read it 😀

    • Hi Janine! Thanks for supporting Aussie authors – I hope that we are popping up everywhere – I think it’s important readers can find all sorts of voices and stories from around the world, and from our own landscape and culture as well. I hope you get to have a look at the Drifter – if you enjoy Australian writing, I think you will find something in there for you – beyond the wheatbelt setting which is very recognisable to Aussies, i think the language and humour is very Australian as well!

  7. Hi Anthea, I love reading books by Aussie authors with stories based in our beautiful outback. I have not read any of yours yet, so I will start with ‘The Drifter”!! Thank Pamela. 🙂

    • Thanks Pamela! I think you’ll enjoy Drifter if you love the bush! I’m so proud to be on the Australian Rural Romance website with so many fine writers in the genre – thanks for your support of Aussie authors!

  8. Hi Anthea, I’m loving discovering all of the Aussie authors that are appearing! My collection is growing and I love supporting our own Aussie authors by collecting Aussie written books. Your book sounds amazing, I love reading about the outback, family/friends connections and country towns. I wish you all the success with this book and many more in the future.

    • Hi Aileen, thanks so much for supporting Aussie authors! We really appreciate your interest! Drifter is very much about the connections rural families form that go back many years, and move through generations. The next novel also visits the girls again, and the secrets they hold for one another. I hope you enjoy Drifter – and a quick trip to the bush!

  9. Us women are true survivors and are so resilient. We daily face our family, death in our own circle or others, such as the devastation in rural NSW and Qld floods, our community spirit is revived and makes others see there is joy in the darkness. Our families are a sense of belonging and sometimes mystery and where we come from… Best wishes Anthea,look forward to reading your story and see many more to follow.

    • Michelle! I absolutely agree! Women are at the centre of so much of rural life (and community life in the cities) and you’re right – they will be right in there helping feed and house people affected by these terrible floods, as well as helping with livestock, rebuilding, organising volunteers… I so admire these amazing women, I think I have done them justice in The Drifter, and I hope you will too!

  10. So few authors delve into the realities and pain of death. I must admit I’m a sook when reading sad aspects of stories and will have to keep the tissues handy. I think if you experience death of a loved one it makes you more empathetic to others and you can relate so much more intensely to situations. I’m a fan of gutsy Australian country stories and am thrilled to add your name to my ‘want to read’ list. Here’s hoping!

    • Hi Rachel, thanks for getting in touch! I agree – life can touch you very deeply and it changes you when it does. I know it was the way for me, and I wanted Drifter to express that in a positive way – to honour those we’ve lost. I do hope you have a look at Drifter! I think you’ll really enjoy it!

    • Hi! I certainly think so – it’s rural, of course (!) but I think it’s also a bit funny and a bit sad… and Henry’s a bit hot… hope you give it a go!

    • Hi! If you like rural writing, I really hope you do. I like to think it’s very Australian, and although it’s about life and death – I think it’s also a lot of fun!

    • Thanks Casey! I hope you like it – it’s full of Australian countryside, Australian characters – and a healthy dose of Henry. (Whom I like. Very much)

    • Thanks Peta-Lee! I hope you like reading it – I loved writing it – it was like going home. Only with some hot guy living in the old house, drinking beer down at the dam…

    • Hi Kate, Thanks for your comment! I think you’ll have a great time in Windstorm, and I’d love you to visit!

    • Thanks Aimee! It’s a book that’s close to my heart – I do hope you have a look at it – and spend some time in the beautiful WA wheatbelt!

  11. Can’t wait to read have an fascination for WA the history the hard life and how hard these women worked along side the men

    • Hi Donna! Drifter is certainly a look at the women of the bush and their wonderfully supportive relationships – and at the hard working and dedicated farmers who work side by side in their communities. I have such affection for the wheatbelt and it’s people – I really hope you have a look and enjoy a trip to the country!

    • Hi Fern! Thanks so much for your enthusiasm! I hope you have a great time with The Drifter – I loved writing a story set amongst my friends in the bush!

    • Thanks so much Narelle! I really hope you spend some time in the wheatbelt with The Drifter. It was a joy to write, and I miss it now I have finished. Say hi to Cate and Ida for me. And Henry…!

  12. I love books set in the rural areas of Australia. Grew up in the country and can relate with a lot of the characters. Would be so stoked to win a copy of you debut book.

    • Hi Deb! If you grew up in the country I know you will relate to Drifter – I think its a light hearted but heartfelt look at the bush and its people, with a really decent romance thrown in! (I still have a thing for Henry!)

  13. Sounds like an awesome read. Our current WA romance authors are an amazing bunch of ladies. Keep up the great work.

  14. Love to read works by a new author. Came from a small village myself, with all its quirky characters and sense of community. Sounds just my cup of tea. Australian Romance authors are awesome. Would love to win a copy.

    • Thanks Pamela! If you come from a small town you are sure to relate! We Aussie authors really appreciate your support – I hope you get a chance to give the Drifter a home!

  15. I love reading good Australian Author books. I would love to have a read of this book and then pass it onto family who also love reading Australian books.

    • Thanks so much Rebecca – Drifter is certainly very Australian – I realise now that I’m older just how lucky I was to grow up in the bush!

  16. Wow I started reading your book this morning and needless to say the breakfast dishes are still on the sink! I’m loving the quips between Cate and Henry and my mind is in overdrive working out Henry’s story and how you will handle Cate’s “case”.
    I guess its going to be a long night.because I don’t think I’ll get away with curling up on the lounge again all day tomorrow.
    Anyway just came out to close down the computer and put the dogs to bed and thought I’d drop you a line to say how much I”m enjoying the book. Cheers…

    • Oh thanks!! I’m so glad you are enjoying Drifter! The dialogue is one of my favourite things to do – sometimes I just write the conversation and work out the stage management later! I think you will like Henry’s story, and I hope you like Cate’s as well – I absolutely loved writing about them and Windstorm, so much so that I didn’t want to leave. Good in one way – I’m polishing my next Windstorm book at the moment, but bad in another (I’m still a bit in love with Henry…!) Thanks again for your lovely feedback – it means a lot to me! Regards, Anthea

      • Double WOW well burnt the midnight oil and finished at 4am. Now living in NSW but spent the my first 17 years in Pingelly.. Felt right at home in the story. Having sons in the army I just about had the whole of Henry’s story figured out. Love it when my brain goes in the same direction as the author. Although I would have preferred to send Cate away for 3 years and pick up the story later. But that’s just me, looking for a sequel. I always read the acknowledgements at the end and couldn’t stop smiling when I saw Robert’s name appear. (He is my cousin.) really glad to hear that you have another book coming out and will love to add to my collection.
        PS would still like to go into the draw for a signed copy, which I would keep and send mind over to my daughter in NZ.
        Cheers again Roz.

        • No WAY! A Pingelly girl! I’m so glad you found Drifter – I drive through Pingelly on the way back to Perth when I go home – you’ll know the country it’s set in very well. Isn’t WA tiny!? Robert was very kind and helpful when I called him for advice – I hope to meet him sometime this year if I make it to Narrogin. Sequel is coming along well (as long as you liked Deirdre, that is..) As for Cate’s fate – I know what you mean, BUT I didn’t want to have a romance in which she had to pop into the big house for a few years. But of a romantic buzz kill..!? V sorry to say – the draw has been done, but it may be downloadable in NZ, it’s also available on the Book Depository, or Booktopia. I hope she reads it too – I think she’ll get a feel for the area you are from! Thanks so much for your interest!

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