GUEST BLOG: Ernest Hemingway and the Girl from the Bush by Nicole Alexander

by |August 20, 2012

I often wish I’d been born a man. This statement has nothing to do with the perceived favouritism that is touted in relation to the world of publishing but instead is a reflection on the practicalities of being a fourth-generation grazier in the male-dominated world of agriculture. I’m pretty sure that this desire to be more than hands-on, on-farm can partly be attributed to Ernest Hemingway, with whom I’ve been infatuated with from an early age. It was he that swept me away aged twelve with For Whom The Bell Tolls and later, The Old Man and the Sea. His economical word usage and understated style struck a chord with me and at some deeper level; I wanted his life; the martini-drinking, big game hunting, bull-fight aficionado, bestselling author. Wow, EH had me right from the beginning. Right or wrong, I’m a fan for life. I was an omnivorous reader as a child yet Hemingway stands alone as the first author to shake me out of complacency and compel me to write. Later I ventured into the works of Dickens, Shakespeare and Austen and their brilliantly crafted imagined worlds beckoned me to try harder at perfecting my own scribblings.

These days I’m a time-poor yet eclectic reader who spends nights studying research material, dipping into the more literary of authors and reading the odd work of commercial fiction. I’m not a trend follower. I read for pleasure and education and the books that provide both remain favourites. Having grown up on the tales of my own pioneering ancestors, I’m naturally drawn to Australian rural literature. Although historically only a small percentage of our population have lived beyond the major cities, some of our most distinctive stories and indeed legends are set in the vastness of the Australian bush.

My non-fiction favourites include Jeannie Gunn’s We of The Never Never, Mary Durack’s Kings in Grass Castles and Eric Rolls’ A Million Wild Acres.

Fiction picks include Robbery Under Arms by Rolf Boldrewood and Xavier Herbert’s Capricornia.

In all these works the reader is treated to the story of men and their passion for land, of occupation and settlement and of businesses forged and lives lost in a land fraught with the difficulties of an isolated frontier. There is something thrilling about reading about the country in which we live, and taking a step into the Australian outback via the written word is an experience rich with conflict, difficulties, intrigue and romanticism.

© Nicole Alexander August 2012

Absolution Creek

by Nicole Alexander

One man lost her. One man died for her. And one would kill for her …

Nicole Alexander’s new bestseller is a sweeping rural saga spanning two generations.

One man lost her. One man died for her. And one would kill for her … Nicole Alexander’s new bestseller is a sweeping rural saga spanning two generations.

In 1923 nineteen-year-old Jack Manning watches the construction of the mighty Harbour Bridge and dreams of being more than just a grocer’s son. So when he’s offered the chance to manage Absolution Creek, a sheep property 800 miles from Sydney, he seizes the opportunity.

But outback life is tough, particularly if you’re young, inexperienced and have only a few textbooks to guide you. Then a thirteen-year-old girl, Squib Hamilton, quite literally washes up on his doorstep – setting in motion a devastating chain of events…

Forty years later and Cora Hamilton is waging a constant battle to keep Absolution Creek in business. She’s ostracised by the local community and hindered by her inability to move on from the terrible events of her past, which haunt her both physically and emotionally.

Only one man knows what really happened in 1923. A dying man who is riding towards Absolution Creek, seeking his own salvation…

From the gleaming foreshores of Sydney Harbour to the vast Australian outback, this is a story of betrayal and redemption and of an enduring love which defies even death.

Click here to buy Absolution Creek from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

About the Author

In the course of her career Nicole Alexander has worked both in Australia and Singapore in financial services, fashion, corporate publishing and agriculture.

A fourth-generation grazier, Nicole returned to her family’s property in the late 1990s. She is currently the business manager there and has a hands-on role in the running of the property.

Nicole has a Master of Letters in creative writing and her novels, poetry, travel and genealogy articles have been published in Australia, Germany, America and Singapore. Nicole’s previous titles:  A Changing Land, The Bark Cutters.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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