Six Sharp Questions
1. Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?
Absolution Creek is the story of Jack Manning, a grocer’s son, who watches the construction of the Sydney harbour bridge and dreams of a better life. Although inexperienced, he leaves Sydney to manage Absolution Creek, a sheep property some 800 miles north. Yet outback life is tough and when a young girl, Squib Hamilton literally washes up on his doorstep he gradually learns of the devastating chain of events which will alter her life forever.
Absolution Creek is also the story of the men who loved Squib and tried to save her; her father, her friend and the man who would be her lover. Yet, one man lost her. One killed for her and one would die for her. 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.
With Absolution Creek I really wanted to tell a sweeping story that did justice to the vast country and characters that make outback Australia unique. I’m very proud of this novel.
2. Time passes. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?
The best was being a nominee for the NSW Women of the Year Awards and being named the Barwon Woman of the Year for services to literature & the promotion of the outback through my work.
3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us? It doesn’t need to be deep but it would be great if it meant something to you.
‘The oxen is slow, but the earth is patient.’ I think it is Confucius. Regardless of what you attempt in life, you will be rewarded if you persevere for long enough.
4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.
I probably conform in that when I sit in front of my laptop I disappear into my imagined world. On the other hand I work full-time on a mixed agricultural property. I’m too busy to be difficult – so my partner tells me.
5. Some writers claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).
I write what I live and love, the Australian outback. Although rural literature is enjoying a resurgence at the moment I would still be telling my stories regardless as I’m a fourth generation grazier. Some of Australia’s most distinctive stories and indeed legends originate in the outback and I’m proud to be writing about what is effectively my heritage.
6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?
For Whom The Bell Tolls , The English Patient , The Bible, A Fortunate Life (ABF), and my own novel, Absolution Creek. The last so that the adolescents have proof that I may in fact be somebody worth listening to and the first four as they all throw light on the human condition-good and bad.
Nicole, thank you for playing.
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.
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.
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 booktopia.com.au, 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.