Annabelle Brayley, editor of Bush Nurses, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |April 9, 2013

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Annabelle Brayley

editor of Bush Nurses

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised with four brothers on the western Darling Downs in Queensland; and schooled at the local state primary school then as a boarder at St Margaret’s Girls School, Brisbane.

2. What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?

12: Not sure

18: Hair dresser- it appealed to my creative, chatty side I think. I liked the idea of hearing people’s stories and doesn’t everyone tell their hairdresser everything?

By 50: I wanted to be a published storyteller.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?

I believed people were lucky when I was young. Now I know you make your own luck by recognising opportunities and making the most of them.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

1. My mother reading us The Hobbit and all the Australian children’s classics…Seven Little Australians, the Billabong books etc. when we were kids.

2. Reading Pieces of Blue by Kerry McGuiness. It was/is a really beautiful piece of writing about life in outback Australia. It inspired me to keep writing and pitching.

3 Mark Muller, Editor of RM William’s OUTBACK Magazine giving me a break and publishing my first story in the magazine in 2006.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

Absolutely not! Nothing beats the feel of a real book, actually physically turning the pages to journey through the story. It’s a partnership with the author that just doesn’t work electronically.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

It’s a collection of stories about nurses who work/have worked in rural and remote areas of Australia. Their amazing stories, some of which are hair-raising, some funny, some sad, reflect the enormous contribution nurses have made to the medical, social and economic wellbeing and sustainability of the outback.

From The Publisher:

It takes something special to be a bush nurse working in rural and remote Australia. These remarkable women patch people up and keep them alive while waiting for the doctor to arrive. They drive the ambulances, operate the clinics and deliver the babies. They are on call around the clock and there are no days off. They often make do with whatever is at hand while working in some of the most isolated places on the planet.

Be they devastating family tragedies, close scrapes with bushfires or encounters with true larrikins of the outback, some stories will make your hair stand on end, others will make you laugh and some will make your cry. With tales from Birdsville to Bedourie, Oodnadatta to Uluru, you’ll be amazed at the courage and resourcefulness of these nurses who have been the backbone of medical practice in remote Australia for more than a hundred years.

Click here to buy Bush Nurses from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

7. If Bush Nurses could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

People’s understanding and appreciation of rural and remote nurses and the work they do in the outback. They are usually multi skilled and extraordinarily well qualified because of the broad range of their experience. Often they are the only immediate medical help available.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

• Peter Ford (CEO Control Bionics)… brilliant, focused, compassionate, imaginative and courageous.

Jessica Watson…young Australian yachtsman…focused, resilient, determined to follow her dream.

• The young Royals…displaying grace under the most extreme pressure.

9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To make a living out of writing.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t give up on your dream and write about what you know (unless you’re into fantasy). Keep pitching and recognise the potential of any opportunity presented to you.

Annabelle, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy Bush Nurses from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

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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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