Fleur McDonald is one of Australia’s leading rural literature authors. Fleur draws inspiration from having lived and worked for much of her life on a farm – including early life on her parent’s property in regional South Australia, and more recently on her 8000 acre property in regional Western Australia. Her eighth work of fiction, Sapphire Falls, is available today.
Guest Post by Fleur McDonald:
There’s something about where you grow up which never leaves you. For me it’s the Flinders Ranges and the mid-north of South Australia. That country, like the dust storms it can produce, has infiltrated my soul and doesn’t leave me alone.
Although I now live in Esperance, Western Australia, I grew up in the small town of Orroroo, right at the gateway to the Flinders. I was brought up in a time where the street lights coming on meant it was time to go home and Orroroo, being a small town, everybody always knew everyone and looked out for each other. And maybe that’s why I love the area so much – it represents a time of freedom and fun.
I had an idyllic childhood; I was very much ‘free range’. I’d get up early and train, by myself, for long distance running competitions. My friends and I were safe to jump on our bikes and ride to the pool, or footy oval, or really wherever we wanted.
While spending time at my grandparent’s station, north of Orroroo, I rode my horse, Starbuck, for hours through the creeks. Papa and Dad trained me to drive up and down the hills, and how to get across flooded creek crossings.
Papa taught me we are only custodians of the land; it never belongs to us, even though we might own the title.
The soil ranges in colour from red to purple and it takes only a few millimetres of rain to bring life to earth. This soil doesn’t just come to life… Grasses, flowers and bushes burst from the depths. The wildflower season is something to behold. Lines of blues, whites, reds, pinks and every other colour in lines, which makes them look like they’ve been planted in rows. Mother Nature is an incredible gardener and Flinders Ranges is her canvas.
There is something healing about this country – it’s the place I run to when I need downtime. The deep creeks, lined with gum trees, are peaceful and while the screeching of the galahs and white cockies aren’t, they go hand in hand – along with the ridges of granite, stony ground and summer heat.
There is a ruggedness about the area which makes it seem ancient – much older than areas that are more populated.
It’s easy to write and bring to life an area which I know so well and love so much; and I want to share it with as many people as I can.
To celebrate Booktoberfest at Booktopia, order Sapphire Falls by October 31st and you’ll go into the draw to win a fiction prize pack worth $1000! And if you order any book from the Booktoberfest showcase, you’ll go into the draw to win a year’s supply of books. That’s a $50 gift voucher every week – for an entire year!
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