About the author:
For Darry Fraser, writing is her journey and the Australian landscape – rural, coastal, and desert – is her home and hearth. History, hidden catalysts, and powerful connections between humans drive her stories. Well-developed characters and layered stories woven with passion denote her love of telling a great tale. Darry is a daughter, a sister and an aunty. She loves animals, especially dogs, and walks her beloved Dog every day. She is left-handed, has an extreme fondness for plain-flavoured potato chips and fresh licorice, and loves a bold berry-flavoured red wine (not necessarily at the same time).
The Good Woman of Renmark is a thrilling 19th century journey through the South Australian bush and along the mighty Murray River in the company of a determined heroine. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?
Our heroine Maggie finds herself in dire circumstances: she’s just killed a man (she believes), a thug, but still! So she runs. I wanted the story to parallel her other ‘real life’ running situation: she runs from Sam and finds truth in the tag on the front cover: If you’re escaping your fate, you need a good place to hide. There’s no longer any place for Maggie to hide, first of all from the dangers of the bush and then from her own feelings, despite the tug of nature. She has to front up.
What inspired this novel?
Maggie and Sam were two characters from Where the Murray River Runs – Sam was the hero’s best friend, and Maggie, the hero’s absent sister. They’d been close friends for years but something had gone very wrong and Maggie left the area. Sam and Maggie were just waiting for their story to be told.
Can you tell us about your research process for The Good Woman of Renmark?
It starts mainly with ‘where’. I knew Maggie had gone to Renmark to work and that was a good place to start. I learned what I could about the irrigation project begun by the Chaffey brothers in Mildura, who also set up in the Renmark area, in fact that irrigation scheme put Renmark on the map. From there, coming downriver, further into South Australia, I wanted Maggie to come almost all the way down to Goolwa at the Murray mouth. She wasn’t having it and propped at a tiny place called Lyrup not far out of Renmark – so down the research hole I went again and learned of the ‘communalistic’ settlements there.
Who are some authors that have inspired you?
Inspirational ‘style’ is across all genres: JK Rowling aka Robert Galbraith, Fiona McIntosh, Lisa Gardner, Harlan Coben, Amy Andrews, to name a very few. I like Michael Robotham’s first person, and also Tim Slee’s style. One fine day I’ll write a contemporary crime novel – I’m sure of it.
What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?
My daily routine is up and at ’em by 0830, at the desk: dog walked, I’m showered, dressed, and both of us fed. I open my document, check social media then back to my document and away I go. Sometimes I revise, sometimes I just plough ahead. Word count varies, depending on the task. A good creative word count day (as opposed to revise/edit) is about two and half thousand words. I’ve finished the novel for July 2020 – Elsa Goody, Bushranger – and have just sent November 2020’s story to my beta readers. Both are late 19th century adventures once again with strong heroines, honourable heroes, and swift retribution for the crooks. I can’t really explain my attraction to the last decade in the 19th century where my books are set; I think it has to do with the end of the colonial period – far removed from early colonial, and yet not so much changed as things would be after Federation and the awful first world war.
As for the next story – there is something percolating but to date nothing tangible to report has hit me.