When Grace Went Away Author, Meredith Appleyard, on Writing for the Joy of it

When Grace Went Away Author, Meredith Appleyard, on Writing for the Joy of it

About the book

When Grace Went Away is set in the fictional town of Miners Ridge in mid-north South Australia. It’s about a farming family fractured by tragedy. Grace, the eldest sibling tries hard to keep the family in touch, but then her work takes her to London. In the absence of Grace can the family find a way to heal? And who’ll have the courage to make the first move?

How does it feel to hold my book in my hands?

Wonderful! And kind of surreal. When I open to the first page, and read, there’s always a sentence that I think I could have worded better! Perhaps it’s like that for every author. I’ll admit, that since I’ve been writing it has changed the way I read just about everything. It’s on a continuum: in my head I’m either editing the author’s work, or acknowledging how talented they are and wishing I was half as clever.

What’s some great advice I’ve received that has helped me as a writer?

Written on a scrap piece of orange paper and clipped to the filing cabinet beside my desk are Stephen King’s 8 tips for writers. The two tips that always spur me on are: write one word at a time, and, write for the joy of it.

Who are my favourite authors?

There are some fabulous Australian crime writers, and I do enjoy a clever crime! Peter Temple would be at the top of my list, followed closely by Garry Disher, Jane Harper and Candice Fox. Alan Carter’s Marlborough Man, and his Cato Kwong series are not to be missed. The list goes on …

My most favourite book of all is MM Kaye’s Trade Wind. I first read it many years ago, and when I want to treat myself, I reread it. I’m never disappointed.

My daily writing routine and what I’m working on now

I could say I’m at my desk by 8.30 am, Monday to Friday. I do two thousand words by lunchtime and then pack up for the day… But I would be fibbing. Needless to say I haven’t nailed the perfect writing routine yet, no matter how hard I try. Some days are better than others, but there’s always plenty of room for improvement. Distractions abound.

Right now I’m working on book number six, with a working title All About Ella. This time I’ve taken the characters to the seaside, to a fictional town on the Yorke Peninsula. I love the layers and complexities of small rural communities. My heart is in the country, and always will be.


Try a Sample Chapter From Meredith Appleyard's When Grace Went Away

Review | Extract

1 June 2020

Try a Sample Chapter From Meredith Appleyard's When Grace Went Away

    A Poignant Family Story: Review of When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard

    Review | Our Review

    25 May 2020

    A Poignant Family Story: Review of When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard


      Classic, women-centred fiction, a complex, multi-layered story about family and community, from the author of the warmly received Home at Last.'Functionally dysfunctional.' That's how financial analyst Grace Fairley describes her family in the small South Australian farming community of Miners Ridge - a family fractured by tragedy and kept that way by anger, resentment and petty jealousies. As the eldest sibling, Grace tries to keep the family in touch, but now she's accepted a promotion to the London office. Time-zones and an enormous workload mean she's forced to take a step back, although she finds time to stay in contact with Miners Ridge landscape gardener Aaron Halliday.Sarah Fairley, Grace's mother, fled Miners Ridge and her embittered husband eight years ago. Now, in the absence of Grace, she finds herself pulled back to the small town where her estranged children and grandchildren live. Drawn into the local community, and trying to rebuild family relationships, she uncovers a long-kept secret that could change her world ...Can Grace, Sarah and their family find a way to heal? Who will have the courage to make the first move?
      Meredith Appleyard
      About the author

      Meredith Appleyard

      Meredith Appleyard lives in the Clare Valley wine-growing region of South Australia. As a registered nurse and midwife she practised in a wide range of country health settings, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service. She has been an agency nurse in London and a volunteer in Vietnam. When a friend challenged Meredith to do what she'd always wanted to do – write a novel – she saved up, took time off work, sat down at the computer and wrote her first novel. Realising after the first rejection letter she needed to learn more about the craft of writing, she attended workshops, joined a writers' group and successfully completed an Advanced Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing with the Adelaide Centre for Arts. Meredith lives with her husband and border collie Lily, and when she's not writing she's reading!

      Books by Meredith Appleyard


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