Living for five years on the River Murray as a child left such an impression on South Australian author Darry Fraser, she has set the majority of her books around the iconic river.
An Australian historical romance writer who currently calls Kangaroo Island home, Darry says “the river was a source of absolute fascination for me. It captured me as a very young child”.
She has also lived in Swan Hill and for a long time in Alice Springs, as well as travelled extensively across Australia.
It’s a good life for story ideas and research, and her novels reflect this.
Darry’s first book “Daughter of the Murray” was published in 2015.
Her second novel “Where the River Runs” is set in Bendigo in the 1890s and her third novel, “The Widow of Ballarat” takes place on the goldfields of Ballarat in the 1850s.
Darry was in Two Wells on Thursday November 28 to promote her latest book “The Good Woman of Renmark”.
“The process of writing, for me, is very magical,” she told those gathered in the Uniting Church hall.
“I often keep a scribble block and pencil next to my bed because I’m often woken by a thought or an idea, and once it’s out of my head and on paper, I can move on and go back to sleep.”
Speaking openly about her writing journey, Darry admitted to the audience that while “writer’s block” in its most common understanding had not struck her per se, fatigue certainly had.
And it’s no wonder, with Darry turning out 2500 words a day – on a good day – on average for each book.
“The creative process needs a rest, a break,” she said.
“If you’re story is on the wrong path you can’t go any further.”
All of Darry’s stories feature strong, independent women who overcome adversity, the restrictions and expectations of women of their time, and who “grow into themselves”.
Each book is thoroughly researched, both before writing and on-going as the story takes shape, with Darry’s love of history shining through.
“I feel that I really connect with the history that I’m writing about,” she said.
“I live in a little bubble when I’m writing (and) the research that goes into every line is significant.
“When I’m doing the research I try to step right into that space.
“The history walks with me, if you like (but) my characters direct the story, very much so… at 4.15am, 5.23am, 2.30am.”
Darry’s next novel is titled “Elsa Goody Bushranger” and is due for release in July 2020.