Romance author Annie Seaton is today’s guest interviewee (text only). Annie is an internationally-published romance writer, and in 2015 was voted Best Established Australian Author by romance readers in the AusRom Today Readers’ Choice Awards. In 2016 Kakadu Sunset was shortlisted for the Ruby Award in the category of best long romance.
What inspired you to write, and to write romance/environmental stories, which are an unusual combination?
My books are the culmination of several journeys for me: physical, emotional and spiritual. My journey as a writer, as a traveller of our beautiful country (I believe grey nomad is the correct term) and as a privileged visitor to the spiritual places of the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Kakadu National Park is one of Australia’s special places—World Heritage listed for both its environment and its living Aboriginal culture. Two years ago on the way to the Northern Territory, we crossed the vast outback through three states, travelling through ancient landscapes. Many of these landscapes have been scarred by various types of mining.
Visiting Kakadu and experiencing the spirituality of the land made me wonder what would happen if mining occurred in that pristine environment. The idea for Kakadu Sunset was born. I guess you could call it Crocodile Dundee meets Erin Brockovich!
That is where my interest in combining landscape, environmental issues, romance and suspense began as the story took shape. I have continued that in the rest of the series.
What stories and storytellers do you admire?
My favourite in romance is an author from the 1950s, Essie Summers. She wrote beautiful stories and her writing was lyrical.
In contemporary romance fiction, I love Kristen Higgins, and I read all of the current Australian Rural and Women’s Fiction authors.
Liane Moriarty and Anna Romer are two of my ‘go to’ Aussie authors at the moment.
Your stories combine many disparate elements: flying a helicopter, living in a rural community and fauna smuggling. How did you research these separate aspects of your stories?
Not being one for flying, and never having been in a helicopter before, I knew that if it my scenes were to be realistic I would have to do my research well. So I took a training flight in an R22 helicopter, the same as the one that Ellie flies in Kakadu Sunset.
The flight was over the beautiful Whitsunday Islands, on the way back from Kakadu and I acknowledge the instructor in my acknowledgments.
However the research for the controlled crash was all online and by talking to an expert in the US, I became an ‘almost’ expert on autorotation.
I have lived in rural communities and enjoy small town living. Over the city. Wildlife smuggling research was by reading and internet research.
In the light of Noel Pearson’s recent castigation of the ABC’s reporting on Indigenous issues, why did you include key First Nations characters and how did you research Indigenous culture?
I have local indigenous connections in our community, and I also consulted with academic indigenous organisations to ensure the cultural aspects were appropriate
How did you transition from the inevitable day job alongside writing to writing full-time?
After many years in the ‘day job’ I retired (young) and have never worked harder in my life. But writing is sheer pleasure. I structure my day into working hours, four days a week.
I am currently writing Book 3 set in the East Kimberley, and then off for the next two research trips! To the Whitsunday region for a historical book, and then off to the Tanami desert.
Thank you for talking to Dark Matter Zine.
Thanks for having me!