We were based at a little place called Flying Fish Point, a few kilometres east of Innisfail, bounded by the mouth of the Johnstone River on one side and the ocean on another. A glorious place, where the forest is lush and deep green, the golden beach is long, and the cerulean sea and sky almost seem to merge.
From here we made trips to the Daintree rainforest, to the huge plateau of the Tablelands, up to Cairns, Port Douglas and as far north as Cooktown. All wonderful places. And wonder of them all, we went snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.
But there was a downside to this paradise, for we were all aware that in the waters of the Johnstone River and the myriad creeks and rivers nearby lived that most fearsome of creatures, the salt water crocodile.
I knew my book had to be set in this superb place, and that my main character would be a spirited young woman. In such a place the story needed to have elements of adventure, and mystery, and to reveal something of the soul of the place. It should also include some of the lore of the aboriginal people who were the original inhabitants of the land.
I set the story on Yallandoo, a cattle station. But I was born and bred a city girl, with little knowledge of cattle stations, or rodeos, or aboriginal culture and spiritual beliefs, and their burial rites. Or the habits of crocodiles.
What I do know a lot about is life, people, and human nature. The rest I had to research.
That included how to brand a steer, how points are allotted at a rodeo, the Aboriginal Dreamtime, how a fire is fought without piped water, and just how dangerous is the ‘saltie’?, as the local crocs are called, (very dangerous!), to name a few.
I had the most wonderful time for weeks and months, delving into all these fascinating subjects – in books and papers, in libraries, and on the internet. I love research, but I am so easily led from my subject into interesting by-ways, which runs away with the time!
I have tried to keep things authentic, and if you pick up any irregularities in the facts of the story, you must blame it on the fact I’m really just a city girl!
Kate Loveday grew up in the seaside suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia with a love of books and always wanted to write. Her career has included publication of travel articles and short stories, as well as full length novels. She previously worked in real estate and building, as an office manager, and finally as a natural beauty therapist, running her own natural therapy business with husband Peter for many years. When not writing, Kate enjoys reading, listening to music, good food and wine, and ‘hanging out’ with family and friends. She takes part in writing groups, as well as being the financial manager of a Community Association. Kate says, ‘I just want to write good stories; stories you can lose yourself in, with real characters you can love – or hate – that will keep you engrossed to the end. And if I can manage to touch your heart along the way, I’m happy.’