Friday, March 14, 2008

My Love Affair With The Outback - Fiona Lowe

I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of traveling in my life (and I have plans to do a whole heap more!), but for many years our trips always left the borders of Australia, taking us to places that seemed far more exotic and interesting.

Toward the end of one year where my husband and I had been away from Australia for nine months, we found ourselves driving through the deserts of Nevada. We were totally blown away by the colours, having never been in a desert before. And then it hit us. We came from the country with a huge desert and we’d never even seen it. Our bad!

A year later on a crisp and cold outback winter dawn, we floated across the central Australian desert in a hot air balloon, gazing down on a mob of kangaroos, bounding across the red dust and spinifex. Right there and then I fell in love with my country.

Since that trip, the outback has always fascinated me. The tyranny of distance, the choking dust, the amazing challenges of dealing with high temperatures and lack of water, and the fact that the pioneers really thought they could make a go of it. Deluded or Determined? Either way, many did make a go of it and those that did fell in love with this “wide, brown land.”

In 2008, life in the outback is still a tough gig but our outback communities and cattle stations have satellite communications, the support of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and helicopters and planes to link them more quickly with the urbanised eastern coast.

I love creating my fictional outback towns where everyone is only 1-2 handshakes away from everyone else and the wonderful sense of community that comes from that. It can be used to help or hinder my heroine and hero, and in A Wedding In Warragurra, it does both! The outback heat shimmers between them, and the township of Warragurra pushes them together whether they like it or not.

I had SO much fun creating Warragurra that I couldn’t just set one book there so a second story, The Playboy Doctor’s Marriage Proposal, follows in September.

What place in the world have you visited that made a lasting impression on you?

Fiona’s seventh book, A Wedding in Warragurra is out now in the UK and hits the shelf in Australia on April 15th. Visit her website for some outback adventure and a chance to win her latest release.


Karen H said...

To visit Australia is on my Top Ten Things to do before I die wish list. I don't know that I'll ever make it there, but I can wish.

I just can't imagine the enormity of living in a country so large that people are thousands of miles from civilization. Having satelite to provide faster, easier contact with the outside urban world must now be a blessing for those hardy folks.

Jane said...

Hawaii has left a lasting impression on me. It's so beautiful, the weather and the landscape. There's a rich blend of multiple cultures. The food is amazing.

Anna Campbell said...

Fiona, great post, and congratulations on the release of Wedding in Warragurra. I love the sound of your new book - but then, you know I'm a fan girl with the complete works on my bookcase ;-) I've done a lot of travelling in Australia but it's mainly been around the coast. The outback is certainly on my list. Lots of places have made an impression on me, but I think my favorite would have to be the west coast of Scotland and the Hebrides. Real romance novel material!

Wolfy said...

I have a wish to visit Australia and New Zealand one day. I have seen so many pictures of the beauty that is there and find it all very intriguing.

It is funny how you forget the beauty you have in your own backyard to speak. I know I had a different appreciation of things around here when I had a cousin visiting and was taking him and his family to places that I have grown up with and took for granted. Seeing it from his eyes, was a whole new experience.

Estella said...

I would love to visit Australia.
Hawaii made a huge impression on me. Especially the island of Maui. You can go from rain forest to desert in the blink of an eye.

Gigi said...

I would love to visit Australia. I don't know if I could survive the outback, but I'd give it a good 'ole try.
I visited you site earlier today and check out the info on Wedding in Warragurra. I think it is something I am going to enjoy reading.

anne said...

I had never travelled internationally before so my first trip ever to Europe was to explore Italy and I was totally enthralled.

Pat Cochran said...

I've not done much traveling beyond
chaperoning high school band trips
within this country! The one major
vacation for us was when I won a sweepstakes. The prize was a trip
to Venice, Italy. I love Venice
and would go back in a heartbeat!
Two other countries I have always
wanted to visit: Australia and

Pat Cochran

Annie West said...

Hi Fiona,

What a great topic! I love the outback too, though I don't think I've got the stamina to live there.

What place made a lasting impression on me? Hm, too hard to pick one. There have been several. But as I saw something about it just the other night, I'll mention the Salzkammergut lake district in Austria. I remember it as being so very, very different to Australia (and the outback) and gorgeous in a completely opposite way. So incredibly green, with stunning mountains sloping down to meadows and lakes. Gorgeous! Friendly people too, which made our visit so special.


Fiona Lowe said...

HI, I have just got back from my son's school fete and I smell of sausages and onions after cooking them for four hours! But we had a great day for it after the killer heat of last week. Thanks for sharing your stories. I too loved Hawaii and Italy but Anna I need to return to Scotland. I zipped up the middle and missed the coast ...I love the movie Local Hero and I so want to see those gorgeous fishing villages.

Dina said...

I have never been to Austrailia, maybe some day I'll visit but for only like 7 days, lol.

Any vacatiov that I take, usually after the 1st 4 days, I'm ok to go home, lol.