Australia’s prolific storyteller, Judy Nunn, is back with what can only be described as a bestseller-in-waiting. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of regional Queensland, Elianne explores the institution of Queensland’s sugar-cane farming industry, the social revolution of the 1960’s AUstralia and the power of family secrets.
Recently I spoke with Judy Nunn to chat Elianne, Queensland and writing. You can read the full interview here, but for the behind the scenes chat that took place–keep reading!
JB: What is your writing routine?
JN: It varies. I write every day when possible, but when it’s not I make sure I don’t leave off between a rock and a hard place. I make tons of notes so I can’t wait to get back to it.
Favourite snack whilst writing?
I don’t ‘snack’ as such when I’m writing, but I do eat my lunch at my computer, so usually a sandwich or some such finger food, and always, towards the end of the day, a glass of wine as I read through the day’s work.
If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Having lunch in some beautiful restaurant overlooking the water, or out with my husband on our boat ‘The China Moon’
The one book that you’ve read over and over is…
I’ve never read a book over and over. Do people do that? Twice would be my limit and even that would be rare. There are so many wonderful books! Life’s too short to finish them all, why repeat the experience?
Favourite fictional character:
In Australian fiction, possibly Edith Campbell-Berry from Frank Moorhouse’s trilogy. Apart from her, far too many to mention.
Biggest accomplishment to date:
Every new book I finish. They don’t get any easier, if anything they’re harder as I keep setting the bar higher for myself. Each time I think ‘I can’t do this again’, so to see a new book completed and in print gives me a huge sense of accomplishment.
What’s next for you?
Surprise, surprise. A new book.
We are seeing some significant changes in the current publishing environment, with the availability of ebooks and most notably the opportunity for independent authors to access the publishing world on their own terms. As one of Australia’s leading authors, how do you feel about this?
The publishing industry is certainly in a huge state of change, but as an author I don’t feel particularly threatened. People will always want stories, in whichever form they choose to read them.
In the tough world of Queensland sugar mills, it’s not only cane that is crushed …
In 1881 ‘Big Jim’ Durham, an English soldier of fortune and profiteer, ruthlessly creates for Elianne Desmarais, his young French wife, the finest of the great sugar mills of the Southern Queensland cane fields, and names it in her honour.
The massive estate becomes a self-sufficient fortress, a cane-consuming monster and home to hundreds of workers, but ‘Elianne’ and its masters, the Durham Family, have dark and distant secrets; secrets that surface in the wildest and most inflammatory of times, the 1960s.
For Kate Durham and her brothers Neil and Alan, freedom is the catchword of the decade.Young Australians leap to the barricades of the social revolution. Rock ‘n’ roll, the Pill, the Vietnam War, the rise of Feminism, Asian immigration and the Freedom Ride join forces to rattle the chains of traditional values.
The workers leave the great sugar estates as mechanisation lessens the need for labour. And the Durham family, its secrets exposed, begins its fall from grace…