Tell Us Your Backstory with Margareta Osborn
Growing up, my family always spent part of school vacations at the seaside town of Lakes Entrance, in Gippsland, where we were lucky enough to have a holiday house my grandparents built back in the 1950’s. Dad usually only made it for a night here and there. Being a dairy farmer he didn’t get much time away from our 5th generation property at Tinamba.
But that was okay, as we still had a great time, country kids in town for a week – mini golf, trampolines, and the surf beach. Then as we got older there was that delicious summer love – the boys, the dates to the carnival and the green ginger wine spilt all over mum’s picnic rug whilst surreptitiously drinking too much. (Followed by the 2am phone call to Dad from the public phone box on the street, to be reprimanded for making mum worry. Oops. Wink wink.)
Ahhh … those long, hot summer days. Those uncomplicated years where having fun was the aim of the game. Do you think back and smile and wonder what happened to your first love? The boy you thought so hot, who bought you a bag of fairy floss from the caravan flashing bright lights to attract all and sundry to donuts and dagwood dogs.
In my latest (and seventh) book, LAKE HILL, that’s exactly where we head. Back to Lakes Entrance, that stunning seaside town tucked into the south-east coast of Victoria. And while Julia Gunn does find out what happened to her first love, Rick Halloran, with life shattering consequences, I’m wondering what happened to mine? Perhaps he became the chef he wanted to be – like Julia who, in an effort to start her life over again, opens a café beside a stunning mountain lake? Or maybe he became a farmer, a rodeo cowboy and a sculptor like Rick, my hunky hero in this book?
Or maybe he became an author and grazier like me?
I’ve always loved farming and with that cattle and dogs. It was hard to leave them when we went to Lakes Entrance. Plus my horse. That was a wrench too. But I always knew I had the rest of the holidays to ride, play with the dogs and help Dad. (Well, expect for the time we got chicken pox when school holidays were in May. Mum made us stay in Lakes for the WHOLE holidays and swim in the salt water everyday. It was flaming freezing. Tough love, but it worked magic on those red, itchy little spots.)
I’ve always had Border Collies but never knew how to train them properly, so they’ve been only half as good as they could be at working cattle. My fault not theirs. So when my youngest son set his mind on a Kelpie my dictum to him was, ‘You have to learn to train it or it’s not happening.’ (I know, talk about calling the kettle and pot black!)
Through a mate we found one of the best blokes in Australia to teach him how to train a working dog, and I went along thinking I could write about a character doing the same in LAKE HILL. Turns out that step took us to the Pilbara to work on a half million-acre cattle station for a mustering season, and whilst our son decided the working dog arena wasn’t for him, guess who’s now got a Kelpie? Talk about living life through your kids!
So maybe our next trip should be a return to the past? To Lakes Entrance with it’s mini golf, carnivals and the surf beach? The kids would adore that. But I might give the hot dates a miss this time round, because I’m married.
To a boy from Lakes Entrance, in fact. 🙂
Dreams can come true – just be careful what you wish for…
All her life Julia Gunn has been weighed down – first by a controlling father, then by a staid older husband, and always by a long-buried secret from her teenage years.
Now, widowed at just thirty-six, she’s going to do something for herself.
Except en route to a new life on the coast at Lakes Entrance she finds herself – courtesy of a rockslide – stuck in the remote mountain town of Lake Grace.
Yet maybe fate is on her side. Because Lake Grace is home to Rick Halloran – ex-rodeo king, sculptor and grazier – and the man with whom she enjoyed a brief, unforgettable romance twenty years ago.
Not only that, but Julia has dreamed of running her own café, and she’s just spotted a For Sale sign outside the prettiest little tea-room by the lake . . .
Julia is finally on the verge of the life she’s always wanted.
Then her long-buried secret knocks at the door . . .