AUTHOR OF THE MONTH: Judy Nunn
This October, bestselling author and star of stage and screen Judy Nunn returns with her 14th novel, Sanctuary.
You may know Judy from her roles on The Box (she was half of the first lesbian kiss to air on Australian television), Prisoner, A Country Practice, Sons and Daughters and, of course, Home and Away (she married her real-life husband, fellow actor and author Bruce Venables, the same week that Ailsa and Alf wed on-screen), but did you know that she has written fourteen full-length novels, as well as a handful of children’s books and eBook specials?
Judy has found international recognition in her career as an author, with over one million books sold worldwide, and in 2015 was made a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her ‘significant service to the performing arts as a scriptwriter and actor of stage and screen, and to literature as an author’. Garnering praise from critics and readers alike, her novels take the reader to locations around Australia, and through different eras, and Sanctuary is the first of hers to be set completely in modern day Australia. Every release of Judy’s books is accompanied by an extensive tour around Australia, visiting regional and metropolitan areas to talk to fans about her books, and this year she will be embarking on a five state, 45 event tour (and counting) over six weeks.
Many years ago, as part of a local writers’ festival, Judy had the opportunity to visit the Houtman Abrolhos, a chain of islands off the coast of Geraldton. The desolation of the islands was the perfect inspiration for Sanctuary: what if people in search of sanctuary landed on this remote island, with no idea of where they might be, only to discover that, despite the starkness of the place, it provided everything necessary for their survival?
Sanctuary is a story about the human spirit; the will to survive under horrendous circumstances and the spirit of people who put themselves at risk to help those in peril, says Judy. It’s also a tale about love and compassion – this is by no means a ‘romantic’ novel, but it is probably the strongest ‘love story’ I’ve yet written, simply because it had to be. Love is the essence of the book.
In Judy Nunn’s latest compelling novel, compassion meets bigotry, hatred meets love, and ultimately despair meets hope on the windswept shores of Australia.
On a barren island off the coast of Western Australia, a rickety wooden dinghy runs aground. Aboard are nine people who have no idea where they are. Strangers before the violent storm that tore their vessel apart, the instinct to survive has seen them bond during their days adrift on a vast and merciless ocean.
Fate has cast them ashore with only one thing in common . . . fear. Rassen the doctor, Massoud the student, the child Hamid and the others all fear for their lives. But in their midst is Jalila, who appears to fear nothing. The beautiful young Yazidi woman is a mystery to them all.
While they remain undiscovered on the deserted island, they dare to dream of a new life . . .
But forty kilometres away on the mainland lies the tiny fishing port of Shoalhaven. Here everyone knows everyone, and everyone has their place. In Shoalhaven things never change.
Until now . . .