Paula J. Beavan, author of Daughter of the Hunter Valley took some time out to have a chat with Beauty and Lace.
Get to know Paula in this interview.
Tell us about Daughter of the Hunter Valley…
Daughter of the Hunter Valley is set in 1831 in the recently colonised Hunter Valley, and tells the story of Madeleine Barker-Trent, who travels alone from England to be reunited with her father. Unfortunately, when she arrives, she finds little trace of the grand home her father described in his letters, and after a suspicious accident, she’s left alone.
Maddy is faced with a choice, sell Shelby Estate and return to England, or stay and realise her family’s dream for a new life in the colony of New South Wales. She decides to stay, and along with handsome overseer, Daniel; a motley crew of convicts; and the help of good neighbours, she sets about learning how to run the property.
Who is your target audience?
I think anyone who loves to read about history told from a woman’s point of view; and about brave young women who dare to go against the dictates of society to pursue their dreams will enjoy Daughter of the Hunter Valley.
Maddy’s is a determined young woman who is willing to make choices that are right for her, and she doesn’t allow social pressures to dictate her decisions, and there’s a nice dose of romance thrown in for good measure.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always told stories, and composition was my favourite subject in primary school. I started putting pen to paper in my teens in an attempt to write an Australian version of Sweet Valley High, and I still have some of those handwritten pages hidden at the back of the filing cabinet.
I saved for an electric typewriter while still at school and started lot of stories but rarely got past the first chapter. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I got serious and wrote several full-length manuscripts. So yes, I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
There’s so much to learn, and if you can afford it, invest in learning the craft of writing, because there’s more to it than just scribbling away. Another is write, write, write.
Don’t just talk about it, do it. But one of the truest things I’ve ever been told, was write what you love, because you will have to read it about 75 times.
What are your favourite series or series authors?
I am a sucker for a series, I fall in love with characters, and have many favourites, but I think the one I have reread the most would be Peter Grainger’s DC Smith Investigations. I also love Jodi Taylor’s Chronicles of St Mary’s series. Both are great fun, and great reads.
Do you prefer printed books, ebooks or audiobooks?
All of them have their place in my life, I prefer printed books, but I must admit I listen to audiobooks most, because by the time I’m done writing for the day, my eyes won’t focus. Ebooks are great in that you can hear about a new author or book and have it in an instant.
But my best reward when I finish a manuscript is a few days off to sink into the pages of a good book and not emerge until it’s finished. Eating and toilet breaks not-withstanding.
Who is your favourite author?
I really don’t know that I could name just one. I read/listen to so many different genres, authors, and styles. But the authors whose books I purchase as soon as they’re available are Peter Grainger, Jodi Taylor, Tea Cooper, Kate Forsyth, Kate Morton, and Anthony Horowitz.
What are you currently reading?
The Buchanan Girls by Emily Madden, I’m only a few pages in, but am intrigued to see what comes next.
Where can our readers follow you?
What is next for Paula Beavan?
I’ve just sent my second novel off to my critique partner for dissection. Highlander in the Hunter is the working title; and it’s also set in the Hunter Valley in the 1800s. It’s inspired by the true story of a community of Scottish Highlanders from the Isle of Skye.
They were sponsored to emigrate to the Hunter Valley during the Highland Clearances, and viewed through the eyes of my fictional character Charity Nicolson, sister of a Gaelic speaking minister who was sent to NSW by the Scottish Presbyterian Church.
I am a mother of four beautiful children. I can’t leave a book unfinished which equals a lot of late nights! When I’m not reading you can find me in the garden, or helping out at Beauty and Lace.