Posted by Literary Titan
Beyond Sun and Shadows is a sweeping tale set on an Australian cattle station in 1948 and follows the lives of a small community as their lives are thrown into turmoil by unforeseen circumstances. The setup to this novel is unique and vivid. What were some influences that motivated you to write this story?
This novel is about my own experiences as I have explained in the note in first pages.
My father took me and my brother with him away from boarding colleges out to Roy Hill Station, south of Nullagine in the outback of Western Aust. to Roy Hill station (named Row hill station in the story). That place now belongs to Gina Reinhardt with her copper mines all around. I mentioned that I altered the names in the story. We stayed there and worked for some years until I went To Ethel Creek station down the track to help the Managers wife and children; and my Dad and Brother were moved north to Waterloo Station, near the Northern Territory border. Later on I joined them there. When finding a Lump on my back I was flown to Wyndham on the coast to have it removed. After being there for some weeks, as in my biography, I flew to Darwin and started work there as a clerk
with the Government for over two years.
Everything I wrote included myself (as Lea) and my family. All the story of the station and helping the shearers, mustering, The wet season, and animals are true, as were the staff of aboriginal workers and us going to their camp. We watched them dance and joined in with them clicking sticks in time. One old man Bindi the gardener, used to press his trousers under his mattress.
Some of the characters are from stations I went to during those few years. The main parts of fiction was the two young men who were murdered and the escaped prisoners who turned up there. A few of the events were fiction, but the characters I met there and at other stations were as I found them , except the head shearer who wrote poetry, but all the poetry written in there is mine. The local dialogue is true as it’s written. Many of the things the young daughter and her friend did and felt were my experiences.
This book has a diverse cast of characters. What character was your favorite to write for?
Favourite characters were many – Chipper (not his name), that mailman was fiction, the funny Chinese cook, and the little boy Eric whom I looked after (his name was Micheal). Everything I wrote about Wyndham did happen and were true, even the song they sang. The young girl who lived with her father, the weatherman, was my actual friend there.
I felt that the books themes seem to be humankind’s connection to the land and the pioneering spirit of the Australian people. What do you hope readers take away from your book?
I really hope that people reading my story will understand and realize this is the real outback country, and how the people of the outback come across. Not false or artificial, but as I described them. Their life is is in this land and most of them become part of the free spirit of the country with it red plains and spinifex whirling into the sky as willy willy’s do. Even my poetry in the book symbolizes the land and it inhabitants. I have written many story poems about the outback, the trees, the animals, pioneers and ordinary bush people. Some are humorous, some sad.
An epic adventure story set on the coast and inland, detailing life in Western Australia in 1948 on a sheep and cattle station. This is real outback living where dramatic events can occur and unforgotten shadows effect the everyday lives of others. When the meatworks were in Wyndham, escaped prisoners strike terror… a family and a stockman with unhappy pasts… the mailman finds a strange body on the road… an accident in windy weather… a shearer with talent… a tragic death daunts natives… a minister’s plane crashes… cattle rustlers cause a stampede… three girls lost in the mountain range discover the past… and even love alters lives…
Posted in Interviews
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Posted by Literary Titan
Although this is a work of fiction, if you have any interest in American history, and the mystery surrounding Jesse James, I urge you to read Letters to Mary Susan: From her Outlaw Father by Jerry Hammersmith.
The story line comes from a story told to the author, by his father. It’s nice when the author’s father ‘appears’ in the book! The author points out that this is a work of fiction, but it certainly leaves you wondering. It has an interesting concept, as it is told in letters from the main character, and his flashbacks through his long life.
The majority of the book is set in a prison. A rather stark prison in the 1920’s. It’s not a prison novel but rather the recollections of his life, by one of the prisoners. The story comes about as he is advised, by the chaplain, to write to his long lost daughter. She grows to know her father, who was presumed dead, through his letters.
The main character is Jim Howard, who started life as Jesse James, and who spent most of his life as an outlaw. The book begins with him in prison at the age of 77. I certainly didn’t wish to feel sympathy for the character. I mean, outlaws are the bad guys. Aren’t they? It is not possible though not to feel a tinge of pity. Especially at the thought of somebody so old, in those conditions.
Jim doesn’t come across as a bad guy so you feel more and more sympathetic as his story progresses. This is illustrated by the fact that he was held in high esteem by others, throughout the various phases of his life. He didn’t always make the best choices, but many of the things that led to him originally becoming an outlaw, were out of his control. Stealing is like a high, which is one of the main reasons he couldn’t stop. This adds to the sadness as he could have had a good life, if he had stopped robbing people.
The chapters deal with his life, and wrong doings, in chronological order through his 3 incarnations; Jesse James, John Allen and Jim Howard. They deal with his life, and what he had to do to survive it, through being an outlaw, cowboy and farmer. He doesn’t try to present himself in a good light, he just tells it like it is, so his daughter can get to know him, and understand his actions.
There are some portions of the book that are a little repetitive. Some scenes are described several times. Also the swapping of first name and surname are a bit confusing. Especially as this is a character who has 3 different names already! There are some sentences where he is referred to as both Jim and Howard which takes some working out. But these are small annoyances and don’t detract from a good read.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a great, interesting, and poignant read.
Pages: 189 | ASIN: B077PH4STR
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