January 25, 2021

Fiona McIntosh talks about The Spy's Wife

Fiona McIntosh
I'm now past 80,000 words into this story for you.  It's been very slow over Christmas as I think all of us - not just me - needed a refreshing break from the grind that was 2020 and a chance to re-set.  I took a full three weeks off and while I felt busier than ever, it wasn't with storytelling.  It was all about family.

I have started back in with The Spy's Wife soon after the New Year heralded its arrival and now I'm working with commitment to get it finished and a first draft off to my editor.

I love its concept and I've started a little further back in the story than I might traditionally because I deliberately wanted to show the background of the two people who find themselves trapped in a situation that is not of their making but they both feel betrayed by it, angered by it and forced to fix it.  

Essentially it's the story of a man and woman from wildly different backgrounds finding each other and taking each other at face value. They fall in love only to discover that each is a sort of chameleon. I couldn't just fling you into that tense situation without first allowing you to share their lives before they know each other and then during that lovely time of falling in love.

So now at 80,000 words, I feel I still have a lot of story I want to share but only another 30,000 words or so in which to do that.  Ah well, all part of the fun of being a storyteller and I feel sure my editor will very quickly slash away a lot of words to give me more to play with.  

I know all of you can recognise the fellow in the middle of this picture - a rare moment of delight in his expression - but I wonder if you can guess who the gent is to his left in the image?  It may surprise you who he is, and I am hoping this man - or perhaps more likely, his son - will walk into the pages of my book that will form the major pivot point for the story.  

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January 20, 2021

Around Australia Road Trips: 1995-2004

Ford Explorer outback

While on various assignments over the years, I have racked up hundreds of thousands of kilometres all across Australia, favouring backroads when I can and offroad when I have the appropriate vehicle.

Being something of a history nerd, I'm always attracted to little towns and villages off the main thoroughfares. Some have been bypassed by the major highways, some left to wither when the railway line is abandoned, while others might be derelict mining sites or were just never viable in the first place. 

This amazing country of ours is overflowing with stories, not just since white exploration and settlement over the last few hundred years, but also the indigenous history going back tens of thousands.

On this page, I have gathered some dusty images out of the 'shoebox' and linked to stories published back then. The people have moved on, shops and hotels closed and trains long stopped running.

Please enjoy - and I'd love you to share your own recollections of these times and places.

Please note that these stories most likely contain outdated information and pricing. If you spot something, please point it out.

January 16, 2021

John Cadoret: Just Walking - for 40 years


This is a true story. 

Driving west out of Deniliquin early yesterday, I came across this old chap shuffling along the edge of the road, struggling with his burden of heavy-looking bags and kit.

Heading in the same direction, I couldn't just drive by without enquiring whether I could offer him a lift. Thinking he may have broken down and left a car somewhere (which I hadn't noticed).

January 02, 2021

Done and Dusted in the Aussie Outback

Corolla Caperites celebrate another event in SA's Flinders Ranges
Two thousand kilometres in the desert in a 40-year-old Corolla is not everyone’s idea of fun, but these chaps love it. Roderick Eime tags along for this far-flung frolic.

I’m sure it was the last thing they expected to see. 

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