Australian author Heather Garside lives and breathes the rural life on her Queensland farm. Her current series, The Kavanaghs, is set in the era of early settlement in Australia, and explores themes of land, longing, and acceptance.
Your latest book, Colonial Legacy (The Kavanaghs Book 2) is out now. What was the inspiration for the story?
Colonial Legacy (The Kavanaghs Book 2) is a sequel to Colonial Daughter (The Kavanaghs Book 1), which I re-released earlier this year. Both books were inspired by my childhood growing up on a 47,000 acre cattle station, and my parents’ stories of their grandparents, who were all pioneers in rural industries in Central Queensland. I read a book commemorating the centenary of Banana, a tiny teamsters’ town, and was fascinated and inspired by the stories and information contained in it. This led to the setting for these two books. They were originally published some years ago as The Cornstalk and A Hidden Legacy.
This is your 3rd book. Is there a theme that runs through all your books?
All my books have a strongly rural theme and all are set in Central Queensland. I adhere to the motto, write what you know! Another common theme is the ability of love to conquer all obstacles, and a thread of hidden family scandals seems to run through all of my novels!
If you could be one of your characters – Who would you be? And why?
I would be Louise, from Colonial Daughter (The Kavanaghs Book 1). Louise is intrepid and adventurous, and frets under the restrictions of Victorian society. Her rebelliousness gets her into a lot of trouble and the life lessons she learns are hard ones, but make her a stronger and more compassionate person.
What is your favourite quote?
This is an old quote from Adam Lindsay Gordon, but it still rings true:
“Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
KINDNESS in another’s trouble,
COURAGE in your own.”
What piece of advice would you give to anyone aspiring to be a writer?
The first requirement is persistence! Many people dabble with the idea of being a writer, but never finish a book. The second is to learn all you can and be open to advice and critiques from others. It can be difficult at first, but I have known many would-be writers over the years who have never grown and improved because they weren’t open to learning.
Blurb for Colonial Daughter (The Kavanaghs Book 1):
Determined not to join her wealthy parents in England, Louise Ashford finds work as a governess in the frontier settlements of Central Queensland. She falls in love with Lloyd Kavanagh, a young cattleman of convict descent. But she knows Lloyd will never be accepted by her family.
Their romance ends abruptly when her brother Charles intervenes, carrying her off to England. Charles’s lies ensure Lloyd will not try to follow her. More grief awaits her in England and a disgraced Louise seizes the chance to accompany Charles back to Australia. She must defy all that is safe and secure if she is to reclaim her love and rebuild the life she longs for.
Blurb for Colonial Legacy (The Kavanaghs Book 2):
Growing up as the coachman’s son at Ashford Manor, Matt Jones is never at ease with his place in the world. Everything he believes about himself is turned upside down when he discovers a well-kept secret. He travels to Australia in search of his birth parents and revels in the rugged lifestyle on their Central Queensland cattle run. But a jealous younger brother and a clandestine relationship with Isabella, an innocent neighbour, make for stormy undercurrents.
Isabella is heartbroken when he leaves to try his luck at the goldfields. Matt’s family intervenes on Isabella’s behalf, but there is trouble and a near-tragedy in store for Matt. When he finally realises how much he loves Isabella, he fears it may be already too late.