Dec 3, 2012

Researching My Novel: Dark Southern Sun

Writing authentic historical fiction, I believe, requires research. Such novels cannot be constructed entirely from fiction. My research for the sequel to Counter Currents took me to southeast Australia.

I need to walk the ground or paddle the waters where my novels take place. The contours of the land, the shape and color of the trees, the scents on the wind, the sounds of birds and insects are all important ingredients of a compelling story.

The sequel begins on the coast of Australia southwest of Melbourne. So, I visited Victoria state's picturesque Great Ocean Road to walk the beaches and stroll in the eucalyptus forests.

The story is also set northwest of Melbourne during the Australian gold rush in the 1850s. For that, I visited Ballarat and area where much prospecting and mining took place.

On my travels, I saw many of the “supporting cast” of Australian characters: kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas.
An Authentic Character
In addition, I have read extensively on Australian history, including biographies of 19th-century characters. I contacted an elder of the Aborigine tribe featured in the book to make sure I captured the culture correctly. What all this means is that this sequel gives readers a real taste of the Australian frontier as the complex story of struggle, loyalty and love unfolds.

P.S. If anyone wants to read about my travels to Belgium, Nepal, Cambodia, and Australia, visit my travel blog.

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