Janet Gover: INTO THE OUTBACK

JanetGoverG’day. Thanks, Sheilas, for having me at your place. (Sheila, by the way, is Aussie for a young, attractive woman. That’s us, isn’t it?)

 I’m Australian and you might be wondering what someone from Down Under is doing here. It’s about as far from Texas as you can get… isn’t it? You’d be surprised… there’s a town called Texas near where I grew up in the Australian bush. Far from making us strangers, in many ways, the places we live make us cousins. Here’s why – its part of The Man From Snowy River, a poem by Australia’s great bush poet Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson.OldBushSongs

So Clancy rode to wheel them — he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stock-horse past them, and he made the ranges ring
With the stockwhip
, as he met them face to face. Recognise Clancy?

He might be a legendary Australian stockman, but he’d be equally at home riding the range in Texas. Your Texas.

The story of the Australian outback is very similar to that of the American west. It is a vast and rugged land – as dangerous as it is beautiful. The European settlers who came looking for a new life or looking for gold fought their way into the outback with bullock drays. They lived isolated from the world battling droughts and storms, dealing with lethal snakes, shocking heat and freezing cold.

That’s the history we share – and the heroes we share…

Which brings me back to Clancy. He wasn’t always chasing brumbies (the Aussie version of wild mustangs) – he was a drover too, guiding his cattle across the vast plains.

As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover’s life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.

JanetGover-stockwoman

I know exactly what he means – that’s me in stockwoman mode in the photograph.

I write contemporary fiction, but time hasn’t changed the outback. Nor the people in it. A car doesn’t really make it easier to fall in love with the boy next door, when properties (we don’t call them ranches) are measured in hundreds of square miles.

In my first noTheFarmerNeedsAWifevel, The Farmer Needs A wife – I wanted to do a contemporary take on mail order brides. My bride might arrive in the outback in a plane, not a coach, but when that plane leaves, there’s still no going back.

Another possibility for finding true love in the outback is the Bachelor and Spinster Ball. All the singles from hundreds of kilometres around get dressed in their finest clothes and come to the ball hoping to meet prospective husbands and wives. I guess that sounds familiar to you too. The modern B&S BallsTheBachelorandSpinsterBall often also bring in young folk from the big smoke, who are there for the country music and the partying… but anything can still happen at a black tie ball under the stars.

In both books, I tried to capture the essence of Australia – the remarkable landscape, the strength of the people who live in the outback, and the feeling of community that develops in small towns.

I felt it as I was growing up – and even when I’m on the far side of the planet… I still feel it. I’m never all that far from Clancy.

He sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars.

I guess you know what I’m talking about too, don’t y’all.

Links:
www.janetgover.com
www.bookdepository.co.uk/  (free shipment to the US if you want to buy one of my books)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banjo_Paterson  More on Australia’s great bush poet.

 

Janet will be giving away a copy of The Farmer Needs A Wife and The Bachelor and Spinster Ball – one each to two lucky indiviuals who stop by to leave a comment today.

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46 thoughts on “Janet Gover: INTO THE OUTBACK”

  1. Hi Janet

    I’ve watched Man From Snowy River and Return to Snowy River so many times! It romanticizes The Outback while also showcasing the isolation and the danger inherent within. Love the photography as they chase the brumbies! The music! Young Jim Craig & Jessica’s romance!

    Your two stories featuring a mail-order bride and an elegant single’s ball both sound like books I’d love to read.

    Where is your ranch located? Have you visited The Outback? I have a really nice friend here who hails from beautiful,coastal Brisbane,Queensland.

  2. Nice to meet you, Laurie.

    Like your friend, I’m also from Queensland – but a bit further inland. I grew up on the Darling Downs, west of the Great Dividing Range. It was incredibly flat where we were – wheat and cattle country.

    That’s one of the reasons I love the Man From Snowy River – the mountains were a novelty to me. In fact, in researching my next book, I spent a wonderful week wandering through the Snowy Mountains in a camper van. It’s a beautiful place. I didn’t see any brumbies though – just a lot of kangaroos.

  3. Hi Janet,
    i’m still new with your work. even we’re friends in Fb 🙂
    i’m looking forward to read one of your works.

  4. Ah, I just love discovering books that are different takes on themes I love. Your covers are unique and the plots sound divine. Plus the setting takes me out of North Carolina. Best wishes.

  5. Hi janet!
    thanks for coming by!
    ooooooooooh, i’m just enamored by australia! ever since i watched “man from snowy river” as a young girl
    i too watched both movies several times
    my dream horse is a dun like denny (love your picture–beautiful horse btw)
    as a young girl i used to run down steep/rocky hillsides by a place we camped, pretending i was jim in the scene where he follows the brumbies over the cliff face
    ah, and that lucky jessica
    okay..enough about man from snowy river
    i do dream of coming to australia someday

    your books sound fascinating!
    thanks for coming by and telling us about a whole nother frontier
    and thank you for the chance at winning your books, sheila 🙂

  6. What a fascinating post today. Your description of the Outback contrasted with the American West made it come alive. Your books sound compelling and unique. thanks for this wonderful glimpse into your world.

  7. Hi Tabitha,
    The horse I am riding in the picture is an Australian Stock Horse – like Jim Craig’s.
    The description of the horse from the Man From Snowy River is the quote that was used the define the breed when the studbook was first developed.

    The mares all had to undergo an inspecation before they were accepted into the registry. The filly is very young in the photo – just being broken in. I first saw her when I was checking out stock on a friend’s stud. She was only 3 months old when I fell in love with her. I bought her on the spot!

    I never regretted it. She was my good mate for many years after.

  8. Ruth, the outback is astonishing. The further west you go, the wilder and drier it becomes, until you find yourself in the desert. Have you ever been in a desert at night? The stars are so close, it feels like you can reach out and touch them.
    It’s pretty romantic – in so many ways.

  9. i need an australian stock horse 🙂

    thanks for the bookdepository link with free shipping!
    couldn’t get you from my standby, amazon
    “the husband needs a wife” is out of stock (good sign, right?)…so i’m on the notify list

  10. Hi Janet,
    It is so nice to meet you. I love your book covers and both books sound like something I would enjoy reading. Thanks for sharing the Australian outback with us. I have always wanted to visit Australia, maybe someday it will happen.
    What beautiful country!

  11. Hi Sharon and Kaitlin – thanks for dropping by.
    I’ve travelled a lot – with my work and due to falling in love with an Englishman – but whenever I get of the plane back in Australia, I swear it smells different. It’s the smell of home.
    Certainly the air in the outback has it’s own flavour – eucalyptus and dust, usually with a bit of sweat thrown in.
    I take photos wherever I go – especially when I’m researching a book. There are photos of the places that insprired these books on the ‘book bonus’ pages of my website. No matter where I am -looking at those photos takes me back.

  12. Hi, Janet. I always enjoyed reading books about Australia and New Zealand. Margaret Way and Helen Bianchin were enjoyable authors to read. I always enjoyed Essie Summers’ New Zealand settings.

    What isn’t there to love about a western guy, whether he has a Texan drawl or an Australian one?! American women have always been fascinated with the Outback and the MOTO (Men Of The Outback!), I think.

    I look forward to reading your books; you’re a new-to-me author.

  13. I love everything I read about Australia.. It is my wish to go there someday.. I especially like novels that are set there. I think The Thorn Birds has to be one of my favs.. And I have seen The Man from Snowy River and the The Return several times..
    I have not had the pleasure of reading your books, but you can bet I will be searching for them.

  14. As a child I just loved Elyne Mitchell’s Silver Brumby books – set among the wild horses of the Snowy Mountains.

    I shall certainly give the authors you recommend a go, Deb.

    I’m with you on The Thorn Birds, Kathleen. I loved the book. The TV series disappointed me whan a character said something about the ‘kangas’ in the bottom paddock. In Australia we call them ‘roos – not kangas (the series was made in Hawaii). It was a shame – because Richard Chamberlain was really quite something as Ralph!!

  15. So glad you stopped by today. Really enjoyed reading about the Outback. To me, it has a certain mystique just as the West does for me.
    The books sound interesting too.
    Hope you return to visit often. I like hearing about the place where you live. And I have watched The Man from Snowy River several times.

  16. Janet, Welcome. I have loved reading about Australia since I read my first book Many, many years ago and any book that mentions the outback on the cover seems to leap into my shopping cart. It isonly ‘freign’ country I have ever wished to vist and is absolutely the only place I would ever get my husband! The Man from Snowy River sits high on my list of movies that I watch over and over. And all an Australian has to do is speak and my heart melts. Loved reading your post!

  17. Hello Janet, Thanks for sharing with us today! Your books sound wonderful… I think I will pop on over to your website to read more!!! 😀

  18. I’m getting a very real sense here that Aussie men would go down a real treat over your way.

    I was out working one of my horses early one morning, when I was about 19… it was foggy and all I heard was hoofbeats coming my way. Then a rider loomed up out of the fog – riding a big black thoroughbred horse.

    If you need any help with the picture, think of Hugh Jackman in ‘Australia’.

    Yep – it’s pretty easy to fall for an Aussie hero!

  19. Hi Janet, I have never read your books before, but they sound wonderful and I would love to read one. They sound so very different then anything I have read before! I travel in book so I would love to visit the outback! Thanks so much for sharing your works with us!

  20. I like that idea- travelling in books. I guess we all do that. Sometimes, I arrive in a place I’ve never been before, yet somehow it seems familiar. That’s because of the books.

    When I was researching in the Snowy Mountains last year, I went to places like Crackenback, Sawpit Creek, and Dead Horse Gap. They were places I had visited in books – and it was just wonderful to go there and find they really were exactly as they’d been in the books. That’s why I try to research my books thoroughly – so no-one will ever be disappointed visiting somewhere I have written about.

  21. Austrailia is one of those places I would love to visit but I don’t think I could live there – I have a friend who lived there two or three years (she loved it) but oh my the scary insects and animals/snakes (I probably couldn’t live in Texas either lol). But I love reading about these exciting places – past and present! And what was the movie with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman – absolutely loved it.

  22. Your two stories featuring a mail-order bride and an elegant single’s ball both sound like books I’d love to read.

    The Outback compared to the American West is very interesting.

    I loved The Thornbirds and The Man From Snowy River also.

    thanks for sharing and giving a prize.

  23. Jeanne – the movie was Australia. It’s also interesting that one of Hugh Jackman’s first movies was called ‘Paperback Hero’. He played a truck driver in the outback who also happens to be a best selling romance author (using his girlfriend’s name).

    Australia does have a lot of poisonous snakes, insects, sharks, razorback boars – even man eating crocodiles. But it has a lot of good things as well – including, as Margaret mentioned, some very fine wines.

    One of the characters in The Farmer Needs A Wife is a wine grower. I spent some time researching that in the Hunter Valley wine area north of Sydney… All for the research, you understand. It was a real tough job, but I had to do it!

  24. The Man from Snowy Rivers is still one of my all time fav movies. I need to watch it again soon. I love stories set in Australia. I guess because it has that rugged frontier feeling, like Old West. Thanks for stopping by to chat with us.

  25. The books sound really interesting. I’ve always been fascinated with the mail order bride concept.

    The Bachelor and Spinster Ball idea reminds me of a town in Minnesota (Herman) that had so many eligible bachelors and so few eligible women that a bunch of the men advertised the town to women to try to get them to come and meet the bachelors and stay in the town and start businesses. That was in the mid 90’s I think.

    I’d love to read these books.

  26. Vickie, the Snowy River has a very interesting history.

    It was once famous for platypus – which are notoriously shy and hard to spot. After WW2, the government carried out a huge project to divert the water from the snow melt. They tunnelled through the mountains amd sent the water west to the dry interior for irrigation. My father was one of the English migrants who worked on the project. The plan opened up new farming lands, but the reduced water flow almost destroyed the river. A few years ago, the government legislated that a minimum amount of water must flow down the Snowy every day. Now the river is beautiful again, and the platypus have returned.

    It is a rather magical place, if you ever get the chance to go there.

  27. Tracy – do you have the expression ‘man dam’ in the USA?

    According to some studies, women are increasingly outnumber men in the cities – that’s the man drought.

    But in the bush, it’s the other way around. Thee’s a ‘man dam’ – a huge build-up of men with few women. The mayor of one outback town was famously was quoted in the news as saying ugly women should come to his town – because even they could get a man.

    That keeps hovering in the back of my mind – there must be a book in there somewhere!

  28. Janet,

    I must have your books. They are on my must read list. I will definitely tell all my friends about your books. They sound wonderful and I love the covers

    Wlak in harmony,
    Melinda

  29. I’m also fascinated with all things Australia–gotta love that unique Aussie Accent. Hope to visit there someday too.

    Your books sound very interesting–definitely something I will need to check out!!

  30. Your books sound wonderful, Janet! I’m intrigued by the modern-day twist to the beloved premise of mail-order brides. Please enter me in the contest to win. What gorgeous covers, too.

  31. Accents are great, aren’t they? I have to say I love some of the US accents too.. that Texas drawl is just great. So evocative of the land and the people in it.

    My publisher is based in the UK – and just occasionally I find myself having to explain to my editor what a ute is, or a banana bender, or why my heroine is wearing a thongs on her feet.

    To explain: a ute is a utility vehicle – what you would call a truck but smaller, a banana bender is someone from Queensland, and thongs are footwear, not underwear. In the U.K. they call them flip-flops. What do they call them over your way?

  32. I live my souther accent, but my northern neighbor don’t she says I talk too fast, oh well have to talk fast to get anything in when I am talking to her, LOL
    Please enter me into this wonderful drawing for the 2 books. I read fast also

  33. Hi, Janet,

    I’ve been an Australia “fan” since the days when
    I was reading the Harlequin Presents books. Those
    Australian authors told such wonderful stories of
    the Outback stations and properties. They certainly
    drew my interest to your country, which I have never
    lost! I look forward to reading your books. BTW, I
    am a native of Houston, Texas (a city girl!)

    Pat Cochran

  34. Edna – I read pretty fast too. When I was a student, I did a speed reading course – and ‘officially’ can read at over 1,000 words per minute. I go through a lot of books!

    Pat – I don’t know if you ever came across Lucy Walker, who wrote wonderful Australian romances, going back into the 1960s. My mother was a huge fan of hers, and as a girl I used to borrow the books when Mum wasn’t looking. I loved the romances, the strong heroes and fabulous settings. One of my U.K. writer friends once said my books reminded her of Lucy Walker – that was such a compliment!

    Her books are probably a terribly dated now – and I haven’t read one for many years,but I do remember them with affection… and that’s not a bad way for any writer to be remembered.

  35. I’ve always been fascinated with Australia and the outback and I read every thing I can about this country. I used to have some Lucy Walker books and I loved them. I can’t wait to read your books.

  36. Fabulous blog, Janet. I hadn’t really thought about the similarities between the Outback and the American West before, thanks for pointing it out. And your books sound fascinating, too. Must go and find a copy!

  37. Janet~I’ve never heard the term “man dam” but I like it! LOL I had to laugh at the comment about even an ugly woman could find a man.

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