- What initially drew you to the Kimberleys in Western Australia?
The story idea developed from my original intention. Seeing the mine first-hand, and seeing how the security worked, deepened my understanding of the process, and helped me to write accurately. Some of the more interesting points: if you are at the mine as a tourist, you are not allowed to bend down to pick up anything from the ground. So if you drop your pen, your tissue or your keys, you have to tell the guide. Do NOT bend down!
Apparently the biggest diamond found at Argyle mine was lying on the ground and was discovered embedded in a truck tyre!
Your descriptions of landscape are filled with sensory details. Do you make extensive notes during your research trips? How do you recall and recreate these details for your readers?
I take very limited notes when we travel, but I do try to write the occasional travel blog. I do find that when I revisit my handwritten notes, most of the time I can’t read my writing!
So I keep a photographic journal. Hundreds and hundreds of photos each trip. Those photos then comprise a pivotal part of my writing day as I put the words down, sometimes up to a year after the research trip. The photographs bring the sensory details back to me. The feel of the air on my skin, the smell of the landscape, the heat and the gritty dust all form a part of my character’s response to the landscape they are in.
A taster for you below, I can still hear the plovers mournful cry as I write this!
This time he kept his eyes on the scrub at the edge of the road as he pulled over. On his right to the west, flat saltpans broken only by clumps of mangroves glinted in the late afternoon sun, stretched as far as he could see. The salt flats were dry white cracked mud, so vast it created a mirage; the Cockburn ranges bordered them to the south, incredibly tall, brilliant orange sandstone rising to over six hundred metres. The occasional derelict and abandoned boat lay in the mangroves and the only movement were plovers scurrying across the tidal flats in search of food. A fragment of memory tugged at him; how did he know they were called plovers?
I visited Dubai as a stopover on the way to Europe last year with the express intention of experiencing the heat, smelling the smells of the city and the desert, and seeing the Ain (where Dru works in Dubai) in person. When I was writing the scenes in Dubai, it transported me back to the city... and the Dubai Mall where of course, I had to research the shopping. When you read Diamond Sky, you will see there is a scene or two set there. One of the best places I visited, and I wrote a couple of scenes there, was the amazing palm Jumeirah Hotel where there is an aquarium in the restaurant. Thirty-three thousand fish and guest divers as you eat!
Finally, and you knew I’d be asking this! What’s your favourite photo and favourite memory from this trip?
My favourite memory is the diamond shopping, and the pink diamond that my dear husband bought me for a significant birthday while we were in the Kimberley.
Thanks for having me, Susanne. I hope your readers enjoy reading Diamond Sky as much as I enjoyed the research and the writing.
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