Annie and her husband are living the dream, and have travelled far and wide across Australia, meeting scores of fellow travellers and waking up each morning in some of the world’s most beautiful and remote locations. Annie dropped in to answer questions about Kakadu Sunset and to share a few of her fabulous photos from her travels.
1. Kakadu Sunset is a gripping eco-adventure suspense story. I can’t imagine it set anywhere else, but why is NT such an appropriate backdrop for Ellie and Kane’s story?
On a geographical level, Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory is comprised of many landscapes which gave me a fabulous opportunity to create compelling scenes in this book. From Savannah grasslands to sweeping wetlands dotted with silver billabongs, tidal flats, flood plains and plateaus, to the majestic grandeur of the red sandstone escarpments that form the backbone of the national park there were endless opportunities to make use of these wonderful settings.
On a spiritual level, there are many special places within the park that gave a deeper foundation to my story. Some of these places involved a trip in a four wheel drive vehicle, and then an energetic walk but it was well worth it. Ubirr Rock, Nourlangie Rock, Jim Jim Falls and Sandy Billabong all have significance for the indigenous population, who have occupied this landscape for over 50,000 years, endowing it with sacred attributes which are still respected today. There is evidence of the earliest human settlement in Australia and the sense of spirituality that surrounds you as you sit and listen to the wind and watch the sun set in places like Ubirr Rock is awe inspiring. As a background for the interwoven themes of politics, indigenous culture and the purity of the land, the spiritual heritage provided a tapestry for me to weave my story through.
For me as an author the Northern Territory also provided the location for the book that saw the culmination of my dream. A very special place on many levels; it is so compelling, I am sure we will return and visit again.
2. The helicopter scenes are exciting and realistic. How did you research these to make them so believable?
Oh, that was great fun . . . and I was very brave! Not being one for flying, and never having been in a helicopter before, I knew that if it my scenes were to be realistic I would have to do my research well. So I took a training flight in an R22 helicopter, the same as the one that Ellie flies in Kakadu Sunset.
The flight was over the beautiful Whitsunday Islands, on the way back from Kakadu and I acknowledge the instructor in my acknowledgments.
However the research for the controlled crash was all online and by talking to an expert in the US, I became an ‘almost’ expert on autorotation.
3. I admit to feeling very uncomfortable—okay, scared!—by the scenes with the crocodiles. How do you feel about them?
I am absolutely terrified of crocodiles and kept a respectful distance from the water’s edge wherever we went. My husband was much braver and that added to my fear. The power of their jaws is phenomenal and I heard and read so many horror stories as we travelled. The poignant story about the German backpacker at Sandy Billabong that Ellie relates to Kane in Kakadu Sunset is factual, and very sad.
4. Ellie’s sisters will have their own stories at some stage. Can you share a little about one or both of them? Will they also be eco-adventure suspenses?
Emma Porter’s story is complete and with my editor. We researched the setting for Daintree Sunrise in North Queensland last year. Emma Porter is a doctor whose life is threatened as she uncovers some illegal activities in the rainforest. My editor is already in love with the swoon worthy hero, Jeremy Langford, the new doctor in town.
Drusilla Porter’s story, Kimberley Moonlight, is currently underway, and I love her development as a character. She is a very strong and complex woman who is making life very difficult for the undercover investigator who has been sent to the mine in the East Kimberleys to investigate the theft of some precious gems. We explored the East Kimberleys this past winter and the area is right up there with Kakadu!
5. Please share your favourite images of Kakadu: crocodiles, sunsets, helicopter flights, Jim Jim Falls and the pool at Kakadu.
Fast five questions:
a) Favourite experience from your Kakadu trip? Cruising on yellow water watching the sunset
b) Greatest fear?Can you guess? Crocodiles!
c) Best food? Fresh barramundi.
d) Best campsite? Jabiru in the middle of Kakadu . . . it had a fabulous pool where we relaxed after our daily forays exploring the national park.
e) Further trips planned? North Queensland again and the Gulf of Carpentaria... that story is developing in my mind.
Kakadu Sunset is published by Macmillan Australia and is now available at all good bookstores and online.
Both romance and suspense are superbly interwoven in this new eco-adventure romantic suspense by Annie Seaton. Ellie and Kane, both helicopter pilots at an eco-resort in the Northern Territory, are brought together by a powerful attraction. When Ellie's life is threatened, can Kane overcome his personal tragedy and fear to save her?
The landscape of the NT is a star character in its own right, dramatic and beautiful, and deadly if not treated with respect. The depiction of Kakadu makes me more determined than ever to visit the area and fall under its spell.
This story develops unflinchingly, with wonderful pacing and relentless building up of tension until the climax. I couldn't put the book down until I finished in the wee hours of the morning. Characters are well rounded and interesting, and the themes realistically interweave indigenous land rights, big corporate business and political corruption. It's a great read and a wonderful first book in the Porter Sister series. I can't wait for Emma and Dru's stories.
*Advance copy provided by publisher.