Saturday, 20 April 2013

Interview: Heather Garside

Today, my fellow writer and crit partner, Heather Garside is joining me on the blog to talk about her new release! Breakaway Creek is Heather's lastest novel and she's going to share a little about her pervious novels and this new leg in her publishing journey!
Welcome Heather! How about we start with you telling us a little about yourself? When did your writing journey begin and when did you become an author?
My name is Heather Garside and I’ve been writing rural romance (spasmodically!) for over thirty years. At last it has come into vogue!
I grew up in Central Queensland on the family cattle property, which consisted of 47,000 acres before the coal mines started chipping away at it. It was very isolated in those days and trips to town only occurred every six weeks or so. I did my primary schooling by correspondence and loved horses, books and the bush. These are still passions of mine.
I wrote my first poem at the age of seven and at eleven began writing a story called Lost in the Bush! At eighteen I decided to make a serious attempt at a novel, which I self-published a few years later. After a long break I began writing again in 1998 and published two rural historicals in 2007. In between times I’ve contributed to several local historical publications and a couple of anthologies of short stories.
I currently live with my husband on a farm in Central Queensland where we grow grain and raise beef cattle. My daughter is married and lives in South Australia and my son has an engineering business which he operates from a shed on our farm.
I’ve been a member of RWA for about 14 years and thoroughly recommend it as a wonderful source of information and support for writers.
It's seems you've had quite a journey, Heather. And I agree with what you have to say about RWA, such a wonderful and supportive organisation.
Now it's my understanding that, Breakaway Creek is not your first rural romance novel to be published. Do you mind sharing a little information about your previous novels?
My 2007 releases, The Cornstalk and A Hidden Legacy, are available from Amazon or their publisher, Wings ePress. Both received excellent reviews. The Cornstalk is set in the 1870s in Australia and England.Rather than join her wealthy parents in England, rebellious Louise Ashford sets off to work as a governess in the frontier settlements of Central Queensland. She falls in love with a young cattleman of convict descent, but her brother’s intervention brings much heart-break.
A Hidden Legacy is a sequel to The Cornstalk and is set in the 1890s. Matt Jones travels to Australia to find his birth parents. Once he locates his family, there are stormy undercurrents with a jealous younger brother and an illicit relationship with Isabella, an innocent neighbour. Isabella is heartbroken when he leaves her to improve his fortunes at the goldfields. Only a near-tragedy will make him realise how much he loves her.
They sound fantastic. I love the historical factors you've included.
Now, I'm curious, has the editing/publishing process differed for you this time round?
As I write this, I am still waiting to receive my final edits for Breakaway Creek. My editor sent me a thorough manuscript appraisal before Christmas and asked for some structural edits, which have been completed. I would have to say the editing process has been much more thorough so far than I experienced with my previous novels, which was unfortunately quite basic.
has been the upmost highlight of your career?
So far, apart from being accepted for publication, being a finalist in the 2010 QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Award with Breakaway Creek, would have to be a highlight. Another was learning that The Cornstalk was a finalist in the 2008 Bookseller’s Best Award in the USA.
Those are definitely achievements you should be very proud of. Well done! 
Now, let's talk about Breakaway Creek! Where did your inspiration for this novel come from?
Breakaway Creek is a dual time-line novel. When I was a teenager I read a book from my mother’s bookcase about a young woman who visited a cattle station. She fell in love with one of the stockmen, only to later discover he was of mixed heritage. This story was set many years ago, probably in the 1950s, when the racial divide was very pronounced. It fascinated me and always stayed with me. Many years later it became the premise behind Breakaway Creek.
Another thread was partly inspired by marriage break-ups I had witnessed among family and close friends, along with subsequent custody battles of the children involved.
Wonderful. I love the depth of your stories.
Can you pitch your novel to us in 10 words or less?
Two love stories; two city girls; one dark secret.
Sounds like a book I want to read! Could you give us a brief description of your favourite character out of Breakaway Creek?
Luke Sherman is a man with baggage. His wife has left him for another man, taking his two beloved sons. She was never a devoted mother, so how can he trust her to care for them? Especially when he suspects she and her new partner are on a downward spiral?
When Shelley Blake visits his cattle station searching for her ancestors, part of him welcomes the distraction and another part of him knows he can’t afford to become involved.
So what's next for Heather Garside? Are you working on a new manuscript?
I’m writing a sequel to my two earlier publications, The Cornstalk and A Hidden Legacy. I felt a certain down-trodden woman, a secondary character in these novels, deserved her own story and a possible happy ending.
I wish you all the best with your current project and hope you sell a million copies of Breakaway Creek. Thank you for joining me here today, Heather!
You can buy Heather's book and read the first few chapters at this link:

Distraught at her boyfriend’s betrayal, Shelley Blake flees the city to seek refuge with her parents. Her interest in an old family photograph is piqued by their unusual reticence. A search for answers takes her to the cattle station Breakaway Creek.

Here she meets Luke Sherman, a man embroiled in the bitter ending of his marriage and a heart-breaking separation from his two small boys.

Neither of them is ready for a new relationship. Luke's twenty-first century struggle to reclaim his children unravels as Shelley uncovers the truth about her ancestors, Alex and Emma. Their story of racial bigotry and a love that transcends all obstacles takes the reader back to the pioneering days of the 1890s.



  1. Congratulations, Heather! I hope Breakaway Creek will be a great success.

  2. Thank you, Colleen! Much appreciated.

  3. Thanks so much Whitney for hosting me.

  4. I love dual storylines as they add extra layers of richness and texture to the plot. Love the 'two city girls, one dark secret' twist. Looking forward to reading this, Heather, and thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Cheryse and I'm pleased you like the sound of Breakaway Creek.

  5. Sounds like a great read, Heather. It's interesting to see how the past impacts on the present in ways we would never have anticipated.

  6. Thank you, Sandy. You're always so supportive! Good luck with your own stories.