Author Valerie Goree tells of her journey as a writer and introduces her latest story, which is placed in a fascinating setting.
Forever Under Blue Skies
My latest novel, Forever Under Blue Skies, is very close to my heart. It is based on the first novel I ever wrote, way back before everyone had a computer. Not to give away my age, but I bought a word processor back then and decided to write a story using details of my mother’s family roots in Australia.
I don’t remember how long it took since I was teaching fulltime and had two teenaged kids at the time. Although I had participated in a few mini workshops, I didn’t attend a full-fledged conference until my book was finished. I chose Mt. Hermon Writers Conference as the venue to present my masterpiece.
Well, the multi-published author who gave me a critique said I had the bones of a good story, but I needed to learn a whole lot more about the craft of writing. My first sentence had three adjectives describing the weather. Reminded me of Rudyard Kipling’s description of a river that forms the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. In his book The Elephant’s Child, Mr. Kipling called the river the ‘Great Grey-Green Greasy Limpopo River’. I grew up in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and crossed the Limpopo River many times to visit South Africa. The river is great during the rainy season, it is grey-green, but it is definitely not greasy!
Back to the basics. I set aside that novel, but kept on writing and attended as many workshops as I could. I also joined American Christian Fiction Writers, probably my best writing related decision.
After publishing five novels, I decided to go back to my first. Oh, my. I read my printed copy and was embarrassed at my purple prose, head hopping etc., and understood why the novel was not an instant hit at Mt. Hermon. But I stuck with the basic premise and found that my original research from library books was spot-on as compared to recent internet information and details gathered when my husband and I visited Australia.
I relied on details from my great-great-grandparents’ family tree for my story, even to using the town of Bendigo. Now, my family never lived on a sheep station, but that’s where the fiction part came in.
What was life like on a sheep station in 1983? Follow Marlow’s journey to find out.
“Travel to Australia to solve a family mystery? Sure, Marlow could do that. But she didn’t take into consideration the vast outback, nor the owner of the sheep station. Widower, Jake Barclay, is everything her late husband was not—honorable, considerate, a pure gentleman. She came prepared with sunscreen, but hadn’t built a high enough screen around her heart.
Jake was dubious about Marlow’s reason for visiting his station and thwarts her plan at every turn. Until he sees how she interacts with his vulnerable, young daughter.
If they solve the coded message, can Marlow return to Texas, or will Jake offer her a forever home in the outback?”