As part of the Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival, first-time author Diana Thompson will be launching Wintersflood Passion, dubbed a ‘Bowral bodice-ripper’.
Even though Diana lives at Braidwood, she said she set the book in the Highlands because she loves the area so much.
“I’ve always loved going to Bowral, the stately homes, beautiful gardens and four seasons. Everything about it is so English and I think it is the most beautiful place in Australia,” she said.
Diana said our region’s qualities seemed to suit the story line and characters: Wintersflood Passion tells the story of recently-windowed Charlotte, living in her Highlands estate with dreams of starting an art school. Enter the playboy art-dealer Daniel Wintersflood, recently arrived from England with plans to open a gallery in Bowral.
“The Highlands was the perfect location for the book as the characters move between Sydney and Bowral, and there are also lots of dogs and horses in both the book and the area,” Diana said.
While this is her first book, Diana said she remembers sitting on the beach with her friends in her late teens reading romance books and saying that she would write a book one day.
However, it was only two years ago, after a period of prolonged stress, that this book formed.
“I was driving home one day from Canberra to my farm and the characters came into my head. I got home and started writing, and five weeks later I had my first draft, which I sent to a publisher. It was great driving back and forth to work because that’s when the characters developed. I found it very cathartic and it turned out to be a wonderful way to cope with the stress,” Diana said.
The editor sent her 30 pages of notes to work through before presenting her next draft.
“Friends asked how I could stand all this criticism but I thought it was great,” she said. “Working on the book took my mind off everything else that was happening.”
Diana hopes the finished product will help to promote the Highlands, and is looking forward to her launch at the Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival.
“It is quite exciting. I’m in very prestigious company, I must say.”
Diana’s book launch is at 1.15pm this Sunday July 12 in the theatrette at Bradman Museum, just after Matthew Gibbs discusses Shakespeare, and before children’s author Edwina Wyatt launches her next book. Sunday’s program features seven authors discussing their books.
For more information about the Southern Highlands Writers Festival visit www.shwf.com.au