Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Writers are often asked, “Where do you get your ideas from?”
There have been many times for most of my books I simply have to answer, “I really have no idea!”

Another question of course is, “why do you write series?” Usually I have to smile. The truth is that the only series I deliberately planned were my historical Heartsong Presents books that were later released by Barbour Publishing in the 4-in-1 volume called “Australian Outback.” Not even when I wrote my first Baragula book did I plan it as the first one of a series!

And actually, the Great Southland series kind of “happened” too. To start with, when the editor asked me about my writing an historical after several contemporary Heartsongs, I thought I would be smart and simple to use information from my own Pedler and Telfer Family Historical Association published books where all the research was already done for me. Then the editor told me, “but being an Australian historical we’d just have to have convicts, Mary.”
What he didn’t realise was that both sides of my family migrated from Scotland and England to South Australia in about 1838 and that was the only Australian state who never had a convict settlement! So I had to do heaps of research to find out what the convict situation was several years before then. I discovered very quickly I had a huge battle with the plot I thought up fitting in the under 55,000 words for Barbour’s inspirational romance book club. In the end, so many minor characters needed their own story told and the only way was to tell them in other books.

Because I had that problem of word length, for my next book I wondered if I could write a much longer book. And I do know where the “idea” for that first book came from! Several years before this our daughter graduated from Senior High School. In Australia that is the last year of schooling unless going on to university or into other tertiary education institutions. “Schoolies Week” has become famous for the thousands of teenager school leavers who descend on the Gold Coast beaches in southern Queensland.

Apparently most of the locals and law enforcement agencies do not look forward to what happens during those hectic, frantic partying days on their doorstep! I was thankful our daughter did not want to go. But my writer imagination kicked in. What if she, a young Christian had gone with some of her friends who did not share her standards? What if she had become caught up in the “Sun, Surf and Sin” there? What if. . .? What if. . .?

And so Return to Baragula was born. But when it was written – and revised and revised and revised – as happened in my Search series years before, other minor characters just had to have their stories told too in Outback From Baragula. I am really excited that I have just signed a contract for Book Three, Justice at Baragula, which will be released in April 2011.

So, as well as the first anniversary of our ICFW blog, I personally have much to celebrate and would love to giveaway a copy of Return to Baragula to someone who reads this blog post and leaves a comment here. Oh, and you can check out the video trailer for this book on my website -http://www.mary-hawkins.com/

WARNING: Unfortunately my Baragula books are no longer available in most shops overseas. This means you have to obtain a copy direct from my publisher or through my own website and we have to charge you postage on top of the price of the book. So, I am offering a Baragula book as a giveaway. Don’t miss your chance to win Return to Baragula at no cost to yourself.

To enter the draw, just leave a comment about book series you have enjoyed, ask a question or simply say you would like to win a copy - and
don’t forget to leave your email address. The winner will be announced on Sunday, November 28.

"Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws."

Mary is a best-selling inspirational romance author. Her 19th title will be released in 2011. A Queensland farmer’s daughter, she became a registered nurse before going to Bible College. She and her minister husband have three adult children and five grandchildren, enjoyed nearly 46 years of ministry including church planting in Australia, two years in England, three short term mission trips to Africa and now live in Tasmania, Australia's island state.


  1. I love stories set in Australia and New Zealand. As a Brit, I grew up on them. Blessings on your continued writing.

  2. Mary, I'd love to read one of your books! Do you know if any of them are available as Kindle downloads in North America? That would be an awesome way to expand your readership! Please put me in the draw.

    valerie at valeriecomer dot com

  3. Hi Mary. Congratulations on your new contract. I'd love to win one of your books. Please put me in the draw.

    avaldal at shaw dot ca

  4. Mary, congratulations on your new contract :)

    I've really enjoyed reading Mary's Baragula books, and I've had the pleasure of a sneak preview of Justice at Baragula!

    Mary has limited internet access at the moment and will read all your comments soon. Good luck in the drawing!

  5. Mary, I love Outback books ever since I read some as a young girl. Would LOVE to win your book! Thanks for the opportunity. Enjoyed your post.
    Carole Brown

  6. Id have to say that Liz Curtis Higgs Scotland series was my fav. I love European history - especially after having traveled there. And Im always confused when people ask where do you get your stories....all you have to do is look around! Congrats and I'd love to win too.
    jancline at ymail dot com

  7. Thank you all for your comments. A special thanks to Narelle for letting you know I am away. This is from our daughter's computer in Melbourne and she needs to use it at school each day. Will get back to you all middle of next week.

  8. Mary, I would love to read your novel...thanks for the chance.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  9. Your video re one decision, one night, one stone is so tempting for a potential reader. I hope soon be such a reader, either by purchase or via winning! Being a regular visitor to Australia from Ireland, I am looking forward to sourcing one of your books on my next trip which will be within a few weeks. J

  10. I enjoy books with settings outside the US and am eager to read Mary's series. I read several books with Australian settings when I was growing up and can't seem to get enough of this area.

    Return to Baragula is not available for Kindle yet, but I signed up to be notified when it becomes available. I appreciate the chance to win a copy and wish Mary the best on her writing.

    As for series that I enjoyed, I would recommend the Lowlands of Scotland (Higgs), Mark of the Lion (Rivers), Grace in Africa (Strom), and Red River of the North (Snelling).

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  11. Hi Mary, I'm thrilled to hear about your contract for Book 3, congratulations.

    I love book series, my favourite is Jan Karon's Mitford books, Father Tim is so real and lovable.

    I haven't seen any of your books for sale in South Africa, so would love to win one.

    ruthanndell (at) mweb (dot) co (dot) za

  12. Im late commenting. I enjoyed the heartsong presents books and its interesting about your ancestors settling in SA and it being the only free state. Im an South aussie.
    hearing how the second book came about is quite interesting considering schoolies is starting this coming week. I would love to read the book
    ausjenny at gmail dot com

    so glad you you got another contract.

    my favourite series is the house of winslow by gilbert morris,
    I love series as you get to know the people.

  13. Sorry to have taken so long to respond again. I am still trying to sort out this messy house and find places to put "stuff" we've brought back in the car on this trip. Congratulations to Ruth Ann Bell for winning my book. A big thank you also to Narelle for looking after this for me while I've been out of contact. Next trip I do hope I'll have a laptop to take with me. Unfortunately my husband's died and we replaced it with a desk top but now wondering if it should have been another laptop!

  14. Once again, thank you all for your comments. I just wish I could send you all a book! I am really sorry the Baragula series are not being sold overseas. Ark House Press have told their authors they are setting up to distribute e-books but to date I still have no word when they will be available. I am on Author Connect at Amazon but with copyright "stuff" have not been able to distribute there - yet anyway. Perhaps second hand ones may pop up every now and then.
    ausjenny, parts of my Great Southland books are set in South Australia. In Book One & two, Faith in the Great Southland and Hope IGS, I had my characters disembarking at Adelaide, but the Third Book, Love in the Great Southland is set in 19th century Adelaide. The four books were released by Barbour in the volume Australian Outback. I found a copy at Powells http://www.powells.com/biblio/17-9781586609689-0 and other second hand shops may have them. They were also in the Australian State libraries.
    However, I am planning to give readers of my own blog a chance to also win a copy of Return to Baragula - when I've had a chance to catch up more.