Narelle here. I'm delighted to welcome Amanda Deed to our blog today. We will be giving away a copy of Amanda's new release, Ellenvale Gold, and the giveaway is open to readers anywhere in the world.
Amanda Deed grew up in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne in a Christian home, and found faith at an early age. She has followed her passion to serve the Lord through music and literature since her teen years. She has had many experiences as she toured Australia and ministered in music with worship bands. Now married, with three children, Amanda enjoys the variety of being a mother, administrator/book-keeper, musician and fiction writer.
Amanda’s debut novel, The Game, was awarded the 2010 CALEB Prize for fiction. www.amandadeed.com.au
It is the time of Australia’s harsh rogue-filled goldrush of the 1850’s when Miss Penelope Worthington suddenly finds herself orphaned, isolated and alone. With a large sheep station to run single-handedly, she has little option but to enlist the aid of a mysterious, but sinister stranger.
But who is the more treacherous? Gus—the scruffy, trespassing, ex-convict who co-incidentally shows up looking for work just when she desperately needs a farmhand or Rupert—the handsome, wealthy neighbour who would willingly marry her at the drop of a hat and solve her apparent dilemma?
Repeatedly, her faith is tested as she faces the unforgiving elements, deceit, lies and uncertainty. But where and how will it all end? But…is it the end? Will vengeance return or will Penny’s faith prevail?
Narelle: What do you find most fascinating about the 1850’s gold rush era of Australian history?
Amanda: There's always that allure of a gold strike which somehow draws me. But, I am especially interested in what happened on the Victorian gold fields - the tensions about unfair treatment, which grew into what we now call the Eureka Stockade. That event was formulative to our government in the years which followed.
Narelle: Please share with us a few of your research tips.
Amanda: I did a lot of research on line. I found, through the NLA (National Library of Australia), copies of old newspapers, old maps of the gold fields, paintings, letters - lots of fascinating stuff. I've read the journals of a minister at that time. Then of course, I borrowed books from the local library to study the history of Melbourne, social customs of the day, how sheep runs were managed. I also contacted the Sunbury Historical Society, and they set me straight on a few facts. There is so much to learn!
Narelle: What was your inspiration for writing Ellenvale Gold?
Amanda: I began writing this novel in 2000. I had been searching for Australian Christian historical romances, but there were very few around at that time. Somewhere along the line, a voice in my head said "why don't you write one". It made sense. Historical romance is my favourite genre, but I'd been dabbling with writing contemporary. It didn't take long for the ideas to begin to flow.
Narelle: I must confess to being a fan of the Aussie bushranger tv series Wild Boys, also set during the 1850’s gold rush. Do any real life historical figures or bushrangers play a role in Ellenvale Gold?
Amanda: It does feel like a confession to admit liking Wild Boys - I feel a little guilty for enjoying it, seeing as they are all criminals, just some worse than others! I did mention a bushranger called Captain Melville who's hideout was in the area where Ellenvale Gold was set, but other than that, I created all my characters, but keeping in mind some of the real-life characters I'd researched.
Narelle: Ellenvale Gold is set on a large sheep station. Do your characters attend a local parish, or are they living in an isolated area? Did the church influence the faith and lives of your characters?
Amanda: I could not find any evidence of an established church in the area I'd set the novel, not even a preaching circuit. From all accounts I read, plus talking to the historical society, the churches in Sunbury weren't built until late in the 1800s. One of my characters however, comes to Ellenvale as an established believer. His faith then influences others in the novel.
Narelle: What do you hope your readers will take away after reading Ellenvale Gold?
Amanda: I hope they take a deeper appreciation of the pioneering days in Australia, as well as a message of grace and hope, and of course I want them to be entertained.
Narelle: How has your faith influenced your writing?
Amanda: The Lord is the reason I write. I write to tell His story in a gentle way to those who haven't heard. I hope that I can thread His grace and love through the pages of my novels in a way that will impact lives.
Narelle: Please tell us about your upcoming releases.
Amanda: I am working on the sequel to Ellenvale Gold and having a lot of fun doing it. I am just putting the finishing touches on it and then I will be onto the third and final instalment.
Amanda, thanks for joining us today. It's been a pleasure to interview you and learn more about the gold rush period of Australian history.
By commenting on today’s post you can enter the drawing to win a copy of Ellenvale Gold. The drawing will take place on Friday, December 23 and the winner announced on Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25. Please leave an email address [ ] at [ ] dot [ ] where you can be reached.
"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."
To learn more about Amanda, please visit her website.
Narelle Atkins writes contemporary inspirational romance. She resides in Canberra, Australia with her husband and children. To learn more about Narelle, please visit her website.