She’s a darling of the rural romance genre, but Nambucca’s own Karly Lane never set out to slot into a niche.
“I never realised I was writing rural fiction,” Karly said.
“I just started by writing what I knew.
“And I’ve lived in country NSW all my life—my family from five generations back are from here.
“I really do draw on a lot of personal experiences and funnel them into different scenarios.”
When meeting with Karly I noticed none of the self-importance that a writer of her level of success and popularity would usually come to adopt, having published 11 bestselling novels.
She is warm, giggly, self-deprecating and full of sincerity.
Do you know, it took me until book 10 to meet with my publisher face-to-face.Karly Lane
“I’m cocooned here, I guess.”
But her unassuming nature, and the honesty with which she sculpts her literary characters have contributed to her large and motley following.
“I’ve got truck drivers and older men and their wives—a really wide range of readers actually. It’s surprising,” Karly said.
So humble is she, that when we met to discuss her twelfth novel, ‘Six Ways to Sunday’, she manifestly redirected the spotlight onto someone else.
Comet Windmills is one of those archetypal Australian companies which, like Karly, has wide-reaching success and over which the Valley can claim some ownership.
And it was at the Comet Windmills office in the Macksville Industrial Estate that Karly and I met to discuss her new book which features one of the outback icons on its cover.
Comet’s director David Catchpole is just as down-to-earth as Karly while listing all of the company’s feats.
“We’re the only fully-owned, operated and manufactured windmill company in Australia,” David said.
“We fitted a 30ft comet for the US army in Afghanistan in 2008.
“We’ve fitted four in Malaysia, and we built the biggest windmill ever manufactured—it’s 35ft in diameter and in the Stockman’s Hall of Fame.”
David is pleased as punch to have one of his company’s windmills featured in Karly’s twelfth.
‘Six Ways to Sunday’ is set on a property in a small rural town not unlike Bowraville.
The protagonist is Rilee Summers; an inner-city naturopath jolted out of her metropolitan existence when a whirlwind romance ends in a marriage.
While living on her husband’s rural property, Rilee’s eyes are opened to the many institutional deficits of small-town life, particularly in health.
“It’s her mission to fix it,” Karly said.
“My books have sort of tried to highlight these issues—you need to give them a voice.”
A lot of people don’t really understand—it’s quite different to get sick in a rural community.
The fish-out-of-water scenario that Rilee faces is something that Karly can write about with some authority.
Her father’s job kept the family on the move while she was growing up, forcing Karly to come to terms with always being an outsider-of-sorts.
But she sees this early nomadic lifestyle as a blessing.
“When you never leave town, you just don’t always see everything,” Karly said.
“Sometimes you have to leave to appreciate the place you grew up in.”
But Karly is intent to stay put now after building a house two years ago.
“I’ve finally got an office!” Karly said.
“But I can’t see my horses from there so I often just take my laptop into the loungeroom ‘control centre’ so I can gaze longingly out the window at them.”
“I’ve never been much of a professional,” she grinned.
‘Six Ways to Sunday’ will be available in all major outlets and bookstores nationally from this Wednesday, November 22.
The official book launch will take place at the Macksville Ex-Services Club this Saturday, November 25, as part of the Christmas Pop Up Market.
The markets start from 11am with an array of Christmas gift ideas on offer.
The day will also feature the ‘Buy a Bale’ drought appeal fundraiser to support farming families.