Fresh from her latest research adventures east of Alice Springs and on the cusp of a seven week library promotional tour, Annie Seaton is home briefly to launch her latest novel, Undarra.
Well established now in the rural romance genre, Annie takes her reader on a slightly different journey this time, veering from the usual romance format and weaving a story around the volcanic lava tubes out near Mt Surprise in North Queensland, close to the Undara Volcanic National Park.
Undara is an Ewamianword meaning 'a long way' and the country Annie takes her armchair travellers to is certainly far from where many will ever travel themselves.
"We stumbled on the Undarra National Park when we were travelling home from the Daintree a few years ago. I had never heard of the place, as many others have also said to me, and yet it is such an important part of our geological history," Annie said.
"When we were there we went to the top of the volcano and looked down into the crater. When you raise your eyes, you see the lay of the land towards the Newcastle Ranges with the silvery lines of the lava tubes created 190,000 years ago.
"Down inside the tubes there were the bats and rock falls, where the roof had collapsed in places, there were the tracks of snakes and the smell ... it was so visceral ... I bring all that into the book."
A discussion about the unique insect species found in the tubes was the seed of this story, which blossomed when a friend suggested the heroine could be an entomologist.
"I got totally absorbed in researching this book ... I had to remind myself to write as well!" Annie laughs.
The book contains themes that are dear to her - an exploration of environmental issues, disgust and disillusionment with the lack of truth and integrity in government and big business, plus a gentle exploration of the human condition, in this particular case, the journey of grief for the main character, Emlyn.
The mayor Rhonda Hoban will launch Undarra at the Nambucca Heads Library this Saturday at 11am, it will be followed by a delicious morning tea and book signing. Bookings are appreciated to assist with catering, so please phone 6568 6906 to register your interest.