In the shadow of Thorn­ton

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - THE GROOVE - Shane Ni­chols

A new novel set in the Dain­tree has just hit the book­shelves.

Called “Dain­tree”, it is by the ex­traor­di­nar­ily pro­lific NSW north coast au­thor An­nie Seaton.

She de­scribes her work as ro­man­tic sus­pense, but there is a dose of en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivism in there as well.

The for­mer school prin­ci­pal, who re­tired early and turned au­thor about five years ago, and her hus­band travel to dif­fer­ent parts of Aus­tralia in their hol­i­day to re­search her books.

Sev­eral years ago Ms Seaton signed a three-book deal with ma­jor pub­lisher, Pan Mcmil­lan. The first book, Kakadu Sunset, has been out for a while.

For the next one, Ms Seaton and her hus­band hitched up their lit­tle car­a­van back in Nam­bucca Heads and drove to Wonga Beach where they stayed for a few weeks in 2014.

“I was ab­so­lutely fas­ci­nated by Thorn­ton Peak,” Ms Seaton says.

“A lot of my story is set at the base of Thorn­ton Peak. I’ve got a char­ac­ter set there, an Abo­rig­i­nal woman, she’s a bit of a bush healer . . .

“A lot of the sus­pense­ful part of the book hap­pens in the rain­for­est there.”

Wildlife smug­gling, which she had read about, is also an in­spi­ra­tion for the plot.

Among the key char­ac­ters are Emma, a fol­low on from the Kakadu book who moved to the Dain­tree, and a male doc­tor from Syd­ney who moved to the Dain­tree to make a new life.

Ms Seaton has writ­ten a cou­ple of mil­lion words in five years – 26 books in fact. “Writ­ing comes eas­ily to me,” she says. When she re­tired she sought a pub­lisher and found a New York pub­lisher, Lyri­cal Press, in just five weeks.

The mix­ture of hard copy and e-books has seen her be­come one of the best read au­thors. “My first 15 books were e-books and they did very well – I ac­tu­ally reached No. 1 on the Ama­zon US ro­mance se­ries.

“I’ve been in the top 100 au­thors on Ama­zon US two or three times. It’s been a lovely sur­prise.

“I’m one of those very rare au­thors – and I pinch my­self – that I have never had a re­jec­tion from a pub­lisher.”

She said one re­viewer of Kakadu Ssun­set de­scribed it as eco-ad­ven­ture. “One of my favourite things is de­scrip­tive writ­ing,” she says. “I have trav­elled a great deal but find Aus­tralia is the most amaz­ing place of all.

“What I’m try­ing to con­vey is our beau­ti­ful Aus­tralian land­scape to those read­ers who can never get to those places.”

Au­thor An­nie Seaton

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