Kangaroo Island author Darry Fraser has strived extremely hard in her writing career and written many a good book. Darry writes fast paced historical drama fiction with good, bold storylines, strong characters and a dialogue that snaps and sings to your senses.
Books released by Darry include Daughter of the Murray, Where the Murray River Runs, The Widow of Ballarat, The Good Woman of Renmark, The Drover Comes Home for Christmas(a short story published with four other authors for a Christmas book) and the latest Elsa Goody, Bushranger.
The Victor Harbor Library hosted Darry for a talk in 2019 and her books are in the Library. Living in Swan Hill for a short period was the inspiration for Darry to write about the Murray.
"Swan Hill is where my love for the river comes from and later, as a young adult, I left home to live in Alice Springs for several years and fell in love with the arid lands. The landscape lives for me wherever I am," Darry said.
"I was always a story-teller. I loved stories as a child, loved TV and movies and anything I could find to transport me into another world. From my earliest memories I would entertain my siblings with made up stories, either in the car while we were travelling, or at bedtime.
"After I'd learned to hand write I was constantly scribbling stories. Once at school history fascinated me, but there wasn't a lot of that early days. So I'd daydream stories - usually always got caught out."
Writing came naturally for Darry, but confidence was in short supply so she kept writing on the quiet and honed the craft.
"One day I had a little epiphany - something like, 'well, the only way is up now, and all you've got is you'. It took five years. In 2015, HarperCollins contracted Daughter of the Murray, publishing it in 2016. The book had only been in the wings for 30 years!"
Darry lives and works in Kangaroo Island and much prefers country living, the slower lifestyle and smaller communities and has a great connection with the Fleurieu.
"I have friends in Victor, friends at Strathalbyn, where I lived for a short period of time. I'm a lover of wine, big reds in particular," she said.
The latest book Elsa Goody, Bushranger hade a quiet launch on Monday, May 18 and available at KI booksellers and on offer is a prize draw to win vouchers for KI businesses.
In each book Darry writes, there is always one denominator and that is resilience.
"Because I write for women, the protagonist is a woman who, while she lives within the confines of her era, she does have a brain and ideas of her own.
"So I look for things like the first vote for women in Australia (South Australia 1896), or the closer settlements along the river in SA, or the irrigation system set up by the Chaffeys and put women there, give them a life and try to get it as close as possible to how it really was," Darry said.
"Resilience was paramount to her survival. We tend to believe that women of the time just wouldn't have done what some of them did. It just wasn't talked about, good or bad, though if they messed up and were caught out, it was certainly talked about!"
Darry said each book has been different. It starts with the idea it would be a small series set on the Murray in the 19th century, which has so many stories and when it came time to penning the third in the 'Murray' series, another book idea muscled in and had to be written.
"That one was The Widow of Ballarat. I woke up one morning after having had a dream about the Tom Roberts painting, 'Bail-up'," Darry said.
"So, then I had to find something iconic in Australian history that lent itself to bushrangers and massive social upheaval and that put me back to the gold rush and the Eureka Stockade.
"I loved writing that book and the research was eye-opening, riveting. For Elsa Goody, Bushranger, inspiration was a family legend of the discovery of gold coins on the farm during the Depression. I set the book back a few years in 1896."
For readers of the high achieving best seller there are more books on the horizon.
"The Last Truehart is finished and will be out in November 2020 and I'm currently a good way through writing a book due for release this time next year," Darry said..
In these uncertain times, reading has been the heartbeat of many people's lives, being it paper or electronic. For readers nothing beats the feel of a book in your hands, especially one written by Darry Fraser.