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Alli Sinclair p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. For this issue, I went along to see author Alli Sinclair talk about her novel Burning Fields, a romance set in the sugar cane country of north Queensland just after WW2. There are a lot of good travel-related and other reading suggestions in this interview...

Alli Sinclair had a simple but effective tip for writing stories. First, come up with a setting that interests you. Then create some characters for that setting. Then have the characters really want something. But make it hard for them to get it. This makes for an interesting story. And by making it hard for the characters to achieve their goal, the reader feels that the characters deserve it when they achieve it.
Alli Sinclair is the author of historical romance Burning Fields, set in the sugar cane fields of North Queensland just after WW2. Ms Sinclair appeared at a Gold Coast Library to talk about her new book. She said she was doing the dishes when the idea for a post-WW2 story came to her. She had just returned from a vacation in North Queensland. At first she thought of setting a story in a winery, but the story said no. “It has to be northern Queensland.”
She took the best of all the little towns she’d visited on her vacation and combined them for Piri River.
Then the characters started developing. Rosie Stanton is a third generation cane farmer, who returns home to the family farm after serving in the Australian Women’s Army Service in Brisbane during WW2. Tomas Conti has left Italy, where he fought against the fascists in WW2, to join his family in Piri River, North Queensland.
Other characters came to the author. But they had to serve a purpose in the story. She said she had an Italian male character turn up on Rosie’s doorstep while Ms Sinclair was writing Burning Fields. “You have to serve a purpose, or next time, you’re gone,” the author thought to the character. It turned out that the character was the glue between Rosie and Tomas. She said she tried to keep the number of her characters to a minimum or the story became too complicated.
She liked dual timeline stories, too. For eg. Burning Fields cuts between Tomas Conti’s guerrilla activities against Mussolini’s armies in Sicily in WW2, and post-WW2 North Queensland.

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