This is the world I’ve been living in for the past few years as I’ve been researching and writing my latest project, Dear Madman, a novel based on a tragedy that has haunted my family for generations. Laidley is a town in the Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane where the story is predominantly set, one hundred years ago.
I love this photo because it captures just how “edge of nowhere” it was back then. I am especially intrigued by the girl on the pony in the middle on the far right. Pinafore and all. Who is she and where is she going? She could even be one of my great aunts.
For a long while I had this picture pinned up beside my desk to remind me where my characters were living. For them, this was the nearest big town.
I loved living in this quieter time and place where I could hear the thud of horses hooves and my own footfall, not the constant stream of traffic flowing past my home now in busy Brisbane.
I’ve finished the latest draft and have sent it off with fingers crossed and candles lit. But now I’m left, relieved in one way to be free of the madness and violence at the heart of this story, but sad too that I have lost this slower, simpler world.