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Interview: Margareta Osborn, author of Bellas Run

Margareta Osborn 228x300 Interview: Margareta Osborn, author of Bellas RunA fifth-generation farmer, Margareta Osborn has a strong affinity with rural Australia, which explains her gravitation towards the burgeoning genre known as rural literature.

However, despite its recent surge in popularity, rural literature is a veteran genre. Mary Grant Bruce, my earliest inspiration to write about all things rural, wrote the Billabong books in the early 1900s, says Osborn. Popular titles such as'Colleen McCulloghs'The Thorn Birds, and Di Morrisseys'Heart of the Dreaming'and'Follow the Morning Star also come to mind.

The packaging or the way the genre is presented has moved with the decades, she admits, but the appeal of books about the bush is timeless.

So why do these books appeal so?'Osborn argues that its to do with the authenticity at the heart of rural literature. Theres a sense of'such books coming from the heart and soul of rural Australia.

And of course theres the awe-inspiring appeal of the land itself.

I love the way the Australian rural landscape becomes almost a character in its own right in this genre, she says. It makes the story very evocative and creates realism in the eyes of the reader.

Osborn argues that regardless of where a reader livescity, town, or elsewhereits part of the Australian psyche to identify with the bush.

We all seem to yearn to live somewhere else and quite often that dream is to move to the country. If a book like Bella's Run helps satisfy that yearning in a reader who can't for whatever reason realise their dream of living in the bush, I, as the author, am happy.

Bellas Run, which moves between Melbourne, Gippsland, and rural Queensland,'certainly seems to find in favour of rural living, with its urban counterpart painted in a less than flattering manner.

Osborn says that this wasnt a conscious choice, but rather was informed by her own experiences and values.

You write about what you know. I've lived in the country pretty much all of my life, and that's why Bella's Run is based there. Authenticity is very important to me in my stories. The characters drove the story the way they wanted it to gonothing more, nothing less.

And Osborns characters certainly drive the story in some interesting directions: there certainly seems to be a yen for mischief and good-natured funand huge quantities of rum.

Some of the activities and lifestyle we have out here may be different to what people who don't live in the country know or understand, but I suspect this works both ways. It is what it is. It was rather fun actually, she says.

Of course, interspersed with the fun was sheer hard work.'Bellas Run'features quite a complex narrative, and to ensure that she was telling the story in an effective a way as possible she turned to writers such as Andrea Goldsmith and Sallie Muirden for advice.

I wanted to show the very strong bonds of friendship and loyalty between the two girls in their youth, along with a depiction Bella growing and developing as a person, how she searches and finds love and a place to call home.

To achieve this, Osborn decided to incorporate two separate time-frames into the novel.

Fortunately,'I was able to get some very wise advice as to how best to do this. And judging from the fabulous reader feedback I'm getting already, the outcome worked.

Even though Bellas Run'has only just been released, Osborn already finished a second novel set along the dog fence of western NSW and the mountains and valleys of East Gippsland, the latter being where Bellas Run'is set.

The story centers on Leila, a farmer in the Narree valley who is charged with the responsibility of running 'Montmorency Downs', a property that has been in her family for 150 years, says Osborn. Leilas life is sent into disarray when she finds herself dealing with an irascible relative, a sexy wild dog trapper and a desperate-for-attention child.

I love this new book. Like Bella's Run, it has the love for the land flowing through it, whilst, I hope, offering a gutsy, funny and heart-wrenching story.

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  1. A great post! I wish Margareta much success with Bellas Run.
    Shelleyrae recently posted..Review: The Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti

  2. Stephanie /

    Thanks for visiting, Shelleyrae! It sounds like Margaretas already doing very well with Bellas Run, which is great news. :)


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