Message From The Author
The idea for SEPTEMBER MOON came to me when I was doing the research for Night in Eden and I stumbled upon a collection of letters written by English gentle women who had traveled to Australia as governesses. Those poor Victorian ladies suffered from a terrible case of culture shock! Their letters were sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious.
And they got me thinking, What if
I had a lot of fun writing SEPTEMBER MOON. In a lot of ways, its a lot lighter than Night in Eden and The Bequest. Fish-out-of-water stories always carry an element of humor in them. But theres also a certain amount of pathos, as the character is gradually forced to make some painful if necessary adjustments.
The heroine of SEPTEMBER MOON, Amanda Davenport, is a very complex woman. As a child, she was rebellious and unconventional. But the events and circumstances of her life have caused her to retrench, to barricade herself behind an assumption of spinsterish repression.
She probably wouldve lived the rest of her life that way if I hadnt stranded her in Australia, where she meets Patrick OReilly and his three children.
Like the land they call home, the OReillys are wild and free and brutally honest. At first, Amanda wants nothing more than to get away from OReilly and the land he lives in, and the strange way both make her feel. But as she deals with bull ants and naked Aborigines, with deadly dust storms and her growing, undeniable passion for OReilly, Amanda rediscovers the woman she was meant to be and finds the courage to set herself free.
Theres a saying by George Eliot that I have taped above my computer. It says, Its never too late to be who you might have been.
That is, essentially, the theme of SEPTEMBER MOON.
I try very hard to create a vivid, authentic sense of time and place in my books. I research all of my stories for months before I write them, although I think the years I spent as an historian (I have a B.A. in Classics and both an M.A. and Ph.D. in history) probably also help me to understand the Zeitgeist of different time periods.
Although set in Australia, like Night in Eden, SEPTEMBER MOON deals with a very different time and place. Whereas Night in Eden was set in the fertile coastal strip of New South Wales during the colonys early convict days, September Moon takes place later, in the 1860s, during Australias Wild West days, in a part of the outback known as the Flinders Ranges.
Ruggedly beautiful, it is an area of barren hills and brittle red ridges interrupted by unexpectedly verdant water holes. Its a very old land, and very haunting. Ive tried to bring a very real sense of that special place to SEPTEMBER MOON.
Im also lucky that Ive lived in more than a dozen different places on four continents, so that helps to give my books a sense of place. The books Ive written so far have been set in places where Ive livedmy time in New South Wales gave me a setting for Night in Eden, while the two years I spent in Colorado helped to inspire The Bequest.
My next book, THE LAST KNIGHT, due out in July 2000, is a medieval set in France, where I lived for a year when I was doing research for my nonfiction book on the influence of the French Revolution on the development of feminism.
Ive never found there to be a contradiction between feminism and the romance genre, and Im not ashamed to call myself a feminist. Romantic fiction gives me the opportunity to write about a strong, capable woman, like Amanda, who falls in love with a caring, nurturing man who is worthy of her, like OReilly. My heroines dont need marriage to validate them or to secure a place in the Patriarchy; for them, love is a choice.
I firmly believe that our choice of who will be our lifes mate is one of the most important decisions any of usman or womanwill ever make, which is why I find it so fascinating to write romances.
SEPTEMBER MOON was a top pick in October! Write to Candice at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Ballantine Books, 201 E. 50th Street, New York, NY 10022.
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