Monday, June 29, 2015

**REVIEW, INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY** Heart of the Country by Tricia Stringer

Hey all, today we have a special post for you. I had the pleasure of interviewing Australian Author Tricia Stringer and also reviewing her new book, Heart of the Country.

So enjoy the interview, check out my review and don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a paperback copy of this amazing book for yourself. ^_^

Heart of the Country
By Tricia Stringer 
Release Date: 1st May, 2015
Published by: Harlequin MIRA

Heart of the Country is the first book in an epic historical saga of three Australian families. Spanning several generations, this epic tells the story of the Baker, Smith and Wiltshire families forging their paths in a land both beautiful and unforgiving.

Lives are intertwined by love and community then ripped apart by hate and greed but remain always bound to the land they love…

1846. Newly arrived from England, Thomas Baker is young, penniless and alone. Eager to make his mark on this strange new place called South Australia, he accepts work as an overseer on a distant sheep property, believing this will be the opportunity he seeks. But when Thomas’s path crosses that of ex-convict, Septimus Wiltshire — a grasping con man hell bent on making a new life for himself and his family at any price — trouble is on the horizon.

But Thomas is made of stern stuff and his fortunes take a turn for the better when he meets spirited farmer’s daughter Lizzie Smith, and soon he envisages their future together.

But this land is like no other he has encountered: both harsh and lovely, it breaks all but the strongest. When his nemesis intervenes once more and drought comes, Thomas finds himself tested almost beyond endurance with the risk of losing everything he and Lizzie have worked for… even their lives.


My Rating:


My Review:

The bull is tame, so fear him not, so long as you can pay your shot. When money's gone and credit's bad, that's what makes the bull go mad.

^^This poem was posted outside the pub Thomas Baker walked into right at the start of the story, it stuck with me, so I wanted to share it with you. It's just so Australian! I could picture the sign in my head as soon as I read it.

 In 1846 Thomas Baker had just arrived from England to start a new life in South Australia, he knew he was destined for a better life and would find it in this Beautiful Country. Landing himself a new job as overseer to a huge property in the bush, he needed a few things before heading off. Being new here he wasn't used to or expected to cross paths with an ex convict from New South Wales, Seth Whitby aka Septimus Whiltshire. Who sold Thomas a stolen horse and also had taken a chest full of his mother's possessions. Not the best start to his new life, but he never let any of that get in the way. Penakie awaits!

While I was reading the book, I had a funny thing happen. I was sitting outside in the sun and as I read Thomas's first encounter with a black and white bird that warbled, I had a magpie fly into my yard and warble, it made the whole thing feel so real.

We follow along with three different families whose lives intertwine together to create such a riveting story.

Tricia has produced such a beautifully written novel, with such wonderfully unique characters. She delves deep into Australian history and gives strong detailed descriptions of the land, you can envision it all like you're actually standing there in the grassy mountains, or the little cave seeing for yourself the beautiful  Aboriginal drawings. You'll be drawn in and left purely enchanted.
 I finished this book in a day and with 3 children nagging every 5 minutes, that's pretty good. ^_^

Love reading Historical Fiction? Than I highly recommend Heart of the Country.



What or who inspired you to become a writer?

    Monica McInerney – her first book, ‘A Taste for It’ inspired me to write for adults. Since then she has always encouraged my writing.
    Fiona McIntosh – I love her writing but she has also been a great mentor.

 Who is your favourite Author & what is it that really strikes you about their work?

    I have to say the two writers I mentioned in Question 1. Monica’s stories always look into the layers of families and what makes them tick. She uses all the emotions. Fiona’s stories are big and bold and gutsy and she’s not afraid to kill people.

 What was the hardest part about writing your book?

    Getting the era right. Going back to the mid nineteenth century was fun but also challenging. Every item the characters use, everything they say has to be thought about to make sure it’s true to the time they lived in.

What was your favourite chapter to write and why?

    I really enjoyed giving poor Thomas a boil on his butt then having Lizzie, a young woman he’s never met, turn up and want to lance it for him. He almost turns inside out with embarrassment and Lizzie has to reassure him and do the job. Funny and ghastly at the same time.

What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned in writing your book?

    When I went looking for them I found little links to the past that I’d never noticed before. For example, my main character Thomas was to meet his new employer at a pub in Hindley Street Adelaide. The year was 1846 so I googled early Adelaide pubs. I liked the sound of the ‘Black Bull’ and that’s where I sent Thomas. I was surprised to find out the Black Bull still operates in Hindley Street so I went for a visit. Part of the early building remains and the walls are adorned with pictures and events from early Adelaide. There’s also a statue of a black bull. I’d walked past it on many occasions before not realising the significance.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

    I call it procrastination and I’m good at it. I’ve had to teach myself to write every day. It’s not always the best writing but the words are on the page. I can always edit. You can’t edit a blank page so the trick is to write every day. Even if it’s only a couple of hundred words at least the story is growing.

What is the last book you read?

    The Burial’ by Courtney Collins. It was recommended by a friend who knew I liked Australian historical settings. It was a very different style of writing from my own and quite challenging in places but I enjoyed it.

 If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?

    Princess Mary of Denmark. She married her prince, moved to another country, learned another language and works hard. I’d love a glimpse behind the scenes.

 What do you like to do when you're not writing?

    Family is no. 1 for me. My children live all over the country so moments to chat or actually spend time together are precious. My husband and I also like to do short trips away from home catching up with friends. I love to walk on the beach and I’ve always got something crafty on the go. I’ve done so many things over the years. My hall cupboards are a testament to many phases but my original sewing machine is still my most treasured crafty item.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

    I read a lot of anecdotal notes and diaries about the time and the places where ‘Heart of the Country’ is set. They guided my writing but it is purely fiction. I love to let my imagination loose.

 As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    An animal geneticist

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

    Write every day. (See Q6). Attend workshops, join a writers’ group, be with other writers. Read for enjoyment but also to learn more about the craft of writing. Write down your writing goals. Be realistic and keep on keeping on.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

    Thank you for reading my books. Without you my books wouldn’t be published and shared. I love to write and you love to read. It’s mutually beneficial. I also love to hear from readers so please drop by my website, Facebook or Twitter and say hello.

 How would you describe yourself in 3 words?  

Loving, happy, busy

 What’s one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?

    I am rather partial to shoes. I have a large foot so it’s not always easy to find pairs that I like but when I do…

What Scares you the most and why?

    I’m terrified of snakes. I grew up on a farm and they were always around. I’ve had several close encounters and I really don’t like them. Not even pictures of them in books.

When was the last time you cried over a book?

    I have to say it was my own ‘Heart of the Country’. Writing the scenes where Thomas had to bury a child was heart wrenching.

Some quick questions..

Light or Dark chocolate?

Sunrise or Sunset?

 Dogs or Cats?

 Tea or Coffee?

Favourite Colour?

About the Author

 Tricia Stringer grew up on a farm in country South Australia. A mother of  three wonderful grown-up    children and Nanna to two boys, Tricia now lives in the beautiful Copper Coast region with her husband Daryl. Most of Tricia’s life so far has been spent in rural communities, as owner of a post office and    bookshop, as a teacher and librarian, and now as a full-time writer. She loves travelling and exploring    Australia’s diverse communities and landscapes, and shares this passion for the country and its people    through her stories. One of Tricia’s rural romances, Queen of the Road, won the Romance Writers of    Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year award in 2013.Heart of the Country is Tricia’s fourth book with Harlequin.

Join Tricia’s community



Up for grabs we have TWO paperback copies of Heart of the Country to give away.

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL 

To enter, just fill in the raffleform below. Winners will be contacted via email on the 20th July, 2015.



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