Australian author Sandie Docker is not like most authors who knew they would pursue a career in writing.
It wasn’t until Sandie was living overseas, feeling homesick, that she began to write stories, based in small Aussie towns.
“I’m from Coffs Harbour and at the time it was a very small town,” Sandie said.
“It only had 20,000 people there when I was growing up. But more people are living there now of course.
“I was missing that small town community feel that you get in small Australian towns and that is when I started writing.
“Small Australian towns have such a depth of character, both in their place and the people that inhabit those towns. It’s such a fun thing to write about,” she said.
And it appears Sandie’s love of writing about small Australian towns paid off.
The writer has been signed to Penguin Books to produce not one, but four books.
So far, she has written The Kookaburra Creek Café and The Cottage at Rosella Cove and is in the middle of writing her third novel which is due out in 2020.
To add to her busy schedule, Sandie has been on tour, promoting her latest read and will make an appearance at Castle Hill Library on Thursday, February 21.
“I will be talking about my journey to publication and the whirlwind that has happened in the last 18 months since I signed with Penguin,” Sandie said.
“I now have book deals, plus translation rights for my first novel. It’s all been very exciting.”
Sandie will also reveal a secret during the meet and greet.
“The actual inspiration for that particular book [The Cottage at Rozella Cove] is rather an embarrassing truth that I have to share. But I will leave that for the event,” she added.
The Cottage at Rozella Cove follows the personal story of Nicole and Charlie, who both grapple with personal anguish.
Nicole is haunted by a traumatic relationship in her past and has come to Rosella Cove to try and rebuild her life. Meanwhile, elderly hermit Charlie harbours many secrets including one that has consumed his life.
In the book, Sandie sends her characters on an emotional rollercoaster, while touching on the subjects of alcoholism and domestic violence – two topics heavily discussed in the media.
Sandie said it was not a “conscious decision” to write a book that would include issues of domestic violence and alcoholism.
“When I write my book, I don’t plan it,” she said.
“I just start writing and see where the characters take me.
“Perhaps it was a subconscious thing that bleeds into the book from everything that we’ve been seeing.
“I didn’t want the book to be just about those issues. I wanted them to be part of the book.
“I think they are explored in the book as everyday issues. You know, it’s something that Nicole goes through, which is part of her story and so many other women. It’s one aspect, but it’s a huge aspect.”
While Sandie’s stories are fictional, she does do plenty of background research to make sure they are as realistic as possible for her readers.
“I always end up doing more research than I think I have to when writing these books,” Sandie said.
“When something like this does come up, I have to make sure that I portray these issues in the right way, I guess.
“I had a close family member who has been through a similar situation to the main character in the book.
“I actually used her as a reader to make sure that I was doing a half decent job. To make sure I was portraying the issue in a realistic way and that I was doing it justice,” she added.
Researching content may seem like the hardest part of the job, but for Sandie, it was writing to a deadline.
“I am a new author and I’ve never had to do that before,” she said.
“That was a challenge in a logistic way.
“Another challenge was making sure the emotional resonance in the book reads true. You know when you are dealing with issues like domestic violence and alcoholism or any of those sorts of things, you want to make sure that it is real for the readers. And getting that right is always a challenge,” she added.
But the hard work is all worth it Sandie says.
“Once it’s out there and people fall in love with Nicole and Charlie like I love them – then that’s the most rewarding part,” she added.
*Join popular author Sandie Docker as she discusses her latest book, The Cottage at Rosella Cove, at Castle Hill Library on Thursday 21st February at 6.30pm. Cost: $7.50pp.
To book: www.eventbrite.com.au.