Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Remembering author Laurel Lamperd

My dear friend, Laurel Lamperd  passed away on 9th June 2013.

Laurel was a wonderful storyteller. Her works reflect her wealth of knowledge, her charm and warmth, and she was game to tackle ‘delicate’ issues while keeping true to her stories.

Her historical novels include the Regency period, Substitute Bride, as well as Roman Britain, Crossroads at Isca, and her Australian saga. Book One, Wind from Danyari begins in 1712 and displays a clear understanding of Aboriginal culture. Book Two Journey from Walara begins with the Hennessy boys enlisting in the Australian armed forces in WWII.
Laurel was editing Book Three Return to Walara, which her daughter hopes to complete for her.
 Laurel's other published works include an urban murder mystery novel, Murder Among the Roses, a children’s novel, Battle at Boodicuttup Creek and several books of short stories and poems.

This is the article Laurel wrote for Calamity's Corner, August 2012, soon after she retired from her sheep station with her husband, Max,  to live in the nearby seaside town where she spent much of her time in her new garden, planting Australian natives and writing.

Writing Sagas

I have always admired writers who write sagas but I’ve never planned to write a series myself. I was strictly a one story book author.

As a child, I loved the Anne of Green Gables books and What Katy Did. When I was a teenager, I read the Jalna books by Mazo de la Roche, what I could get on my hands on. The little library in our town couldn’t afford to stock them all. I believe there are sixteen or seventeen.

When I thought about writing a book incorporating the Dutch East Indiaman, the Zuytdorp, wrecked on the West Australian coast in 1712, I little thought it would turn in four books.

The Zuytdorp had vanished without a trace. Nothing more was heard of it for over two hundred years. Then its wreck site was discovered in the 1930’s along the cliffs which bears its name. The wreck site was a treasure trove. Hundreds of Dutch schellings and double stuivers were discovered, still resting in the caves in the cliffs where the sea had washed them one hundred and fifty years before.

On the cliffs above the wreck were the remains of a bonfire which the archeologists surmise was lit by the survivors in the hope of attracting a ship. The survivors would have known that two Dutch ships, the Kochenge and Belvliet, had left the Cape at the same time as the faster Zuytdorp.

What had happened to the survivors of the Zuytdorp is anyone’s guess. One line of thought is that some of them might have integrated with a local Aboriginal tribe. Then there is the question if they did, whether they sired children with Aboriginal women.

I’d decided my main character would be an archeologist in the book I was planning to write. I’d throw in a love interest, maybe a woman living on a nearby pastoral station, or perhaps it would be a young woman archeologist who fell in love with the owner of the pastoral station.

As I continued to map my story, I couldn’t stop from wondering if any of the Zuytdorp survivors had been accepted into the tribe and what would their lives have been like and how did the local Aborigines live in 1712? That was one hundred and fourteen years before WA was settled in 1826, at Albany on the south coast, and fifty-eight years before Captain James Cook sailed into Botany Bay on the east coast of Australia in 1770 to proclaim the country for the English crown.

 So, instead of writing my one book involving the archeologist and the pastoral station owner, I began with the wreck of the Zuytdorp and the survivors in what was to become Wind from Danyari, the first book in the Walara saga.

 I hadn’t forgotten the pastoral owner so I created a character called Joe Hennessy who, at the end of the nineteenth century, left his home and a violent father, made money on the goldfields of Halls Creek, and then took up land in the Carnarvon district and built Walara, a sheep station.

Journey from Walara, the second book, tells the story of Danny and Will Hennessy who left Walara to join up in World War II.

 Danny is in the RAAF and flies a bomber over Germany. Will is in the Militia and is sent to fight on the Kokoda Track in 1942 to stem the Japanese advance.

Jack Hennessey who is against his sons joining the forces is left to manage Walara.

The third book, Return to Walara, is a wip. It follows the fortunes of Walara and the children of Danny and Will. The last book will bring the story of Walara and the Hennessys up to the present time.

The last Hennessy will be the archaeologist, for this was the idea for the four books. If there were survivors from the Zuytdorp, did they reach where modern Walara is now? Did they co-habit with Aboriginal women and have children? Maybe we shall never know, but in a fictional world everything is king.

You can find Laurel's books on Amazon  and Smashwords and  The Book Depository

Read  excerpts from  her books at Laurel’s website
as well as her lovely short stories and poems at Author’s Den #

 We miss you Laurel. Rest in Peace.

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