Inspired by the Eureka Rebellion and her ancestral family who mined for gold in early Australia, Mary-Anne O’Connor brings us a sweeping novel celebrating our Australian history, the cost of freedom and the value of love in our far-flung corner of the world. “In a Great Southern Land” is a moving Australian saga that beautifully captures the adventures and hardships of early Australian life.
Growing up in Sydney at Wooringa, on the edge of the bush, Mary-Anne didn’t believe she could ever achieve her dream of being a writer. However, she drew inspiration from her father, Kevin Best who gave up a productive career to become a successful artist at the age of forty six. Realising that a creative career wasn’t impossible, Mary-Anne continued to strive to achieve as a recognised writer. What followed was a campaign of sending manuscripts to many publishers without response from any, until despite receiving a rejection from Pan McMillan, their encouragement urged her to keep trying. She received some interest from Harper Collins, but was then again rejected. Her perseverance paid off when Harlequin Press grabbed her first novel and now “In A Great Southern Land” is her fourth major novel.
Asked what kept her going, Mary-Anne said: “I’m very determined and fiction is delicious, it sets you free to immerse yourself in imagination. You can live in a fantasy world of people you have created and bring them to life.” Asked if her characters were based on people in her own family, she said; “I based the two brothers loosely on my own sons, Jimmy and Jack”.
When not writing novels Mary-Anne lives with husband Anthony and her two sons in a house overlooking her beloved bushland in northern Sydney. She works in marketing and co-wrote/edited A Brush with Light and Secrets of the Brush with her father Kevin.
Secrets Magazine has – thanks to Harlequin Press, three copies of In A Great Southern Land to give away. To go into the draw to win a copy enter here https://contest.app.do/book-giveaway-2554724