Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly series where I tantalise you with snippets from upcoming and past book releases, and works-in-progress. Except for this week, when I’m doing something special!
I’m blessed to have wonderful writing buddies with whom I share the ups and downs of this crazy business. We understand how much slog and sweat goes into a book, and how deserving a new release is of celebration. Which is why I’m handing over today’s Teaser to best-selling Australian author Fiona Palmer whose new rural romance, The Saddler Boys, hits shelves tomorrow. Rah!
Now here’s Fiona to tell you a little bit about her new release.
The Saddler Boys grew from my experience with small country schools. The kind that only have two rooms, junior and senior, so you are mixed in with a heap of years like 4 to 7 or kindy to year 3. Our school also was closed and as a kid I didn’t see the effect it could have on a town back then. Now with kids of my own it becomes a big deal. So The Saddler Boys grew from this and the town of Lake Biddy was created and encompasses so many little towns that have been through the same struggles. There are other themes throughout this book as we follow Natalie’s journey to find herself and her place in life. Then there is Drew, finally allowing himself to love when his main focus has been his son.
I hope you enjoy the prologue for The Saddler Boys.
Peering out her car window, she waited and watched as kids piled onto orange school buses with bundles of energy. She scanned each face for likeness, for familiarity, for features she was trying hard to remember. But she had no clue if she’d ever spot him. Would she even be able to recognise him?
The buses pulled away from the school and she followed one in the direction she knew. It was weird being back here, in Lake Biddy – a tiny outback town in the middle of nowhere. And she wasn’t exaggerating; she meant tiny. A shop, a pub, a school and a few houses. It was all surrounded by empty paddocks and scrub. Being so isolated made her feel misplaced and slightly scared, like a flower petal blowing into the dry desert. Being here brought back waves of feelings she wasn’t used to, memories she didn’t want to remember, or deal with.
The large bus continued along the road and she kept following, knowing her boy must be on that bus. When it stopped at the familiar gate, she was overwhelmed with emotion. She reached for her cigarettes with shaky hands and quickly lit one, puffing away until the hit came.
She pulled over and waited for the bus to leave, then crept forward. A little boy with a large school bag walked to the bush on the left of the gate where a small tin shed was nestled. She watched him wheel out a tiny motorbike from the shed and start it. Could this really be him? He looked about the right age, but she was no expert.
He took off his school hat, and she noticed that his short clipped hair looked mousy blond. He put on his helmet. She cursed when she couldn’t see his face. Did she dare drive any closer? If he turned and saw her, what would he do? Approach her? Or run? Maybe she could tell him she was lost – or would she tell him the truth?
The boy roared his motorbike up the driveway, leaving a trail of dust behind.
It was probably for the best, she thought as she sucked the last bit of life out of her cigarette and lit up another one. She wasn’t quite ready yet. But soon. Soon she would be.