Archive | December, 2011

Happy feral pig awareness day.

20 Dec

In a bookshop somewhere, they are turning up in boxes. Boxes full of ‘Liar Bird.’ Supposedly not to be opened until January 1st (although sightings have been confirmed in bookshops in Sydney, Lismore, Alstonville and Byron Bay). It’s a strange feeling to know that words that I first started to put on paper way back in 2006 will soon be read by hundreds or – hopefully – thousands of people. Or, hundreds of thousands, even. Why not think big?

I just had a look at my old computer file from August 2006 when I first jotted down a few thoughts about this book. It contains important questions to myself such as:

  • City PR girl reinvents herself?
  • ‘Sea Change’ meets James Herriott? (does anyone remember all creatures Great and Small?)

And there were also a few immortal lines such as: ‘If it wasn’t for the long-footed potoroo, I might never have heard of Beechville.’  That line is now the first sentence in ‘Liar Bird’.

It is said that you should write what you know. Unfortunately, I’m sometimes not too good at taking advice. I’ve been working for national parks for a long time but it had never occurred to me that I was sitting on a mine of inspiration. It didn’t hit me until one day a friend saw a news release I’d written and started cackling with laughter. The title of the news release was ‘Feral Pig Awareness Day.’ When I stopped to think about it, it was very, very funny.

And it didn’t stop at pigs. Foxes were funny too, and chickens and cane toads. In fact, the original title of this book was ‘Toading – a story of love, lust and feral pests’. I don’t think it would have gone too far with that title.

So, this year, for me is not really about Christmas, I’m hanging on for January 1st – Happy Feral Pig Awareness Day!


Come January, I will be doing a few events around the Northern Rivers. If you are in the area, please drop in and say hi at:

Lennox Bookmark, Lennox Head – 7th January 10am – 12.00 (reading at 11.00)

Collins Bookshop, Byron Bay – 7th January 1.30pm – 3.00

Mary Ryans Bookshop Byron Bay – 8th January 10.30 – 12.00

PR queen takes a dive

15 Dec

 With only two weeks until Liar Bird is published, I thought I’d share another short extract. If you missed the last one, it is here. City PR Queen, Cassandra, has taken a dive and is considering her options…

I needed to get away for a while; act like it was my choice, return refreshed, revitalised and triumphant. What I needed was another job – some place they’d never heard of Cassandra Daley and her astroturf. Somewhere Sydney people would never find me.

Ant was still sitting on the end of the bed, doggy eyes following my every move.

“For Chrissakes Ant, stop watching me. Get me a coffee…and a fresh muffin from the bakery. Will you, snooks?” That would keep him out of my hair for a bit.

As he left the room I grabbed Alice from my bedside table. ‘You look a little shy, let me introduce you to that leg of mutton,’ said the Red Queen.

Ha.  I would be lucky to be introduced even to a leg of mutton if I stuck around here. A pathetic, friendless loser, that’s what I’d be.

I opened the jobs section. There were lots of PR jobs, but all in Sydney. I kept flicking, there at the end was a small box – Public Relations specialist for wildlife agency, north coast – Beechville.

Beechville? I shuddered. There were good parts to the north coast. Come to think of it, one good part – Byron Bay. Byron was tres chic – most of Balmain was there in summer. You had no trouble getting any sort of latte in Byron. Somehow I suspected Beechville wasn’t like that. It sounded like the kind of place where Instant Roast and teabags were the order of the day.

Getting out of bed, I pulled my road atlas from the shelf. There it was; Beechville – a small dot near the Queensland border. Why on earth would they need a public relations specialist there? What could happen in a country town like that? Something about that appealed though. I’d had enough action for the time being.

I pictured myself in a rocking chair on a wide verandah – maybe strolling in to work to have my photo taken with a koala or on a rainforest walkway…

At least it wasn’t too far from civilisation – if you could call Surfers Paradise and Brisbane civilised. Anything north of Hornsby was the wilderness as far as I was concerned, but, given the circumstances, you take what you can get. It would be quiet, boring maybe, but quiet. I’d have time to plan my comeback; recuperate my energies for a big re-entry.

Wazza would take me back; he’d never find anyone else as good as me. No, stuff Wazza, I’d set up in opposition to him. I might find my reputation to be an asset; in fact I’m sure I would – once people had the chance to reflect on it. It showed I’d go the extra mile. Clients liked that.

The good part was, Beechville was north coast and Rainforest Runaway was south coast. Separation of these two places could only be beneficial.

The door clicked as Anthony let himself back in. Ripping out the ad, I placed it in my top drawer.

Beechville. I felt half-asleep at the thought of it…

Hope you enjoyed that. And for anyone who happens to find that too much ‘Liar Bird’ is never enough – here’s a link to the Varuna Blog where I read a couple of pages.