Welcome to Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. Here to share a pot of tea and to chat about her brand new book, The Art of Dust, is Mel A. Rowe.
Mel A Rowe is a Writer and Weekend Wanderer, trying not to get too lost outback of Northern Australia. Besides random road trips, fumbling with her camera, and annoying her family with her bad singing—it’s her novels she enjoys creating the most. Suffering from an allergy to all things corporately serious, Mel’s novels are dished up with a dash of drama, witty humour, and quirky family units. Known for reinventing romantic versions of home, Mel takes her common characters on an uncommon journey that leads from boardrooms to billabongs as they try to find their own HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
Hello Mel. It is my pleasure to warmly welcome you to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews. Thank you for joining me for Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. To set the mood for our tea infused interview, what is your preferred beverage, tea, coffee or other? And side accompaniment, scone, cake or other?
I’ll have a black tea, with real milk—if you have it? In the Northern Territory (NT), our milk only arrives in cartons hauled inside tanks from interstate by road-trains, so fresh full cream milk is a real treat.
The Art of Dust has just been released. Can you describe it in just a sentence?
A second-chance, small town, rural romance, set in a place where the outback summer never ends.
How different was the process of writing The Art of Dust, compared to your previous novels?
This is my first series. The ART of DUST is a gentle introduction to the tiny outback town, Elsie Creek, set in the Northern Territory (NT).
Can you tell us more about the chosen rural setting of your novel?
Well…. (*pulls chair closer to the table and refills your tea cup*)
The town of Elsie Creek lies between the Barkly and Top End Region with Kakadu National Park just down the track. It offers an authentic rarely-seen glimpse of the NT, combining fact mixed with fiction of all these places I’ve lived and worked in.
The NT enjoys dramatic seasonal changes within her untouched wilderness. One day I could be driving over a desolate desert, or circling her scorched lands from a bushfire, and six months later it’s a lush green wonderland where we glide over that same place by boat that has become part of an inland sea. There’s nowhere else like it.
(**Images from Mel A ROWE’s Instagram account demonstrating the Dry season (winter) and the Wet Season, (summer) billabong on the right.**)
How long did it take you to write The Art of Dust?
(*Squints and whispers…*) 10 days.
We were flooded-in from the Wet season after another cyclone, and with no Wi-Fi to distract me—as we live in what Telstra calls a communication Dead-zone—I tapped away on the keyboard while it rained non-stop. I practically spilled it on the page.
As a pantser, I have no idea where the story is going which is why I love writing a first draft.
I am very pleased to see The Art of Dust is book one of a new series. Can you give us a hint of what we might expect in upcoming books?
The Elsie Creek series is a mix of multi-cultural local legends and folklore starting with a focus on the town. Then, as the series progresses, it involves the surrounding outstations and cattle stations.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading The Art of Dust?
The curiosity to want to know more as each story uncovers layers to the town, her people, including the unique industries and the rich NT culture.
Can you tell us about your journey to publication?
I’d always wanted to do journalism, instead I took a never-ending holiday working my way around Australia, always returning to the NT. I’ve worked in many different jobs within the Hospitality industry, as a chef, National Park Rangers, NT Police, dabbled in the corporate world, even became a skipper on commercial boats surviving cyclones at sea to running from sea pirates. Strangely, my fishing adventures haven’t come out…yet.
Then I injured my back. So, while relearning to walk, I started to write to forget my pain. I’d write these stories, read them, then filed them away in the cupboard until a friend discovered them and pushed me to publish some.
Do you have any advice for the aspiring writers out there?
Write for yourself first.
And, if you love the story, have faith others will too.
Aside from writing, do you have any interesting hobbies?
Besides fumbling with my camera and taking road trips for research (and for my Instagram feed), I’ll try anything when it comes to being creative and craft work—l love Pinterest for inspiration! As we lack decent shopping facilities, I try to create art from junk. Mmm, I think my heroine from The ART of DUST influenced me here.
What 2019 book releases are you most excited to read?
Fleur McDonald, Karly Lane, Nicole Alexander, Mandy Magro, Annie Seaton, Bronwyn Parry, Fiona McCallum (*lists all Australian Ru-Ro authors…*) Almost every time I read your reviews, and those in the Australian Women’s Writers Challenge, you ladies keep adding to my TBR pile.
Finally, wrapping up our tea themed interview, who would you most like to share a pot of tea with?
My Dad. I dedicated The ART of DUST to him because he would’ve loved the Northern Territory that is truly an amazing land of stories where we’d need an endless pot of tea to share them all.
Thank you for taking the time to visit Mrs B’s Book Reviews for Tea with Mrs B Mel. Congratulations on the publication of The Art of Dust!
Thank you so much for this fabulous opportunity Mrs B.
Some summer loves you can never forget, found in a place where summer never ends and where you’ll discover the essence of the rugged and romantic outback of Australia’s Northern Territory, in this small-town series of Elsie Creek. It’s a place filled with more cattle and crocodiles than people—who still manage to find love…
Are you ready to Escape to a HAPPILY EVER AFTER?
After seven-years, creative Mumpreneur, Kathryn (Kat) Jones, returns to the outback town of Elsie Creek at the request of her dying uncle. Kat can’t fix the man but she can care for his wife, fix his home, and fix his beloved vehicle to get him there.
Workaholic, Kyle Smythe, owns the only mechanical workshop in town, and he’s about to propose to another woman when his ex-muse rolls into his yard seeking help to restore her uncle’s ute.
For Kat, Kyle was her best friend, her creative collaborator, and first and only love. But his rejection tore her heart apart.
Kyle’s scars still sting over Kat’s desertion—especially when he’d needed her the most.
Yet these long-lost summer soulmates are compelled to team-up to make a man they both care for happy in his final days.
Can they work together without re-igniting that spark shared those many summers ago? Or will it remind them of their promises of forever that ended in never…
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