by Kim Kelly

thinking thinking

HELP ME CHOOSE MY NEXT STORY!
(AND WIN MY ETERNAL GRATITUDE + A FREE BOOK)

I have what’s arguably the best problem I will ever have in my writing life. It’s no secret that I’ve been writing like a mad lady over the past year – there’s something about the beauty of Millthorpe and the Blayney hills I look out on every day that fills me with wild rivers of words. But this has meant that I’ve ended up with two manuscripts.

They’re both at first draft stage – my favourite stage where the hard work of getting the story down is done and it’s time to play and polish. I love them both. So does my publisher. Both novels push my passions for story and country forward along veins of gold and wonder I just have to follow. But I can’t work on both at the same time now.

I have to make a choice: which novel will be published next?

Will you help me decide?

The first novel is set during the gold-rush years of the 1860s, in these very hills of central western New South Wales I call home. Part Aussie Deadwood, part rollicking romance, it follows the adventures of a very unlikely and very gorgeous couple, involving mistaken identity, horse theft, dynamite explosions and squawking chooks. It explores racial conflict and cultural identity in the mad melting pot of those years. A homage to my own European heritage, and also to the First Nations whose land this was before the world arrived to take it from them, it holds the true story of how the West was won. And like all my novels so far, it’s love that really wins in the end – the sweetest love shared by lovers, mates and families.

The second novel is set during the glory days of luxury steamship travel, and the dreamy Edwardian fashions of the 1910s that went with it, when Australia’s swaggering super-wealthy contrasted starkly with the rusty tin sheds that passed for international ports along our coastlines in those days. The story is three tales entwined: a steamy, illicit affair between a socialite and a conman, a cursed pearl, and a devastating catastrophe at sea. It explores where Australia’s super wealth came from – gold, pearls and the cattle trade – and those who were robbed in the game. But unlike all my other novels so far, it’s a different force of nature that wins in the end – and one that will haunt the heroes of this story forever.

So, what do you think, friends and universe both? Which story speaks most strongly to you? Which would you like to read first?

Because this is such a strange request, and kind of a fun one too, I’m going to give away a signed copy of Wild Chicory, my latest book, to the reader who comes up with the best and most sparkling reason for their choice – either here on this blog or over on Facebook or Goodreads. I’ll choose the lucky winner on 8 March.

Whatever your thoughts might be on my dilemma – thank you! You will be helping me set my course.

And the winner of the signed copy of Wild Chicory is…Kayla De Rooy! Over on Facebook. I ended up drawing a name from a hat because your answers were all too good.

And the novel I’ll be cracking on with is…the Edwardian steamship adventure. Of course!

Thanks one and all for playing xx