After a couple of years working in a privileged private school, Lucy Francis yearns for adventure. So when she hears about a job teaching four children on a massive cattle property in North Queensland, she decides to throw caution - and her teaching job - to the winds.
When Lucy arrives at Charlotte's Creek Station she finds a family in crisis. To make matters worse, the four children she's been charged with educating are very spirited, not always cooperative, and dismally behind in their schooling.
To Lucy, the only person who seems to be keeping Charlotte's Creek afloat is the family's gruff stockman, Ted. With his support and encouragement Lucy throws herself into the day-to-day activities of the station and makes excellent progress with the children.
Though Lucy and Ted's feelings for each other grow, Ted can't see any future for them because of his lack of prospects. As the family divisions at Charlotte's Creek prove insurmountable and the property looks set to be put on the market, Lucy faces returning to the city and leaving Ted behind...
By the betselling author of Redstone Station, this is the story of a strong young woman stepping into the unknown, trying to make things work, and finding love.
Therese Creed grew up in Sydney, one of nine children. From an early age she loved horses and a dream of one day living in the bush. After leaving school she became a primary school teacher for four years before deciding to take a break and spend some time riding a trail from Victoria to Queensland. During a 5-month pit-stop she met a local farmer, Cedric Creed, who joined her riding further north to Cooktown. After marrying Cedric Therese became involved in the running of the family cattle station. She now knows a fair bit about fighting fires, pulling windmills, driving trucks and tractors, shoeing horses and fencing. She now divides her time between helping out on the station and bringing up her four young children. Her first novel, Redstone Station, was a bestseller.
Allen and Unwin
Author: Therese Creed
Question: What can you tell us about Charlotte's Creek?
Therese Creed: My new book, -Charlotte's Creek' is set on an expansive North Queensland cattle property inland from Ingham. While it will be classed as a Rural Romance, I prefer to think of it as a bush story about a whole family, the Wests, complete with three generations, and a study of the complexities of life and relationships on the land when they are tied up with property and business. The main character Lucy heads bush to escape the rat race of Sydney, and in taking on the position as governess to the four young children at Charlotte's Creek, unwittingly throws herself into the family's turmoils. Lucy also encounters a variety of bush men, ranging from the amiable and over-friendly, to the downright surly, and finds herself falling, most unexpectedly, for an unlikely gentleman.
As in my first novel, -Redstone Station', I have attempted to paint a realistic picture of remote rural life in the contemporary world, without romanticising it or softening it too much. I have tried to carry the reader into the world of Charlotte's Creek, capture the small day to day occurrences, as well as the grand endeavour of the history of the place. I have tried to illustrate the uniqueness and skilled nature of the work on a large property such as Charlotte's Creek, which requires so much more than driving through the paddocks, cracking whips and sipping tea on the veranda.
Question: Did people in your own life inspire the character of Lucy Francis?
Therese Creed: My characters, while not based on actual individuals, are very much a combination of people that I have met on properties around Queensland. Lucy, is from Sydney and is very green when it comes to bush life (much as I was myself before marrying a farmer in 2005).
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from your real life?
Therese Creed: Nearly all of my inspiration comes from our day to day life on a cattle property. Most of the events in both my novels have happened either to myself or someone I know. I have tried to capture some of the routine occurrences with cattle work, dogs, chooks and horses, that to a bush person might seem unremarkable, and make a story out of them to give a city reader a vicarious experience of station life. In Charlotte's Creek I also deal with the issue of family succession of property, and some of the pitfalls associated with it, that can tear rural families apart. We survived our own family succession in 2007, and learnt a great deal in the process. I have seen many other rural families struggling with the problem of succession, and based the plight of the West family in the novel on a variety of these.
Question: The best thing about books is...
Therese Creed: ...that they have the power to transport the reader into a totally unknown setting, and feel a part of it. A reader can walk in the shoes of a person very different to themselves, and truly empathise with that person. Science, news reports and facts inform us, but that information often comes in one ear and goes out the other. Stories inspire, touch hearts and can even compel a reader into action as a result of reading them.
Question: Will your next book follow the same theme?
Therese Creed: My next book is again set in cattle country, but my leading lady is not a -good' as Lucy or Alice. She has been damaged by an unhappy childhood and her life takes on new meaning when she finds herself on a large remote property with a gruff old man and a young recluse, who is even more of a misfit than she is.
Interview by Brooke Hunter