Paperbark Hill Interview with Author Maya Linnell

Paperbark Hill Interview with Author Maya Linnell

A pitch-perfect rural romance from the bestselling author of Magpie's Bend.

Diana McIntyre and her four boys have had a tough eighteen
months but with the love and support of her family, she believes their lives are finally back on track. Diana's dream of starting a flower farm has been the perfect diversion, with an elderly dahlia expert showing her the ropes. She won't have to do this alone.

Locum pharmacist and single dad Ned Gardiner hasn't called
Victoria home for years. However his father's death forces Ned to return to the family farm, a place that holds few happy memories for him. Dealing with his estranged mother and sorting his father's affairs, he plans on leaving as soon as possible, but what will it take for Ned to put down roots? With six children between them, can this pair juggle families, farms and the possibility of a blossoming romance?

Paperbark Hill
is the final story about the McIntyre sisters, following Wildflower Ridge, Bottlebrush Creek and Magpie's Bend. 'When a new Maya Linnell novel lands in the office, we pretty much draw the curtains and shut up shop until it's read.' - Australian Country on Magpie's Bend

About Maya Linnell:

From country show baking to raising orphaned lambs, bestselling author Maya Linnell writes about the life she lives and loves. A keen bookworm, wannabe flower farmer and former rural journalist, Maya also hosts a monthly online show called Library Lovers, for the digital app Libby OverDrive. She lives in rural Victoria with a menagerie of animals, sweeping gardens, three young bookworms and the odd tiger snake or three.


Paperbark Hill
Author: Maya Linnell
Allen & Unwin
RRP: $29.99

buy this book 


What originally inspired the idea of Paperbark Hill?

Since starting our own garden from scratch, I've become obsessed with dahlias and roses, and have more than 100 varieties of each in my big country garden. My family weren't quite as excited about my suggestion of starting a flower farm as I'd hoped, so instead I'm living vicariously through my character Diana McIntyre as she sets up a micro-flower farm in Paperbark Hill.


What research did you do, prior to writing Paperbark Hill?

I've been feeding my gardening habit with a steady diet of flower farming podcasts (Dish The Dirt is my favourite). My social media feed is chockablock with both micro-flower farm accounts (see Florelie Flowers, Fleurs_de_Lyonville and Gather Flower Farm, and major commercial flower farms (see Floret Flowers in America). Most of my fact checking takes place after I've written the first draft. Research for Paperbark Hill covered everything from the uniform of NT park rangers and alcoholism to cremation arrangements, premier cricket squads and the timeframe of weaning kittens.

How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?

Plenty! I love weaving fact with fiction to come up with authentic characters dealing with relatable and realistic issues. I named a cat in the book after a friend's beloved pet, my kids create regular mischief that I can channel into Diana's twins Harry and Elliot, and there's local place names sprinkled throughout the story.

What did you learn, about yourself, whilst writing Paperbark Hill?

It never works to jam seventy billion plots into one manuscript, and while my habit of trying to cover ALLLLLLL the ideas is fun and ambitious in the first draft, it gives me a big headache in the editing stage.

What's the main message you hope readers take from Paperbark Hill?
That sinking your hands into the dirt is an accessible form of therapy for anyone, young or old, wealthy or not, city or country. Whether you're good with plants or a complete novice, nature brings us joy in so many forms. The promise of better seasons ahead, the value of patience and the reward for hard work, just to name a few. I also hope they finish with a smile, a craving to bake and an appreciation for country life!


What or who inspired your love of reading/writing?

My folks always encouraged my siblings and I to read and were forever putting books in our hands as children. A wonderful world opened up when I discovered libraries, and to this day I rarely leave the house without a book.

What's next, for you? After four books set in Victoria, I'm venturing across to South Australia's famous Coonawarra wine region for my fifth manuscript. Readers can expect to meet a completely new cast of rural characters in winter 2023. I'm also excited to be heading up a new online initiative called Library Lovers for the digital app Libby OverDrive, talking all things books, baking, gardening and libraries with guests every month on Zoom for libraries across Australia.






Find Maya online

Instagram and Facebook @maya.linnell.writes