I love being an Australian. I definitely think that we are one of the lucky countries and that God has blessed us. But it didn’t always feel that way when I started writing.
Not long after I finished the first draft of my first novel, I went seeking feedback and I found it on a site called Inkpop. It was a great place where other writers would post their works so you could provide feedback, and they in turn would give feedback on yours. The site was directly linked to a big six publisher and so they also had their editors come and do live chats in the forums.
I managed to get myself online for one of the online chats and excitedly put my question forward, which was something along the lines of “What do you think about stories set in Australia?” I was devastated at his response. Basically he felt only stories set in the US or UK sold well, though he did add that an amazing story would shine through.
I was gutted. My thoughts were (and still are) that teenagers think more globally and want to know about more cultures than just US and UK.
Fast forward a few years and I know have my story published. One of the main positive feedbacks I get is on SLEEPER how Australian it is. People love the setting, love the language and the new concepts their being introduced to, like Schoolies and Gap Year.
If my stories are set on earth then I want to set them in Australia, unless the story demands otherwise. One of the best pieces advice people give authors is to write what you know, and I know Australia. So I choose Brisbane, Mackay, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Emerald as places where I set my stories.
The only exception is a story I am co-writing with a friend as she wanted a US setting and the story definitely works better there.
Stories set in Australia are starting to break through. And the industry is starting to change their views on location. Beautiful Malice is evidence of this.
I will continue to fly the flag for Australian settings and chant Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi to show my support for the Australian publishing industry.