Storm Season is my second novel. Other writers talked about second novels being tougher than first novels. So when I planned this book I decided to stack the deck in my favour. I set the novel among people and places I know well. The book’s full of big wilderness views, indie music, Sydney’s quirky neighbourhoods, vintage clothes.
Of course, not everyone’s Australian. So part of that means I want to bring readers from other parts of the world into the experience of living here.
My copyeditor, cheers to her long-suffering heart, had a few notes that boiled down to “you need to describe this”. I was stunned. How can you describe kookaburras! Kookaburras just are, the same way eagles and squirrels are. But I trust this woman and thought about kookaburra’s squat creamy brown bodies and deadly beaks. I don’t think I described their laugh, some things are too ridiculous to seem true.
But this is what it’s like to live in Sydney.
- The bird noise (song is too kind a word for most of our squawkers). Even in the city you wake to a constant tweeting chirping screeching. Between the dear warbly call of currawongs and the pterodactyl screech of cockatoos are the cheeps of the mynahs and the caws of the magpies. And we have laughing kookaburras. Whenever I come home from far away, the noisy birds are an early indicator that I’m here.
- The sky is bright and blue and everyone wears sunglasses and sunscreen. There’s a big old hole in the ozone layer. You can burn.
- The eucalypts, their pale trunks and sharp smell and the blue green haze on the mountains when you can see that far.
- The hot summer winds with bushfire in them. The cold winter winds with snow we’ll never see. They twine about the buildings.
- The lined up terrace houses with their crooked balconies and narrow rooms.
- Corner pubs with ratty furniture and a juke box and a bunch of old guys who get there at ten to drink beer and bet on the ponies.
Really you should come visit. The place has its flaws but it has its charms.