Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcome, Margaret Tanner


In Australia the 1860/61 Land Act allowed free selection of crown land. This included land already occupied by the squatters, (wealthy ranchers), who had managed to circumvent the law for years. A similar scheme apparently operated in the US as well.

The Act allowed selectors (small farmers) access to the squatters’ land, and they could purchase between 40 and 320 acres, but after that, the authorities left them to fend for themselves. Not an easy task against the wealthy, often ruthless squatters who were incensed at what they thought was theft of their land.

The Act of Selection was intended to encourage closer settlement, based on intensive agriculture. Selectors often came into conflict with squatters, who already occupied land. The bitterness ran deep for many years, sometimes erupting into violence.

Steele Rudd (a pseudonym for Arthur Hoey Davis 14.11.1868 – 11.10.35), an Australian author wrote a story On Our Selection. He based it on his father’s experience as a selector struggling to make ends meet on a small parcel of land.  It started out as just one chapter published in a magazine in December 1895 and eventually became the basis for Dad and Dave, a popular radio series which ran from 1932 – 1952.

Henry Lawson 1867 – 1922, was born on the gold fields of NSW. Many believed him to be the first poet to capture the Australian way of life. After a childhood ear infection, he was totally deaf by the age of 14, and he grew up to be bitter about his poverty and ill-fortune.

In 1888 he started publishing his stories and poems.

The Fire at Ross’ Farm, was a classic poem about selector versus the squatter.
Robert Black, the squatter’s son, loved Jenny Ross the selector’s daughter.

When Robert tells his father about the bushfire (wild fire) threatening the Ross farm, his father said, and I quote these couple of lines from Henry Lawson’s poem, which I feel epitomise the extent of the hatred and mistrust between the squatters and the selectors.

Then let it burn the squatter said, I’d like to see it done
I’d bless the fire if it would clear Selectors from my run (run is an old, no longer used, Aussie term for ranch).

Frontier Wife, my latest release from The Wild Rose Press, is set against this background.

The heroine’s uncle selected 80 acres for his farm on Adam Muno’s 40,000 acre property.

Tommy Lindsay arrives in colonial Australia to claim the rundown farm she and her brothers have inherited.

Hidden behind her fragile English rose beauty, beats the heart of a courageous young woman. She will need all this strength to survive the unforgiving heat, and the dangers lurking around every corner.  Lost in the bush, capture by a feral mountain family, raging bushfires are nothing, compared to the danger she faces if she gives her heart to wealthy squatter, Adam Munro.

Adam has no room in his heart to love a woman.  All he ever wanted was a presentable wife who would provide him with heirs.   He didn’t need passion in his life, not until he met the beautiful English rose living next door to him.

Only in the new world can a highborn young Englishwoman and a tough frontier man, ignite the passion that will fulfill their hopes and dreams in ways they never imagined possible. 

Note from Ginger:  Although I consider all the people on my blog to be friends, Margaret and I have connected across the miles, and I consider her not only at the top of my friend's list, but she's a favorite author of mine. She's too shy to tell you that she's an award winning author, and has recently been named a finalist in the Readers Favorite Book Reviews and Award Contest. If you read one of her books, I bet you'll have to read them all.  As a matter of fact ONE lucky commenter on Margaret's post will receive a free copy of Frontier Wife.  Get to commenting!


Sloane Taylor said...

Hi Margaret and Ginger!

Thanks for the Aussie history. I never knew about selectors. Your new book sounds great, Margaret. Congratulations.:)

Annette said...

Margaret's work is great. Nice cover on this one too!

Anita Davison said...

Hello again Margaret, your new novel sounds fasinating. The pioneers of Australia is a little written about era and is worth exploring.

Phyllis Campbell said...

Margaret, my dear - what a great post! You are so smart! I love reading your blogs, especially when they teach me something about history.


Rhobin said...

Australia always fascinates me, and I learned more today. Frontier Wife sounds exceptional.
Thanks, Margaret.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ginger,
Sorry I am late, put it down to the differences in our time. I checked your blog at work yesterday (Wednesday) but it was still Tuesday for you guys.

Thank you for inviting me to your blog and for the nice things you said about me. You are too kind my friend.



Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sloane, Annette, Anita, Phyllis and Rhobin.
Thank you so much for dropping by I really appreciate it.



Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Margaret,

I don't know how you come up with these fascinating backgrounds for your books! But I really love your little history lessons. And this confict between the selectors and the squatters sounds like the perfect start for a feisty romance.


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Lisabet,
Thank you for dropping by. I am a bit of history freak, I drive hubby mad sometimes.He particularly hates it when I drag him to old cemeteries in the name of research.



Lilly Gayle said...

Wonderful interview Ginger. And Margaret, your story could have been written about the old west in America. I love the premise and will be adding this book to my must-read list!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Lilly,
Thanks for dropping by. Yes, there are a lot of similarities in Australian and American history.



Ciara Gold said...

Oh this sounds like a book just right for me. Putting this on my tbr list. I've ready several set in Australia and I loved them all. Great interview.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ciara,
Thanks for dropping by. There have been some great books written with Australian settings. We are a very beautiful and diverse country.



Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Rhobin,

You are the winner of an e-copy of Frontier Wife. If you could contact me with your e-mail address that would be great and I can forward it to you.
Thank you to everyone who commented.

Cate Masters said...

Congrats on the release of Frontier Wife, Margaret - sounds like another fantastic read! You always bring the past to life so vividly with rich characters and settings. I love learning about Australia's history. Wishing you much success.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Cate,
Thanks for dropping by I appreciate it.



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