The story of Winterhued has been with me since the dawn of time; believe it or not, I actually started writing it pre-computer (other people had computers; I was still living in the Middle Ages). The first draft of the manuscript was all handwritten on piles of paper that I’d lug to and from work every day, just in case I got a bit of time to write.
One day I stopped to visit a friend on the way home and when I went to leave later that night, found the car had been broken into and the sole copy of my precious book was gone (along with lots of other stuff). Heartbroken, I drove back to the location next morning thinking my manuscript may have been dumped somewhere. It was a foggy, drizzly day and as I wandered up and down the streets, I actually found a few soggy pages stuck to the footpath or floating in the gutters.
Following the sparse paper-trail, I ended up in St Kilda Cemetery and trudged between the mist-shrouded headstones and monuments, stopping occasionally to peel a sodden page off the path. Eventually I gave up, left a reward sign in the window of a local shop, and drove home. I decided that was it - the end - the book was gone, it was never meant to be, and I wouldn’t do a rewrite.
But those characters kept jostling around in my head; they wanted their story told and they even introduced me to some new friends along the way. One of them, Stench, politely insisted that I completely change the story to accommodate him.
So the rewrite began (on a laptop this time), and progressed at a snail’s pace until I made the move to a country property; there I was hit suddenly by a happy burst of inspiration and creativity and the rest of the novel just flowed. It really was one of the happiest times of my life, and I hope some of that joy found its way into the story!
I was also fortunate to have a driving force in the shape of wonderful author and friend, Cecilia Dart Thornton; her constant prodding, encouragement, and faith in me as an author, were a major reason why this book ever saw the light of day!