fbook icon 60Interview with Annie Seaton

Annie Seaton 500 

Annie Seaton, bestselling author of Kakadu Sunset, lives near the beach on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.  Her career and studies have spanned the education sector for most of her working life, with the completion of a Masters Degree in Education, and working as an academic research librarian, a high school principal and a university tutor until she took up a full-time writing career. She is now internationally published in ebooks across the romance genre, and in 2014 was voted Australian Author of the Year by romance readers in the AusRomToday.com Readers' Choice Awards. Each winter Annie and her husband leave the beach to roam the remote areas of Australia for story ideas and research.

Annie's newest book, Daintree is about to hit the bookshelves, just in time for the Christmas holidays. I’m delighted to have the chance to chat with Annie today.

1.  Daintree is characterised by a richness of local detail. If I didn’t know better, I’d assume you had lived in Dalrymple all your life. How do you go about creating such an authentic and evocative setting?

Researching a book in the actual environment and living in that setting for a few weeks is essential to me as an author. I am fortunate to write full time, and each winter, am able to travel with my husband to camp and live in the settings that I will use in future books. This enables me to describe my book landscapes in great detail. You can evoke the atmosphere so much more realistically if you have spent time there: the unique fragrances, the feel of the wind on your skin, and the sound of the birds, the waves or the desert wind. The actual essence of a setting is how you experience and feel it through your five senses. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch written well and woven through your character’s perceptions, assist the reader to believe they are there in the story themselves.

A brief excerpt from Daintree is below. Can you smell the pub?

The graceful old building sprawled on the corner on the northern edge of town overlooking the single track railway line where the sugar cane trains chuffed past on their way to the sugar mill west of town. The familiar mix of sweat, spilt beer and stale cigarette smoke— absorbed for years by the timber and the threadbare carpet in the days before it was illegal to smoke in Aussie pubs— hit her like a solid wall. The sour smell mixed with the sweet aroma of sugar cane coming from the skin and clothes of the cane harvesters.

2.  Like Kakadu Sunset, Daintree is a novel which blends disparate elements – mystery, romance and environmental issues. How difficult is it to integrate those threads?

Integrating the threads of a story is one of the best parts of a writing journey for me. I don’t use any software, or paper planning tools, or whiteboards or charts. I think about my story and the various themes that I want to present, and let it all come together in my thoughts over a period of weeks. Somehow the magic of writing delivers each time, and the story melds together as my fingers hit the keyboard. In Daintree, there is suspense, romance, environmental issues as well as the trauma experienced by health care workers and a little bit of alternative medicine too!

3.  Your female protagonist, Dr Ellie Porter has a passion for holistic medicine  and bush remedies. Do you have a particular interest in these areas?

I have always been interested in holistic medicine. In my early career years, I was employed as an information officer in a medical faculty that delivered an innovative course in medical training for doctors, and my interest in holistic medicine was born. As we explored the Australian outback, my interest in aboriginal culture and the facets that make it unique has been intense, and bush medicine is a part of that learning journey for me.

4.  So far, we’ve met two of the Porter Sisters, Ellie and Emma, and I look forward to getting to know Dru in the final book of the trilogy. Did you know from the outset how their stories would unfold?

The only plan I had in place for the subsequent stories were the professions of the sisters – Emma, a doctor, and Dru, an engineer. The settings were also driven by our travels over the past four winters.  Emma ended up in the Daintree Rainforest, and Book 3, yet to be titled, will be the story of Dru’s experiences in a diamond mine in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia. Her story is almost complete and is about to wing its way to my editor.

5. And finally, if Daintree were to be made into a film and you were the casting director, which actors would you choose to play Dr Emma Porter and Dr Jeremy Langford?

Oh, that is such a hard question for me! I watch very little television or movies, and my favourites are all golden oldies. So . . . let me think.

I would choose Australian actors and I can visualise David Wenham as Jeremy, and Claudia Karvan as Emma.

Thank you, Annie, for taking the time to answer my questions today. 
You can read my review of Daintree here. 

Daintree is published by Pan Macmillan Australia and is available from all good bookshops.

Visit Annie's website.

Deborah O'Brien,

29 November 2016

fbook icon 60Review of Annie Seaton’s Daintree

Daintree Cover image cropped

What’s the next best thing to visiting the Daintree Rainforest in person? It’s making a vicarious trip there, courtesy of Annie Seaton’s latest novel, Daintree. The gorgeous cover sets the mood, while the evocative descriptions of tropical birds, perfumed plants and rushing creeks will effortlessly transport you to this Queensland paradise. But even in paradise, there are sinister forces at work, threatening the pristine environment and those who would protect it.

After studying medicine at Sydney University and completing her qualifications in Queensland, Doctor Emma Porter has made a life for herself in the Daintree, practising holistic medicine. She’s even hoping to be chosen as the leader of an Outreach Program, establishing new medical clinics ‘up the Cape’. But just as Emma’s life seems to be settling into a pleasant routine, an old flame turns up in Dalrymple – Sydney doctor, Jeremy Langford, who is about to embark on his own tree change. The problem is that neither Emma nor Jeremy has quite let go of the past.

Over the course of the novel, you’ll become acquainted with a strong supporting cast led by Emma’s endearing bushie friend, George, and the indomitable Wilma Randall, an Aboriginal healer who lives in the heart of the rainforest and has introduced Emma to bush remedies. You’ll also meet Troy Greaves, the manager of the Rainforest Centre, who shares her interest in preserving the local flora and fauna. And there’s also a burly police constable by the name of Craig Anderson, who has been making a nuisance of himself with our Emma, and a supercilious pharmacist called Jock Newby, who considers her approach to medicine to be little more than quackery.

Meanwhile, the rainforest is under threat from human greed. And when George stumbles upon something suspicious, things become very nasty indeed. As the suspense intensifies, you’ll find yourself frantically turning the pages to find out exactly what’s going on and who’s responsible.

Annie Seaton Kakadu Sunset cover 480Like Annie’s previous novel, Kakadu Sunset, Daintree seamlessly blends romance and mystery to create a gripping story. In both books, the settings are so lovingly and vividly described that they become characters in their own right.

I recommend that you pack Daintree in your beach bag this summer – you’ll find it hard to put down. And I’m looking forward to the final book in the Porter Sisters trilogy – Dru’s story – in 2017.

Read my exclusive interview with Annie here.

Daintree is published by Pan Macmillan Australia and is available from all good bookshops.


Visit Annie's website.

Deborah O’Brien

29 November 2016


fbook icon 60‘The Rarest Thing’ Playlist

Beatles LP

My battered copy of The Beatles' 1966 'Revolver' album

The music that fills our childhoods stays with us our entire lives, the lyrics and melodies of that era embedded in our brains. The songs from the mid-Sixties have played that role for me, and they will always be my favourites for the nostalgia they evoke.

When I was writing ‘The Rarest Thing’, a story set fifty years ago, right at the height of the ‘Swinging Sixties’, there was always a CD playing in the background – the Beatles, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, the short-lived but brilliant Mamas and Papas, the Beach Boys and many more.

Some of my favourite songs and their performers are referenced in the book, but no lyrics are included because getting permission is a copyright nightmare. Sometimes though, just the title is enough to create the mood.

If there’s one song that sums up the spirit of the Sixties, I think it’s Paul Simon’s ‘Feeling Groovy’ (‘The 59th Street Bridge Song’). I didn’t allude to it in the book only because I thought it might be pushing the Sixties references too far to include a song whose title contains one of the ‘in’ words of the era. Does anyone say ‘groovy’ nowadays, or ‘outta sight’, for that matter?

If you’ve read my article called ‘The Beatles and Me’ (http://www.deborahobrien.com.au/index.php/blog/12-blog/151-blog-the-beatles-and-me), you will know that I adored the Beatles, and particularly Paul McCartney. In 1966 I also had a fleeting but intense crush on Scott Walker, to the extent that I glued his picture inside the lid of my little suitcase (yes, that’s what we did in those days) over the top of Paul McCartney (sorry, Sir Paul). Tony Worsley was another big crush. Likewise, all four Monkees who made my little heart zing whenever I watched their TV show – they were the first made-for-TV boy band.

Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’’ topped the charts for weeks in 1966 and inspired a fad for white boots like the ones she wore with her mini-skirt in the TV clip. I begged my mum to buy me a pair but she said I was too young. ‘When you’re thirteen, I’ll get you the boots,’ my mother promised. But by then white boots were ‘out’ and they never came back into fashion. Ever since, I must have hankered for white boots on some deeply subconscious level because they found their way into my manuscript and kept turning up as the book progressed. One of my editors wanted me to remove the white boot references - she couldn’t see the point. I responded by saying, ‘Those boots are wish-fulfilment, they need to stay.’ Besides, for me they epitomise 1966!

Here is the soundtrack to ’The Rarest Thing’, together with some other personal favourites circa 1966, in no particular order.


‘Good Vibrations’                                                  The Beach Boys

‘Good Day Sunshine’                                            The Beatles

'Wishin’ and Hopin’                                             Dusty Springfield

‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ ’                Nancy Sinatra

‘The Look of Love’                                                Burt Bacharach

‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’                                Cilla Black

‘The More I See You’                                           Chris Montez

‘Homeward Bound’                                              Simon and Garfunkel

‘As Tears Go By’                                                    The Rolling Stones

‘Eleanor Rigby’                                                     The Beatles

‘Monday, Monday’                                               The Mamas and Papas

‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’            The Walker Brothers

‘59th Street Bridge Song: Feeling Groovy’       Simon and Garfunkel

‘I Hear a Symphony’                                            The Supremes

‘Friday on My Mind’                                            The Easybeats*

‘Raining in My Heart’                                          Tony Worsley*

‘I’m a Believer’                                                      The Monkees

‘Twilight Time’                                                      Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs*

‘Bus Stop’                                                               The Hollies

‘Spicks and Specks’                                              The Bee Gees*

‘The Carnival Is Over’                                          The Seekers*

‘Trains and Boats and Planes’                            Dionne Warwick

‘What Now, My Love?                                          Sonny and Cher

‘Sunday Afternoon’                                               The Kinks

‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me’               Dusty Springfield

‘We Can Work It Out’                                           The Beatles

*Australian or British/Australian performers


What do you think? Was 1966 popular music’s best year ever? If you were there, what was your favourite song and who was your favourite singer or band?

Deborah O’Brien
10th November 2016


Crafting Characters

Guest Post for Hey Said Renee

Grey possum 

How do you come up with your characters? That’s a question people often ask me. I wish I could tell them I compile meticulous character cards before I start writing and that I make a detailed plan indicating exactly what will happen to my characters over the course of the book. 

That would be a logical and sensible approach to characterisation, but I have to plead guilty to doing the exact opposite. No cards, no plans, no details. Just an initial idea around which to build a character. It could be a mannerism, an accent, a personality trait or even a job. It might be a combination of those things but at the outset it’s always woolly and ill-defined.

Read more at the Hey Said Renee website.

Welcome to ‘The Rarest Thing’ Blog Tour

 Cover Inside Front cropped500

Join these Australian book bloggers from 24 October as they review ‘The Rarest Thing’.  

Links will appear as the reviews come online.


Monday, 24 October              Kensington Review: Chris McGuigan

Tuesday, 25 October              Annie Seaton
Cover 3DBook Image TRT

Wednesday, 26 October        Duffy the Writer

Thursday, 27 October            Reading, Writing and Riesling

Tuesday, 1 November            Kay Wiggins

Wednesday, 2 Nov.                Mrs B's Book Reviews

Thursday, 3 November          J. F. Gibson

Friday, 4 November               Booklover Book Reviews

Saturday, 5 November           Ink Ashlings

Plus Guest Posts on these websites:

                                                    Hey Said Renée

                                                    Annie Seaton

Goodreads review                   Shelagh Merlin


                                    BUY THE GIFT EDITION PAPERBACK NOW




Home in the Highlands blogs