The Billy's Boiling with Heather Garside

Welcome to the 'Billy's Boiling'.

On my blog we’re having are having a metaphorical cuppa and cake on our farm at Tinamba in Gippsland, Victoria. Imagine, if you will, we're in my kitchen, which is pretty comfortable and welcoming (even if I say so myself smiley). The fire is blazing today (it's cold and woolly outside) making the room nice and cosy. There's a bunch of roses in a vase  (especially put there for my visitor) on my old and battered Baltic pine table (previously the floor of an old woolshed in NSW). Comfy ladderback chairs invite you to take a seat and there are some gorgeous, old fashioned china mugs just waiting for our cuppa .

And, of course, ‘the billy’s boiling’…

[swf file="billyboiling.mp4"]

At the table with me is Heather Garside whose latest book is Breakaway Creek will delight all you rural fiction lovers.

This book was partially inspired by one I read as a teenager, from my mother’s bookcase. A young woman visited a cattle station and fell in love with a stockman, only to discover he was of mixed heritage. Considering the 1950s setting of the novel, (does this give away too much about my age? wink) this presented a huge dilemma for the heroine.

(admin.... Don't worry about the age thing Heather... we're all women of a "certain age" regardless of how "certain"!)

(And me? I'm not even going to go there...)

BREAKAWAY CREEK by Heather Garside

Two city women - a century apart - find love and adventure in the Queensland outback.

Two love stories; two parallel lives; two destinies.

Set in the 19th and 21st centuries, Heather Garside's debut novel is a passionate rural romance of love and its consequences.

Shelley and Emma are separated by time but bound by a dark secret to a place called Breakaway Creek.

A story of racial bigotry and a love that transcends all obstacles takes the reader back to the pioneering days of the 1890s.

What's your favourite cake/slice/bickies/dip for morning smoko?

Pumpkin Sultana Muffins, and I’m pleased to hear a Victorian call it ‘smoko’. I was told that was a Queensland aberration.

(My time on Queensland cattle stations coming out here, Heather. It's always been smoko in this house.

I'm also delighted to see "the Flo Bjelke-Petersen flavour". So Queensland)

Latte or Billy Tea?

I love billy tea around the campfire, but being a versatile sort of girl can’t go past expresso coffee either!

(There's something about that boiling billy, isn't there?)


Country or City?


Definitely country. Wide open spaces, peace and quiet…


(Your family cattle station comes to mind? )

Sea or Trees? 


Trees. Need I say more?


(Nope. I'm right there with you. Although, I reckon you have to be Victorian to appreciate a 'real' tree. Our Mountain Ash are incredible.)


Morning or Evenings?

Morning. Being basically lazy, I don’t usually get up that early, but when I do, the very early morning is beautiful.

(You get some stunning sunsets up there too, I'll bet. A much more civilisied end of the day, hey?)

Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn?

Autumn is the best time in Central Queensland. Not too hot or too cold, green grass if we’ve had a decent wet season, sorghum crops coming into head…

(Oh God, I can feel it all coming back. Glorious autumn days and winters with jumpers off by 10am. You are SO lucky!)

Swags or Room Service?

Both – being versatile as I mentioned earlier.

(A true, clever, country woman.)

Horse or Motor Bike?

Definitely horse, but I can see it being quad bike before I get much older. (Are you getting the idea I’m not a teenager anymore?) 

(I'm sure there'll always be a horse in your life, Heather. As to quad bikes, they're not so bad. Really.)

Books or Shoes?

Is that meant to be boots? Because if it is, definitely boots! Best thing about winter is wearing boots –high boots, ankle boots, whatever!

(LOL ... We have to cater for the more urbanites here too, Heather, although, maybe we could bring them over to the dark side ... the boots I mean.)


Jim Craig, Hugh Jackman or Simon Baker (?All of them)?


Being a country girl of a certain age, I can relate to the inclusion of Jim Craig. Unfortunately my girlish fantasies have been tainted by recent images of Jim with wrinkles and grey hair. I’m not that old! So sorry, Margareta, I’ll have to go with Hugh Jackman.

(YAY! So excited someone has heard of Jim boy! I prefer to hold him in a time capsule. He'll always be the young, handsome, unwrinkled, dark haired dish from the mountains for me ((who's sticking her head in the sand here! blush))

(siteadmin - Good grief... somebody who has heard of Jim Craig... maybe it's an "age thing" .  wink)

Rodeo or Dinner Party?

Dinner party. I’m letting the country side down here – sorry, folks!

(Oh Heather, how could you?! ((Says she who loves a good dinner party herself ))

Dairy / Cropping / Beef / Sheep?

Beef. What else is there? Did you mention dairy and sheep? No way!

(Said like a true Queensland cattle producer)

(siteadmin - Okay M - you're dairy country and I'm sheep country... perhaps we'd better include Alpacas here as well  wink)

Which Tractor - Green, Blue or Red?

What about the yellow ones? Caterpillar rule in Central Queensland! (Just quietly, I like the blue one as it’s smaller and less scary to drive.)

(Damn. I forgot yellow. Apologies!)

Holden or Ford?

Holden of course – says the girl who drives and loves her Toyota Prado!

('I have a Toyota LandCruiser in the drive myself,' she whispers.)

Cats or Dogs?

Both. Meet Rusty, our Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog pup, who lives to chase our cats but invariably comes off second-best.

(Cute. Very cute. He looks like he's saying 'Boots? What boots? Mum, I didn't  steal them!)

Why Writing?

Because I’m absolutely hopeless at sport!


Writer's Cave or Kitchen Table?

Writer’s cave. It’s bloody cold this morning, too.

(Mmmmm... I can definitely relate to the cold.)


Book(s) That Changed Your Life?

The Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer. Before that, any book with a horse in it.

(See previous comment about horses.)


Event That Changed Your Life?

Going to a writer’s workshop in Emerald many years ago.

(Emerald?!  I've had some fun in that town. Oops. I didn't say that ... don't tell my Dad will you?)

Now that BREAKAWAY CREEK is out, are you working on anything now? (What's next?)

It’s rural (of course), set in the 1890s and features a character from two earlier books.  I decided a certain downtrodden lady needed a chance to redeem herself and have a happy ending.

(Beautiful and intriguing. I love the sound of that.)


Words to Live By?


“It matters not that you won or lost -
But how you played the Game."

Adapted from the poem by Grantland Rice





Thanks Heather, for having smoko with me, and for joining in the fun. I hope your new novel flies off the shelves. (It's currently available as an ebook from Clandestine Press (Kobo / Kindle and from their website). Coming soon in paperback format as well.

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