AWW Feature: Why I Like the Country Romance Genre by Margareta Osborn

I am pleased to welcome Margareta Osborn to Book’d Out.

She graciously agreed to participate in my  Australian Women Writer feature and I am glad to introduce her debut novel, Bella’s Run. An entertaining and heartwarming country romance, Margareta introduces Bella Vermaelon and her best friend Patty, two fun-loving country girls bonded in sisterhood no blood could ever beat. They are coming to the end of a road trip which has taken them from their family farms in the rugged Victorian high country to the red dust of the Queensland Outback.  For almost a year they have mustered cattle stations, cooked for weary stockmen, played hard at rodeos and danced through life like a pair of wild tumbleweeds. And with the arrival of Patty’s brother Will and Bella’s cousin Macca, it seems love is on the horizon too.. Then a devastating tragedy strikes, and Bella’s world is changed forever.  So she runs from the only life she has ever known. But can she really turn her back on the man she loves? Or on the land that runs deep in her blood? You can read my review of Bella’s Run by clicking HERE.

A fifth-generation farmer, Margareta grew up on her family’s historic dairy farm in Gippsland, Victoria, the middle child of three. She completed her HSC and left Gippsland for the bright lights of Melbourne only to jump on a home-bound country train three months later muttering, ‘You can take the girl from the country, but not the country from this girl.’ She didn’t return to the city, preferring paddocks, mountains and billy-tea to pavements, tall buildings and lattes. Her first writing success was with a ‘Story in 50 Words’ where, in her teens, she won a dictionary and thesaurus. These tools of the trade, preciously stored, were to prove invaluable when she finally sat down  twenty or so years later, to pursue a life-long dream of writing a novel.  Bella’s Run was the outcome. Margareta lives with her husband and three children on a property in rural Victoria. Now a full-time farmer and author, over the years she has also worked as, among other things, a farmhand, station cook, governess, farm manager, fire & rescue admin officer, petrol pump attendant, waitress, radiography typist, station gardener, checkout chick, bank officer, vegetable grower and milked the odd cow or two – none of which taught her how to write but gave her plenty of ideas on what to write about. In her spare time, Margareta writes a regular page for the Gippsland Country Life magazine; is an active volunteer firefighter; cooks cakes; reads books; adores water and snow skiing; rides motorbikes and occasionally a horse; loves four-wheel-driving into the remotest places  she and her family can find; sometimes arranges flowers and sporadically makes a quilt. She would also like to learn how to grow good lucerne hay, mark her own calves and walk in killer high-heels.

Her second book, Cry of the Currawong, is due for release in March 2013.

Why I like the country romance genre.

I’m a fifth generation farmer from East Gippsland in Victoria, and my home sits in the shadow of the mighty and rugged Great Dividing Range. My family has lived and farmed in this valley for 150 years.

The same mountains that guard our home, and indeed Gippsland as a whole, have inspired many a poem, tale and movie. Such literary and cinematic works are usually portrayed in such a way as to make life on the land seem romantic, aside from just darned hard work.  Such projects include one of the most famous poems in Australian folklore, which then became a movie of the same name, The Man from Snowy River.  My, how I wished at the time of that feature film, I was Sigrid Thornton, and Jim Craig was my beau. The way the man battled against all the odds, to win his woman, the respect of his fellow mountain men, along with the Colt from Old Regret, made most women watching at the time swoon. What a country romance! What an intoxicating story of love and courage in the bush! How I wished I were the one on that horse being so soundly kissed by the handsome and sexy Jim.

My love for reading about life on the land was born when I was twelve years old. It was then I discovered the Billabong novels written by Mary Grant Bruce. I spent many hours in the shade of a tractor wheel, while watering trees on our dairy farm during the 1980s drought, reading the series. Book after book, adventure after adventure, I fell for Wally, wished I were Norah and adored the wide-open brown land that was their playground, and the station life they lived.

Roll on ten years and Di Morrissey published The Heart of the Dreaming. With the heroine a cattle station owner, the hero a sexy stockman, and an outback context that became almost a character in itself, the book enraptured me. I realised this was the modern take on Grant Bruce’s rural novels, with a ramped up romantic flavour. Not only was the hero of my dreams splayed across the pages for me to devour in this kind of book, but the rural landscape, the backdrop on which the drama of the novel was played out, was somewhere I could imagine myself to be. My love for the rural romantic saga novel was confirmed.

Rural life is what I was born to, what I live, what I dream about. I see it, I smell it, and I work at it everyday.  The land is part of my heart and soul, with my country roots so deeply embedded in the soil of this beautiful valley, I know I am bound to that dirt until I die. One hundred and fifty years of family history on one property does that to you. And having lived and worked on the land all my life, travelling from East Gippsland to outback Queensland, I especially adore novels that take our incredibly diverse and unique landscape and turn it into a character in its own right. To take the dusty outback, the rugged mountain ranges, or the wide open brown plains and make them an integral part of the story ensures a read which will totally absorb me into a world I love. Throw a sexy stockman into the mix and I am indeed in heaven.

So this is what I set out to do with my novel Bella’s Run. They tell you to write what you know. I know about the country because it’s what I am, what I do, what I live. I know a bit about romance and love too – I’m a girl aren’t I? And I simply adore the idea of becoming the heroine for a while and thus when the happily ever after comes at the end of the book, I want to be wrapped in the arms of the cowboy/mountain cattleman/farmer I have grown to love through the life of the novel.

I heard Di Morrissey speak two decades ago and made a promise to myself. I too would one day write this type of book. I wanted to write what I loved to read, an authentic rural saga novel bursting with love for life on the land and romance. And I have done this in my novel, Bella’s Run. For through my books, I want readers to experience the incredible life that we country people are privileged to have. To travel in their minds to the dusty outback and those rugged mountain ranges, with a sexy ‘Man from Snowy River’ and a strong, beautiful heroine called Bella.

I want others to read a story they’d love to live.

Learn more more about  Margareta Osborn at

Website I Facebook I Twitter

Bella’s Run is Available to Purchase

Australia:  Via Random House Australia I @ BoomerangBooks I @ Booktopia I @Readings

International: @Amazon {Kindle}

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Australian Bookshelf
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 17:34:24

    Sounds like Bella’s story has come from a special place for the author. I really love the rural romance genre and it seems like there are quite a lot of debut Aussie authors coming out of the woodwork and finding success in this genre!
    All the best with Bella’s run, Margareta and thanks for the AWW feature Shelleyrae
    Jayne

    Like

    Reply

  2. Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 10:40:08

    What a wonderful guest post. Margareta’s love of the country comes through so clearly here–and in her book as well. I love that it’s almost an ode to rural living.

    Like

    Reply

  3. Denise Imwold
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 07:01:03

    Thanks, Margareta! I’d like to check out Bella’s Run, and the ‘country romance’ genre in general. Wishing you lots of success with your novel.

    Like

    Reply

  4. Margareta Osborn
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 09:44:15

    Thankyou so much for having me as a guest, Shelleyrae. I thoroughly enjoyed writing the blog post. To Jayne, Stephanie and Denise, thank you also. Your good wishes are very much appreciated.

    Like

    Reply

  5. Natalie Benson
    May 16, 2012 @ 08:12:57

    What a fantastic book when is the next one due out can’t wait she has me intrigued like Fiona Palmer.

    Like

    Reply

  6. Trackback: AWW Feature: Q&A with Kathryn Ledson « book'd out

I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s