AWW Feature & Extract: Deborah O’Brien and Mr Chen’s Emporium

I am pleased to feature debut novelist, Deborah O’Brien at Book’d Out today.

Deborah O’Brien is an Australian writer, visual artist and teacher. Although she was born and educated in Sydney, she has strong family links to rural New South Wales via her father and her maternal grandmother and their forebears.

For as long as she can remember, Deborah has been fascinated by words. When she turned eight, her mother gave her twenty cents’ pocket money, expecting her to spend it on lollies. Instead, she saved up the weekly windfall until she could afford a ‘Pocket Oxford Dictionary’. At home she wrote and illustrated little magazines to entertain her family. At school, she filled the back pages of her exercise books with romantic stories and drawings of the heroines.

In her French and German courses at university Deborah discovered the writers who would become lifelong favourites – Fontane, Flaubert and Alain-Fournier. After graduating, she worked as a high school teacher. When her son was born, she began a new career at home, as an artist and author of art and design books, writing under her married name. Before long, she found herself teaching painting seminars in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and France. She also contributed articles to a variety of lifestyle and general interest magazines. It wasn’t until several years ago that she started to write fiction again, encouraged by her mother who had always believed she should write a novel.

Deborah, her husband and son divide their time between Sydney and a country cottage on the banks of a spring-fed creek frequented by platypus. There she writes at an old mahogany desk, sketches in pen and ink, tends her lavender garden, and dreams of owning a small herd of alpacas.

Mr Chen’s Emporium is an enchanting tale of forbidden love and following one’s heart… In 1872, seventeen-year-old Amy Duncan arrives in the Gold Rush town of Millbrooke, having spent the coach journey daydreaming about glittering pavilions and gilded steeples. What she finds is a dusty main street lined with ramshackle buildings. That is until she walks through the doors of Mr Chen’s Emporium, a veritable Aladdin’s cave, and her life changes forever. Though banned from the store by her dour clergyman father, Amy is entranced by its handsome owner, Charles Chen …In present-day Millbrooke, recently widowed artist Angie Wallace has rented the Old Manse where Amy once lived. When her landlord produces an antique trunk containing Amy’s intriguingly diverse keepsakes – both Oriental and European – Angie resolves to learn more about this mysterious girl from the past. And it’s not long before the lives of two very different women, born a century apart, become connected in the most poignant and timeless ways.

Today I am honoured to be able to share  the first chapter  of  Mr Chen’s Emporium with my readers. My review of Deborah O’Brien’s debut will be published later today.

View this document on Scribd

Available To Purchase

@Random House Australia I @BoomerangBooks I @Booktopia I @Amazon Kindle

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Review: Mr Chen’s Emporium by Deborah O’Brien « book'd out

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