BOONAH novelist Tabitha Bird has secured a book deal with Penguin Random House – and she says it is all thanks to Boonah.
Publishers Marketplace yesterday announced the world rights to her debut novel A Lifetime of Impossible Days had been acquired by publishers Penguin Random House.
The former teacher and mother of three said her family moved to Boonah seven years ago.
“It wasn’t just a tree-change,” said Mrs Bird.
“It was a ‘free-change’ – we were leaving the city in search of a simpler, quieter life but for me it was also a very important step in my journey to becoming a published author.”
“I was leaving the city to find out who I was if I stopped being afraid of simply being myself.
“I’d always wanted to live in the country, so living here in Boonah was one of many first steps in becoming more me.”
Ms Bird, 42, said that her novel was many years in the making and her writing came about through her personal experiences of healing from childhood trauma.
“I have always loved storytelling – when I was a little girl I used to tell stories to my little sister,” she said.
“It was something to focus on rather than what was happening in our real lives.
“Writing this novel was a way of finding myself, a way of saving myself. The kind of story that needed to be nurtured in a place that fed my soul. Boonah was this for me.
“During early drafts my story didn’t have a setting so when I moved to Boonah I immediately rewrote my novel to place it here.
“My fictional characters also found a home to love in the middle of this small town.
“I used the landscape, weather, and the seasons to illuminate what was happening for my character’s inner journeys throughout the story.”
Readers who know Boonah will recognize landmarks including a country store called Lublands, based on real-life Maynards Store in High Street.
“The local post office also features prominently, though you may argue that Australia Post is perhaps not quite as magical as it is in my book,” Mrs Bird said.
“In my novel mail can be delivered to any time period and Willa uses the post office to send mail to her past and future selves.”
Mrs Bird said that the project started out as a memoir but she realised she really wanted to separate it from her own experiences and write it as a fiction novel. It does, however, draw deeply from her own personal experiences of healing from childhood trauma.
“My personal journey of finding healing, the journey of writing my book and the journey of my fictional characters have all been profoundly impacted by a simple decision to move to the country,” she said.
“It’s very exciting to have signed the book deal with Penguin Random House and we look forward to the release of A Lifetime of Impossible Days in June 2019.”