The accidental author

Rhonda Matheson-Browne is earning praise for her first novel, Bush. (Justin Flynn) 194109

By Justin Flynn

Rhonda Matheson-Browne began writing a novel for therapeutic reasons and never planned to let it see the light of day.

The Ocean Grover was going through a marriage break up and thought she would let her fingers do some healing through a keyboard.

Several years later that novel, Bush, has been published and it is doing well.

“I started writing a novel when my marriage started to fracture so it was my way of dealing a marriage break up so I wrote a psychological thriller,” she told the Voice.

“I was just having fun with it – I wasn’t taking it seriously or anything.

“Last Christmas I finished it and though ‘that’s not bad’, but I didn’t know what to do with it

“A friend in London looked it and sent it to her mate who is a publisher and it got published and it’s done okay.”

Bush is set in the Otways, where Rhonda grew up fishing and hunting in the bush.

Writing has always been a centrepoint of her life.

She was a journalist at the Colac Herald, Townsville Bulletin and Geelong Advertiser before moving into teaching.

“I do some social justice writing on the side for Rural Australians for Refugees,” she said.

Rhonda describes Bush as a “psychological thriller based around a psychopath who is a serial killer” and has almost finished a second novel, a sequel.

“It’s probably a bit gruesome and complicated and parts of it are hard core,” she said.

“I didn’t do it to get it published and I didn’t do it for anyone to read it.

“I told my friends and family because I didn’t care whether they thought it was rubbish but then people have liked it so it’s gone a bit further.

“People say they can’t put it down which is a really nice thing. I think I might be okay at it.”

Rhonda said putting her innermost thoughts out there was the most difficult aspect of writing the novel.

“I’ve always written about other people and their stories and you have that barrier because it’s about them,” she said.

“As journalists it’s about them, not your opinion. It’s their story.

“This is the first time I have written something and you expose yourself and because it was based on me healing I had to talk about that which was hard.

“So this is saying to family and friends, this is not about someone else, this is my own story that’s come from my creative brain which is mind boggling and it’s really humbles you because you think gee I am really exposed myself and people could be saying ‘this is rubbish, you should not be doing this’.”

Bush is available on Amazon and Booktopia and Bookgrove in Ocean Grove and Beach Books Barwon Heads.


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