By Justin Flynn
Local author Dorothy Johnston will launch the second of her sea-change mystery series next month.
The first of Dorothy’s sea-change mysteries, Through a Camel’s Eye, was published in April last year. The Swan Island Connection was the second in the series and the latest, Gerard Hardy’s Misfortune is Dorothy’s 12th novel.
“It took me about three years to write Gerard Hardy’s Misfortune,” she said.
“I generally have several writing projects going at the same time – short stories and essays as well as novels.
“Then there is the community work I do, for example running writing workshops.”
Dorothy said readers would be able to connect with the characters in Gerard Hardy’s Misfortune.
“I think readers will be intrigued by the Henry Handel Richardson connection,” she said.
“Some may not have realised that the famous author lived in Queenscliff as a small girl.
“My character, Gerard Hardy, comes to Queenscliff hoping to commune with the spirit of Henry Handel (Ethel) Richardson and this other-worldly theme, which is very different from the first two books in my sea-change mystery series, adds spice to the plot.”
Dorothy was born in Geelong and moved to Canberra at the end of the 1970s, where she lived for 30 years.
“I came back to the Bellarine to help care for my mother,” she said.
“My father built our family home, at Point Lonsdale, when I was a teenager. Now I live in Ocean Grove.
“I have always had a very strong affinity with the Bellarine and the years I’ve spent after returning to be with my mother have been years of re-living youthful memories and re-discovering special places.
“My sea-change mysteries have grown out of that.”
Dorothy said local readers would also be able to connect with the setting, the Bellarine Peninsula.
“I have discovered, since beginning the series, that readers love to read about places they know,” she said.
“I use real place names, such as Queenscliff and the Bellarine Peninsula, because I believe this adds authenticity to my stories.
“There is a fashion these days for making up place names in fiction, especially crime fiction, but I don’t agree with that.”
Dorothy has also written a quartet of mysteries set in Canberra, known as the Sandra Mahoney Quartet. The first of these, The Trojan Dog, was joint winner ACT Book of the Year and runner-up in the inaugural Davitt Award.
Two of Dorothy’s literary novels have been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin award.
She has published many short stories and essays in Australia’s newspapers and journals and she reviews fiction for Fairfax Media.
The launch is on Saturday October 26, from 4 pm at the Bay Room, Uniting Church 85 Hesse Street, Queenscliff.
It is a free event but bookings are essential by 4 October.
For details contact email@example.com or 5258 4496.