The Billy's Boiling with Loretta Hill
Hi and thank you for agreeing to come to morning tea or ‘smoko’ with me! It’s really very kind of you to consider joining in, as I’m hoping that this is another method by which we can get all our readers to know more about all our authors!
On my blog we’re having are having a metaphorical cuppa and cake on our farm at Tinamba in Gippsland, Victoria. Imagine, if you will, we're in my kitchen, which is pretty comfortable and welcoming (even if I say so myself ). It’s got an old and battered Baltic pine table (previously the floor of an old woolshed in NSW), hardwood ladderback chairs, there are some gorgeous, old fashioned china mugs sitting ready for our cuppa .
And, of course, ‘the billy’s boiling’…
Away we go ...
At the table with me is Loretta Hill whose latest book is THE GIRL IN THE HARD HAT. I've just explained to Loretta to ignore that huge cloud of smoke billowing up from over yonder in the mountains behind us. It's the local chaps doing a backburn to keep the northern flank of the Alberfeldy-Donnelly's Creek bushfire in the hills. Her eyes are bugging a bit but seeing she's from a bushfire prone W.A., I think she's a okay with it. (I didn't tell her the damn thing has burnt out 72,000ha and affected countless lives. I'm kinda not sure she needs to know that right now.)
Ahem ... Loretta, tell us a little about the book ... and yourself?!
Well, first up I’d just like to thank you for letting me bring my four kids with me. So hard to find a babysitter these days, especially when they discover how many kids are involved. Oh and terribly sorry about your china cups. Hope they weren’t heirlooms. I’ll definitely replace those. Will write cheque before I leave. Promise!
(My poor cups! And they were Royal Doulton …)
Beth stop jumping on the couch!
You know, it’s actually really hard for me sometimes to chat rural romance because I often feel like a bit of a fraud. I’m one of the few rural writers out there that lives in the city and has no intention of moving away from the big smoke. No offence to outback living. I love the lifestyle but I also love my lattes, shopping, cinemas and -
For the love of God, Beth sit down! Thank you!
“Ummm … Loretta? I don’t think she’s on the couch anymore. The crystal lamp-shade is in dire trouble though…” CRASH!!!
As I was saying, my books are about life as a FIFO worker. I was a Fly in, Fly out girl in my early career as an engineer. The experience really inspired me. You basically get the best of both worlds, city and outback, if you know what I mean.
“The Girl in the Hard Hat” is about a woman called Wendy who basically finds out she’s adopted and traces her biological father to the Pilbara. While she’s looking for him she takes a job at the larrikin invested Cape Lambert Wharf which many of my readers first visited in “The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots.” Unfortunately, to follow the trail her father has left behind she will need the help of notorious womanizer Gavin Jones. If you’ll just excuse me for a minute-
Luke can you please not lick the cream out of the biscuits and then put them back on the plate. No one wants to eat those after you’ve done that! Sorry Margareta!
“No worries.” (I think? errrrr, which one didn’t he lick?)
Where was I? Oh yes. Gavin. I loved writing him. He was really difficult to start with but in the end, his character really came together. I wanted to write a sequel to Boots because I felt that I hadn’t explored the Pilbara enough as a setting. Particularly because Boots was set before cyclone season. Hint. Hint.
“Boots? I love that name. It’s a favourite of mine for horses, dogs …”
Hang on… er... Where’s James? Did a little a boy about three years old come in with me. I mean, he must have, I took him out of the car. On the walk up your drive he was so taken with all the farm animals… Oh shit! Can you hold Michael, I think my son might be in your chook pen.
“I seriously hope he’s not. The chook pen floated downstream in the last flood …”
10 minutes later.
Found him! He was actually in the machinery shed but- Oh dear! Did Michael spew on you. Very naughty boy. Yes… well, I can see I’ve outstayed my welcome so I might just quickly answer your questions and then leave.
“Really? Already? Such a shame. No, it’s fine. I really don’t mind if James wants to keep all that grease. It does suit his complexion.”
Thanks for having me and I hope it wasn’t too much of an ordeal!
“Not at all.” (… as she stuffs broken cups followed by lamp shade pieces into the bin, wipes grease off the walls and goes in the hunt for some Napisan.)
Now, the really fun stuff
Latte or Billy Tea?
(She did say she was a city chick)
Country or City?
(I rest my case)
Sea or Trees?
(Must be something to do with Cape Lambert, I’m guessing?)
Morning or Evenings?
(I can understand that with four kids under four! (Loretta, not me)).
Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn?
Spring (Hello Romance!)
(Awww ... beautiful)
Swags or Room Service?
(It's that city thing again)
Horse or Motor Bike?
Hmmm…. Horse, no, motor bike. I’m sorry. I can’t make up my mind here.
(Well, we are females ...)
Books or Shoes?
Urgh! What did I ever do to you to make me choose sides. I can’t do it. I won’t!
(Sassy little thing, isn't she?!)
Jim Craig, Hugh Jackman or Simon Baker (?All of them)?
Finally an easy one! Hugh Jackman Hands Down!
(Mr McDreamy himself ...)
Rodeo or Dinner Party?
(Golly, she’s a bit predictable! C’mon Loretta, I’m sure there’s a cowgirl in you somewhere? How could you write such fan-tabulous books and there not be?)
Dairy / Cropping / Beef / Sheep?
Beef - on the barbie
(Finally! A girl after my own heart)
Which Tractor - Green, Blue or Red?
(Ditto again. We love red around here. Have just bought a Massey Ferguson )
Holden or Ford?
(She’s getting better all round)
Cats or Dogs?
(... and better)
Well, it’s that or an asylum. Which would you pick?
(Seriously??? Some days an asylum would possibly have it’s advantages …)
Writer's Cave or Kitchen Table?
My writers cave is the kitchen! My writing desk is the dining table. It’s noisy but it has coffee and biscuits on tap.
(Sounds perfect, especially the biscuits – although did Luke lick them all too?!)
Book(s) That Changed Your Life?
Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer. After I read it, all I could think was I wish I could write like her.
(I must go back and read a few of Georgette’s books. It’s been a long time.)
Event That Changed Your Life?
All the big ones, graduation, getting married, having babies, getting published. It’s all a great big evolving adventure.
( And a wonderful adventure you’re having too, Loretta, especially with such huge successes on the publishing front.)
Now that THE GIRL IN THE HARD HAT is out, are you working on anything now?
Just started the next book. Looks like I’ve got a bit of triology happening here. Though the third story will be set in Queensland, there are definitely some characters from books 1 and 2 continuing on. That’s the great thing about FIFO. You can put people anywhere and change their lives.
(Sounds exciting. I can’t wait. I am a huge fan of your books. )
Words to Live By?
Never let go of your dreams… or your kids. They might disappear.
(… down the creek in a renegade floating chook pen?)
Thanks for having smoko with me. Until we meet again, I wish you all the very best of luck with your endeavors.
See you next time as she waves goodbye.