Today I have a very special person on my blog. Not only have I just read her debut book BREAKING THE DROUGHT, which I loved but I have met Lisa Ireland and am lucky enough to call her my friend. Lisa’s new book is a rural romance published by Escape Publishing and tells the story of a city girl gone bush – one of my favourite rural romance tropes. I’ll stop babbling over and hand over to Lisa to tell you all about her inspiration for this great book, but don’t forget to comment at the end of the blog to win a copy of BREAKING THE DROUGHT!
A Fish Called Lisa
In my recent release, Breaking the Drought, city girl Jenna is a fish out of water, struggling to survive a week in a tiny country town.
Poor Jenna, I really put her through the wringer in my story. She has to face some hard realities of country life (and she gets to reap some of the rewards too, of course!) After all I put her through Jenna might be comforted to know that once upon a time I was the new girl in a country town.
As a graduate teacher I was posted to a small school in rural Victoria. I was delighted with my appointment and was sure I would take to country life like a duck to water. After all, I came from farming stock. My dad grew up on a dairy farm not far from my new home. And I’d been holidaying in the country all my life. How hard could the transition be?
Hmm … Apparently weekends being spoilt by my aunt at her country home didn’t adequately prepare me for life away from the big smoke. I had more than one embarrassing moment.
Take for instance the time I ran screaming from the equipment shed because I spied a snake settled amongst the cricket stumps and volley balls. One of the grade six boys comforted me by explaining gently that it was “only a snake” and “he’s probably more afraid of you, Miss, than you are of him.” Yeah right!
Then there was the mousetrap incident. Not long after I moved to Longford there was a mouse plague. I was woefully unprepared for this event. In addition to being afraid of all rodents I’m also terrified of dead things. I tried to deal with the never-ending stream of mice in my house by using those plastic mousetraps that are completely covered so you can’t see what’s inside. But I was too much of a wuss to empty them so I would just put the whole thing in the bin. I was spending an absolute fortune on mousetraps!
When my colleagues discovered this fact I was the butt of staff room jokes for about a month. However, I’m happy to say my co-workers took pity on me and spent some time helping me to “mouse-proof” my house. And they took turns to come by and empty the traps for me too. How’s that for neighbourly love? Eventually my problem was solved for good when I acquired a cat.
I was also teased by my colleagues about a number of other “city girl” quirks, including my penchant for inappropriate footwear and my tendency to run out of petrol on a regular basis. I lived about 20 kilometres from the nearest petrol station. Having come from the city where there’s one on every corner I wasn’t used to planning ahead! Luckily one of the perks of living in a small town is that when you’re in trouble (conked out on the side of the road!) it’s never long before someone you know stops to give you a hand.
Just like Jenna, I was a fish-out-of-water when I first moved to the country from the city, but it wasn’t long before long rural life got under my skin.
I don’t live in Longford anymore, but I’m still a country girl at heart.
Thanks so much for sharing your hilarious stories Lisa. I know there are lots of country-girls-at-heart reading this blog and I hope they’ll read your story and enjoy it as much as I did. Read the blurb below and feel free to share your embarrassing or scary country stories in the comments section.
BREAKING THE DROUGHT Blurb:
When a smooth-talking, sophisticated city girl comes striding into town on her stiletto heels, he’s the last person who wants to notice…
When Jenna McLean gets roped into attending a matchmaking ball in a small country town, she holds no illusions of meeting the man of her dreams. A no-nonsense magazine editor, Jenna doesn’t believe in leaving love to chance, which is why she’s developed Marriage Material – a fool-proof framework for husband hunting. Shearers and farmhands need not apply.
Sheep grazier Luke Tanner has met women like Jenna before, and knows not to waste his time. With the drought dragging on and bushfire season around the corner, the last thing he needs is a spoiled city girl like Jenna adding to his problems. He’ll help out with the ball because it’s good for the community, but he won’t dance, he won’t flirt, and he definitely won’t be matched.
It’s been a long dry season, but everyone knows when it rains, it pours.
Lisa is kindly giving away an e-copy of BREAKING THE DROUGHT to one lucky commenter. Leave your comment before midnight Aussie EST on Monday 28th of July to win!