Allen and Unwin is going to publish my new book!! I'm thrilled, particularly considering how hard it is to get book contracts in this difficult book market. I first read about the protagonist, Louisa Collins, in "Fifty crimes that shocked Australia" and found it an intriguing story. From the research I have done, I am already addicted. Similarly to Thunderbolt and the subjects covered in my previous books, I have discovered that much of the information published in other works about Louisa Collins - mainly articles or chapters in crime books - is wrong. As usual, I will go back to the original records and let the records reveal the truth about this fascinating historical character. It will be available late in 2014.
After no interviews for five months, I've had three radio interviews in the last two-and-a-half days. Very odd! The first was on Radio National on Sunday morning about teaching history in secondary schools and was with another historian, Dr Anna Clark, from UTS. The producer who sought my involvement mentioned that she had read an article in the Australian in 2008 about an interview with me, in which I stated that history should be a detective hunt, that students studying chemistry undertake chemistry experiments, that students studying literature read literature, that students studying music listen to and play music but that for some reason students studying history merely read what other historians write rather than "doing" history themselves. The producer obviously found this interesting and kept the article. What prompted the radio interview now is that the National History Curriculum is supposed to be implemented next year. In the interview itself, I mentioned that there is a paradox in society, that the numbers of students studying history in high school is diminishing with students continually saying that it is "boring", yet that a sub-branch of history - that is, genealogy - is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world. Why? While many genealogists begin because of a curiosity about their forebears and where they themselves came from, they soon become enthralled by the detective hunt. It is intoxicating and addictive. Anna was on the same page. From her interviews with teachers and students, she had determined that the children who most enjoyed history were those with a teacher who was passionate about history and who was getting them to practice history.
My second interview was with ABC Country NSW about the Thunderbolt heritage listing. Hopefully we will hear soon if the Minister responsible has approved the submission to list four sites as of maximum significance: Thunderbolt's Rock near Uralla, Blanch's inn near Thunderbolt's Rock (the scene of his last robbery), Kentucky Creek where he died, and his grave in Uralla. As the most successful bushranger in Australian history - if bushranging longevity is used as the yardstick for success - Thunderbolt is a particularly important historical figure. Bushrangers were Australia's first folk heroes and they became - essentially - the voice of the people at a time when the rural community had little political voice.
My third interview was with Eastside Community Radio in Sydney as I am giving a talk on my book Captain Thunderbolt and his Lady at Randwick Library on Saturday.
My decision to write Captain Thunderbolt and his Lady came out of a phone call with my publisher at Allen & Unwin. In May 2009, I rang her to tell her that there was Hollywood film interest in Breaking the Bank - but of course I wouldn't hold my breath! She then asked me what I was thinking about writing next and suggested that I find a strong female character. I mentioned "female bushranger" and it went from there.
Hearing nothing further, I assumed that the interest had died away - until I met up in November last with the man pursing the concept. He communicated his ideas for the story, which I thought were great. Again I heard nothing further until yesterday when I was told, second hand, that he had mentioned it to some of his colleagues in Hollywood and that there was definite interest, that my books translated easily into films and that there was money around to do so.
I still won't hold my breath!!
This blog covers anything on the horizon of author, historian, genealogist and speaker, Carol Baxter.