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Guest blogger: Elise McCune

2 July 2017

Thank you for inviting me to the ARRA blog.

I was born in New South Wales, Australia and moved to Perth, Western Australia, where I raised my two children. I worked for ten years in the Western Australian Museum and during this time I travelled to Egypt and stayed in Cairo and Alexandria for an extended visit. I loved Egypt, its people and culture, and its history. I have always been a reader, I wrote short stories, and articles for publication during the years I was raising my children. It was only when I retired, with my children grown and settled, that I found a second career: writing novels!

In 2016 I gained a Certificate of Completion, the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program on fiction writing, centred on female authorial voices and female literary characters. It was a truly inspirational program.

My debut novel, Castle of Dreams, was published by Allen & Unwin. It is a poignant, luminous novel about two sisters, about a mother and daughter, a loved granddaughter, the past that separates them and the healing that comes with forgiveness.

Norwegian publisher Cappelen Damm published Castle of Dreams in translation in April 2017. I was thrilled when they sent me hardback copies in translation with a beautiful new jacket.

I have a fascination for the beautiful landscapes of Australia which I weave through my stories. A sense of place is important to me and I like to explore how characters are shaped by unfamiliar places. I enjoy writing dual narrative stories set in two time periods: the past and the present and I also explore the theme of how the past impacts on the present.

I am currently writing my second novel. One narrative thread is set in south-western Australia and the other in the lovely Tumut Valley in New South Wales, Australia, with several chapters set in 1920s London.

If I have an ability with words it is in storytelling and not literary fiction. In my novels, I take you on a journey with me. I write about love, family secrets, hope and betrayal, although I believe out of these love is more important than anything else. I hope to enchant you with my words.

I receive wonderful letters and emails from my readers, I answer every one, and I am grateful that through my stories I have, in some small way, given people something special.

I will be a speaker at the HNSA Conference, Swinburne University, Hawthorn, Melbourne, on 8–10 September. Visit our website for more information.

Have a lovely day, reading, writing, and dreaming.


You can find Elise here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Castle of Dreams

A ruined castle deep in the rainforest holds a secret that unites three generations of women: two sisters who find themselves in love with the same man as the Second World War rages and, decades later, a young woman determined to uncover the secrets in her grandmother’s hidden past.

Growing up together in a mysterious castle in northern Queensland, Rose and Vivien Blake are both sisters and close friends. But during the Second World War their relationship becomes strained when they each fall in love with the same dashing but enigmatic American soldier.

Rose’s daughter, Linda, has long sensed a secret in her mother’s past, but Rose has always resisted Linda’s questions, preferring to focus on the present.

Years later Rose’s granddaughter, Stella, also becomes fascinated by the shroud of secrecy surrounding her grandmother’s life. Intent on unravelling the truth, she visits the now-ruined castle Rose and Vivien grew up in to see if it she can find out more.

Captivating and compelling, Castle of Dreams is about love, secrets, lies – and the perils of delving into the past …

  1. 4 July 2017 6:25 pm

    Such a beautiful cover; love it!

  2. 2 July 2017 12:35 pm

    hi Elise. I really enjoyed ;Castle of Dreams’ and looking forward to your next story.

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