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Guest blogger: Alissa Callen

18 February 2018

The facts behind the fiction

My latest release, The Red Dirt Road, revisits the small town of Woodlea, known for its yarn-bombing and windmills. While Woodlea is purely fictional, aspects of my real life are woven into my words.

The plot for The Red Dirt Road owes its genesis to a past spring when all it did was rain. Paddocks were saturated, mushrooms grew on our lawn, water tanks overflowed and long-necked turtles were a common sight. There really was a tractor and a ute bogged at a front farm gate for weeks and a large round hay bale that bobbed along in the flooded river that submerged our pumps.

Thanks to my teenage son and his motor bike, when it came to medical material I had a range of injuries to draw upon. Touch wood, there’s been no more emergency department visits. The reduction of medical services and access to specialists continues to be an issue in the country. A baby has been born in the car park of a fast food place in Dubbo because of a two-hour drive to reach the larger regional hospital. Rural crime and illegal trespassing also remain huge community concerns. Gone are the days of leaving the shed and back door unlocked or even farm gates.

After a summer storm I opened our front door to find a young kelpie had found her way to our farm. She wasn’t microchipped and when no-one claimed her we formally adopted her. This real life event was the inspiration behind the mystery dog that features in The Red Dirt Road.

Another real life thread is the DNA component. Without giving too much away of the storyline, I’ve been using DNA to find my wartime paternal grandfather. DNA is fascinating and I have my fingers crossed it will one day lead to the answers that the characters in The Red Dirt Road were able to find.

I hope you enjoy spending time in small town Woodlea again. In February 2019 it will be Tanner’s turn to have his story told. Until then happy reading.

You can find Alissa here: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

The Red Dirt Road

After losing a patient, Dr Fliss Knight returns to small town Woodlea and buys a rundown farm, her confidence and city career in tatters. She intends to live a solitary life and hopes that the slow country pace will help her heal.

Pickup rider Hewitt Sinclair is no stranger to how hairy things can get in a rodeo arena. But when he can’t save the life of his twin brother, he hangs up his spurs. Determined to provide for his brother’s widow and young family, he gives himself no time to grieve. But when a motorbike accident proves he needs to also look out for himself, he accepts an old friend’s invitation to stay at an isolated property while his body heals.

When Fliss meets the cowboy living in the bluestone stables across the garden, all her hopes for a quiet and peaceful life fade. Despite his reserve, Hewitt is impossible to ignore. As they work together to care for an abandoned dog and her puppies they find themselves drawn to each other.

But as a family secret threatens every truth Fliss has ever known, and the heavy spring rain continues to fall, both Fliss and Hewitt must face their deepest fears. Will love be enough to guarantee happiness or will the past refuse to relinquish its dark hold?

You can buy The Red Dirt Road here.

  1. 18 February 2018 6:54 pm

    I like Helen, loved this story and the long paddock …can’t wait for Tanner’s story but know I have to wait until next year 😞

    • Alissa Callen permalink
      19 February 2018 5:51 pm

      Hi Barbara:)

      Am so glad you enjoyed Fliss and Hewitt’s story. Just about to type The End on Tanner and Neve’s book.

      Alissa xx

  2. Alissa Callen permalink
    18 February 2018 12:53 pm

    Hi Helen,

    Thanks so much:) My daughter just got a mini pony today so I’m sure there will be a mini pony somewhere in next book.

    Alissa xx

  3. 18 February 2018 9:56 am

    Hi Alissa

    I have loved both of your stories setcin Woodlea and look forward to Tanner’s story, thank you for the insight into how they came about 😀😀

    Have Fun

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