July 31, 2011

Aussie Author Margaret Tanner

THE ACT OF SELECTION.

 Hi Anna Kathryn, lovely to be here with you. Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog.

Today I would like to write about how the Act of Selection ties in with Frontier Wife, my novel from The Wild Rose Press.

I am happy to say that Frontier Wife is now one of my most successful novels. It has received some great reviews and was chosen as Best Historical Romance at Readers Favourite 2010. Very thrilling, as I also got the chance to travel to Las Vegas for the Awards banquet. But in the beginning Frontier Wife had a very bad start in life. The first publisher who took my baby on board, unfortunately, went out of business. To say that was gut-wrenching is an understatement. It was picked up by a second publisher and sadly that didn’t pan out either. Perseverance is my second name, so I tried it with a third publisher, The Wild Rose Press, and well, let’s say the rest is history.

In the colony of Victoria the 1860 Land Act allowed free selection of crown land.  This included land already occupied by the squatters, (wealthy land owners) who had managed to circumvent the law for years.

The Act allowed selectors access to the squatters’ land, and they could purchase between 40 and 320 acres of crown land, but after that, the authorities left them to fend for themselves. Not an easy task against the wealthy, often ruthless squatters who were incensed at what they thought was theft of their land.

The 1861 Act of Selection, which is similar to the U.S. Homested Act was intended to encourage closer settlement, based on intensive agriculture. Selectors often came into conflict with squatters, who already occupied land and had often managed to circumvent the law to keep it.

And the bitterness ran deep for many years, sometimes erupting into violence.

On Our Selection by Steele Rudd (a pseudonym for Arthur Hoey Davis 14.11.1868 – 11.10.35), was his best known work. He based it on his father’s experience as a selector.  It started out as just one chapter published in December 1895 in The Bulletin newspaper and eventually became the basis for Dad and Dave, a popular radio series which ran in Australia from 1932 – 1952.

Henry Lawson 1867 – 1922, was born on the gold fields of New South Wales. Many believed him to be the first poet to capture the Australian way of life. After a childhood ear infection, he was totally deaf by the age of 14, and he grew up to be bitter about his poverty and ill-fortune.

In 1888 The Bulletin started publishing his stories and poems.

Henry Lawson wrote about the bitterness between the squatters and selectors, in his memorable poem. The Fire At Ross’Farm.

Robert Black, the son of the squatter, loved Jenny Ross the daughter of the selector.

When Robert tells his father about the fire threatening the Ross farm, his father said, and I quote these couple of lines from Henry Lawson’s poem

Then let it burn the squatter said, I’d like to see it done
I’d bless the fire if it would clear selectors from the run (run is an early Australian name for a ranch).

These two lines of poetry depict the bitterness and antagonism between the two parties. So, using this as my background I wrote my novel Frontier Wife.

FRONTIER WIFE
Only in the new world can a highborn young Englishwoman and a tough frontier man, ignite the passion that will fulfil their hopes and dreams in ways they never imagined possible.

Tommy Lindsay arrives in colonial Australia to claim the rundown farm she and her brothers have inherited from their Uncle Henry.

Hidden behind her fragile English rose beauty, beats the heart of a courageous young woman. She will need all this strength to survive the unforgiving heat, and the dangers lurking around every corner.  Lost in the bush, capture by a feral mountain family, raging bushfires are nothing, compared to the danger she faces if she gives her heart to Adam Munro.

Adam Munro, a wealthy squatter, has no room in his heart to love a woman.  All he ever wanted was a presentable wife who would provide him with heirs.   He didn’t need passion in his life, not until he met the beautiful English rose living next door to him.


 Tommy’s Uncle Henry selected 80 acres for his farm in the middle of the Munro property. Adam Munro had 40,000 acres, so Frontier Wife is an excellent example of the problems existing with The Act Of Selection.

Of course, not all of these problems had a happily ever after ending like my story. Many selectors and their families struggled on for years with unproductive land and hostile neighbours until finally, they gave up. Many broken in health and financially ruined, packed up their meagre belongings and walked off their property leaving it to the elements or the squatters.

Some selectors did prosper and became wealthy in their own right, but the bitterness felt by the selectors who failed, lingered for years, often into the next generation.

Margaret Tanner is an Australian author who loves delving into the pages of history.
Her website is :  http://www.margarettanner.com/




25 comments:

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Anna Kathryn,
Thank you so much for allowing me to pay you a visit.

Best wishes

Margaret

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, Margaret. Thanks for being my guest. A great blog. Congratulations on winning the Best Historical Romance at Readers Favourite 2010 award. That is quite an honor.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Maragaret, loved your book! Glad you found a home for it. Many authors have have a wonderful home at TWRP. :)

Joyce Henderson said...

Oops! That anonymous is me. I hit publish rather than Name/URL

marybelle said...

I love discovering Australian authors, bring Australian myself.

Tricia McGill said...

Hi Margaret,
As a fellow Aussie with a couple of Aussie historicals of my own, it was interesting to read about this period in our history. Mega congratulations on winning the award. Haven't heard from you in a while so didn't know what you have been up to. Best Wishes, Tricia

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Trisha,
Thanks for dropping by. Nice hearing from a fellow Aussie Historical romance writer. I have read your fabulous books and have to say I am in very good company.Your novel Trace of Dreams was still sticks in my mind.

Regards

Margaret

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Joyce,
Thank you for dropping by and leaving not one but two comments. Glad I am not the only one to hit the wrong button. You wouldn't want me to be near a nuclear device.

Regards
Margaret

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Marybelle,

Thanks for dropping by. Nice to hear from a fellow Aussie.

Regards
Margaret

Raewyn Bright said...

Hi Margaret,

What a wonderful blog. I'll be honest and admit I know next to nothing of Australian settlement (being a New Zealander), so your post was very interesting.

It surprised me at the mention of Dad and Dave, as I my parents were talking recently of that show. I didn't realise the connection to land settlement, so there you go!

Congratulations on the Best Historical Romance award, how exciting to not only win the award, but to go to Vegas to collect it!

And thank you for sharing your story to publication, I'm glad Wild Rose Press recognised your talent.

All the best for the next novel and the next...
Raewyn

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Raewyn,
Thank you so much for dropping by. What a coincidence your parents discusing Dad and Dave. It was a very popular radio series here in Australia for many years.Didn't realise it went to New Zealand as well.

Regards

Margaret

Michelle Somers said...

Hi Margaret

What a great blog - you are a wonderful wealth of knowledge!

Well, they say that three's a charm, and it definitely was for your wonderful book - I'm glad it found a home.

Congratulations on your award.

Michelle Somers

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Michelle,
Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words, I really appreciate it.

Regards

Margaret

Serena said...

hi Margaret,
You always astound me with your wonderful knowledge of everything :) Mega congrats on winning the the Best Historical Romance at Readers Favourite 2010 award - what a wonderful and well-deserved award! We're all so proud of you :)

Nice to see Tricia McGill here! Serena waving enthusiastically>
Thanks for having Margaret as your guest, Anna.
Hugs

Morgan Mandel said...

Margaret,
It's great the way you've woven history into your romance, making it immediate to the story, and not a mere recitation of what went on in those days.

And, congratulations on winning the award, also!

Great job!

Morgan Mandel
http://www.morganmandel.com
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Cheryl Wright said...

Hi Margaret, what a wonderful post!

I always love reading your insightful posts about days gone by. I had no idea there was a link to Dad and Dave. Go figure.

I've read Frontier Wife, and it was wonderful.

I always look forward to your books.

Ginger Simpson said...

Hi Margret,
I always enjoy anything about you and your books because you know I'm a "Margaret Tanner" fan. I've read and loved your work from the beginning and I'm not surprised that you're an award-winning author. I'm proud to call you friend for a number of reasons, and your creative genius is just one. :)

Caroline Clemmons said...

Margaret, I loved FRONTIER WIFE and saw many similarities between Australia and Amercan pioneer life.

Vonnie said...

Margaret, your blog notes are extremely interesting to a mere NZer now living in Australia. Although we were fed a huge amount of Australian history at school, it didn't always cover the nitty gritty like you have. Thank you for that! And extra curly good luck with the book!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Serena,my fellow MRWG friend
Thanks for dropping by. As always you are too kind.

Regards

Margaret

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Cheryl,
Another Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG) friend. Thank you so much. You are always so very supportive of your fellow romance writers.

Regards

Margaret

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Morgan,
Thank you for dropping by. It was a real thrill when Frontier Wife won.

Regards
Margaret

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ginger,
Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment for me, especially as you have so recently returned from Alaska. I do appreciate it.

Regards

Margaret

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Caroline,

Thanks for dropping by.I appreciate it and for you kind words about Frontier Wife. Praise from an historical romance author of your calibre is praise in deed.

Regards

Margaret

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Vonnie,

Thanks. I didn't realise that they taught any Australian history in New Zealand except, of course, for ANZAC day which both our couintries share.

Best wishes

Margaret