KEMPSEY born author and long time Mid North Coast resident Karly Lane has recently launched her new novel Once Burnt, Twice Shy.
Inspired by her experiences with the Black Summer bushfires, albeit with a fair bit of creative license thrown in, the book follows fictional protagonist Samantha Murphy, a recently divorced mother-of-two who agrees to house-sit for her parents.
When catastrophic fires roar through the local farming community, Sam has no choice but to evacuate her parents' farm.
But worse is still to come, when an old boyfriend and current love interest Jack is reported missing, Sam is forced to prepare for the worst.
"Central to the plot of Once Burnt, Twice Shy is the idea of community," Karly said.
"During the Black Summer Bushfires, the community really joined together; the local club offered support to people who were displaced by the fires, there were fundraisers, people offering to feed the RFS and other emergency personnel, it was lovely to see.
"That community spirit and selfless actions by so many people is what I was trying to capture, that essence and feeling of community, it's almost another character."
Karly lives in a rural area of the Mid North Coast that was heavily impacted by the fires.
At one point, there were fires on both sides of our property, it became a waiting game to see if the wind would change and we would have to evacuate.Karly Lane
Fortunately, she was lucky enough to get through relatively unscathed, but she still had a few near misses that would later become the foundations for the world in Once Burnt, Twice Shy.
"At one point, there were fires on both sides of our property, it became a waiting game to see if the wind would change and we would have to evacuate," Karly said.
"It was interesting because I found that after we made sure our animals were safe, I didn't mind leaving other material possessions behind.
"It's funny how when you are put in that situation, you quickly realise what's important and stuff you thought was important really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things."
The bushfires were at their worst late 2019, and while the seed for Once Burnt, Twice Shy was planted during those hectic few months, Karly says it took her quite a while before she sat down to write.
"I'd actually lost my writing mojo before I starting writing Once Burnt, Twice Shy; I didn't start writing this story until ages after the fires," she said.
"Then, during COVID lockdowns we were all inside and it forced me to sit down and write.
"That's when I started to think about the fires, reflect and process everything that had happened and the stories I'd heard from other locals about their experiences."
I have plans to revisit a character from Once Burnt, Twice Shy in the future, and I think it might be nice to see how the town in my story has dealt with and recovered from the fires.Karly Lane
Karly has over 19 published novels to her name, and while she doesn't usually write multi-book series, in this case, she says her readers can look forward to revisiting the world of Once Burnt, Twice Shy again at some point.
"I don't generally write series, most of my novels tend to be standalone but this time might be different," Karly said.
"I have plans to revisit a character from Once Burnt, Twice Shy in the future, and I think it might be nice to see how the town in my story has dealt with and recovered from the fires."
Once Burnt, Twice Shy is out now, and while Karly was unable to host a traditional book launch she still managed to mark the occasion with a small event.
"It's been a few years since I have had a launch or any big author events, most get cancelled by COVID-19 restrictions, but I managed to have a small event at the Majestic Cinemas in Nambucca Heads," she said.
"I have a tour planned for January next year, my first in a long time; I'm hoping that will go ahead, it's very hard to plan things these days you never know what tomorrow will bring."
For more on Karly Lane, check her author Facebook Page: Karly Lane Author.
Bitcoin scammers have taken over her previous website, so if you find a website called Karly Lane and it's talking about bitcoin, steer clear; that's not her.
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