On this day: Australians in Borneo

Australian_2-31_Bn_parading_through_Bandjermasin_17th September_1945 Enthusiastic welcome after Japanese occupation. Second World War Two..

17th September 1945: Soldiers of the Australian 2/31st Battalion pass through Bandjermasin in Borneo as they take responsibility for the island after the surrender of Japan in the Second World War. It was reported they were given an enthusiastic welcome by the locals.

The island of Borneo was under Japanese occupation from the end of 1941. Bandjermasin is now part of Indonesia.

From the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

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Book Feature: Lost Railway Journeys from Around the World

Tomorrow is the 189th anniversary of the opening of the world’s first steam-powered public railway: the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

So, for the occasion, here’s a book I received as an ARC a while ago, but never had the time to review: Lost Railway Journeys from Around the World by Anthony Lambert. The description is beneath the cover.

Lost Railway Journeys from Around the World by Anthony Lambert

From the great cathedral-like railways stations of the steam age to obscure lines built through spectacular landscapes to open up countries before the advent of motorised road transport, this book is a celebration of our lost railway heritage and the lines that can no longer be travelled.

Through stunning images, Lost Railway Journeys evokes the romance and drama of these journeys, taking the reader as close as they can possibly get to this lost world of dining cars, sleeping cars, station porters and international rail travel.

Organised by continent, all of these routes have stories to tell and the lost journeys are captured in the old postcards and posters that accompany photographs drawn from collections and archives across the world.

Release Day for The Landowner’s Secret!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Happy release day to me! If things have gone to plan I’m in Romania at the moment, so I’m not home to celebrate.

You can read the first two chapters of The Landowner’s Secret HERE.

Here are the links to order it:

HarperCollins AU US UK

Amazon AU US UK CA IN

Kobo AU NZ US UK CA IE IN ZA

Barnes and Noble

Apple Books

Google Play

Booktopia

And here’s what it’s about:

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

Writing Inspiration: Victorian Queanbeyan

Queanbeyan, New South Wales lies just over the state border from Canberra (about a fifteen-minute drive from where I live). It serves as inspiration for my town in my book, The Landowner’s Secret, which is set in the 1880s and on sale tomorrow! (I don’t use the same place name, however.)

I’ve spent a lot of time in Queanbeyan over the years because I’ve always had family who lived there, and so I know the place very well. I was christened and made my first communion there, in the Ukrainian church my refugee grandfather helped to build. We also have a bit of a family tradition of Friday or weekend lunch at one of the old pubs in town.

However, being able to track down some images of the town from the Victorian era, of the buildings that the reckless developers pulled down in the 1970s, has been invaluable.

Here is John Bull’s Store, circa 1883:

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney. John Bull's Store, Queanbeyan Australia, c. 1883. From Queanbeyan–Palerang Libraries Historical Photos.

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Here is the old post office, built between 1879 and 1880:

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney. Built 1879-80. Post office in Queanbeyan, NSW, Australia. From the Queanbeyan Museum.

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And here is Monaro Street, which is still Queanbeyan’s main street, circa 1880. It’s a faded old photo, but I notice the town’s transformation over the 1880s, as the population grew and the railway arrived (in 1887), and I have tried to incorporate that into the series:

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney. Monaro Street, looking East, Queanbeyan c. 1880. From Queanbeyan–Palerang Libraries Historical Photos.

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More images can be found on the book’s Pinterest board.

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

The Landowner’s Secret

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

 

 

Six Months Ago; One Day to Go!

On this day six months ago, at 5:57pm, this extraordinary email popped up in my inbox and changed everything. (Sue Brockhoff is Harlequin’s Publishing Director.)

Sue Brockhoff Sonya Heaney Offer 11th March 2019

Even though the email’s subject was “Offer”, I still braced myself for the worst. Instead, I discovered that my dream publisher had just made me an offer to buy my book, countering one made from another publisher.

Initial suggestions that The Landowner’s Secret (Or Secret Land as it was called then) would be published early next year were soon scrapped, and instead my book is now out tomorrow – the 12th of September.

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Here’s a link to the first two chapters.

And here’s what it’s about:

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

Author Sonya Heaney on Cinderella romances and her debut book The Landowner’s Secret

thumbnail_landownerssecret

It went up much sooner than I expected it to, but a few days ago I was asked to write an article for (Harlequin/HarperCollins-owned) romance.com.au, and here it is:

Author Sonya Heaney on Cinderella romances and her debut book The Landowner’s Secret

Disclaimer: I *did not* choose the GIFs for this. So apologies for the Poldark woman mistake!