1948: Sugar Creek seemed such a welcoming town for Ellen, a young woman keen to share the news of her pregnancy with her fiancé Billy. When Billy signs up for extra work testing topical creams at the local military base, to earn money for their wedding, Ellen is nervous. Now it seems her fears were founded. Billy has disappeared. Devastated, Ellen begins to ask questions, turning the locals against her and putting her life at risk as she desperately searches for him.
2000: Instead of beginning her career with a dream job as a GP in a suburban practice, Dana has found herself jobless and facing the hospital board for a mistake she made with a patient. Herb Hipworth, mayor of Sugar Creek, is desperate for a town doctor and makes Dana an offer she can’t refuse. But when Dana arrives in the remote tropical town, she discovers the locals are plagued with unexplained health issues. Now, as she digs for the cause, she stumbles upon a decades-long conspiracy leading to an environmental disaster.
Let's talk about it
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
I began learning to drive at twelve. I might add I was not very good.
Why did you choose the themes in your book and were you aware of them from the start?
Yes, I had a rough idea of what I wanted to say in the book as I explored themes of unwed pregnant mothers in the forties and the unintended consequences of pesticides in the fifties and sixties.
How difficult was it for you to write this book? Did you face any obstacles?
I knew the story I wanted to write from the outset so this one was relatively easy. The hard bit is getting the words down and revising, revising and revising. The other major difficulty is the research, which can take me down many rabbit holes until I can weed out what is relevant.
Do you always write in this genre or do you like to break out of the box?
I tend to write historical fiction. I just love the idea of history affecting our present and our futures and of course, I am often dismayed that history just continues to repeat itself as we never seem to learn.
What are your writing habits or idiosyncrasies?
I tend to write something every day whether it be a blog about a book or my own work. And when I’m not physically writing, I’m thinking about writing for hours on end as I mull over plots and characters and sentences and it goes on…
If you worked with a professional editor, what was the experience like?
I always work with an editor. No-one should put out anything without one. An editor can see things that I can’t and they are objective where I’m not. My work is 100% better because it’s been edited.
What’s next for your writing?
Another novel but this time I’m breaking away from 1948 and taking the timeline to 1975.
S.C. Karakaltsas lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband. She grew up on a dairy farm in South East Queensland and was always a lover of books and read anything she could lay her hands on.