Café Cala welcomes Tricia Stringer

Hi Tricia, welcome to Café Cala,

Tricia Stringer


I’m delighted to have you visit Café Cala. I’m looking forward to reading Dust on the Horizon. I’ve been making raspberry and yoghurt muffins this morning. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?

Maggie it’s great to be here and those muffins smell divine. I’d love a long black coffee please with just a drip of milk to make it muddy.


1 Where did you get the idea for Dust on the Horizon?

The idea for this story has developed over many years of visiting the magnificent Flinders Ranges country in the north of South Australia. It’s such a beautiful, rugged, fascinating and demanding landscape I began to wonder how the first European settlers survived there and that sowed the seeds for the story. I had originally intended to begin with this story but went back and wrote the arrival of previous generation in Heart of the Country. Both books standalone but Dust is about the next generation.

2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?

Discovering places I’ve never seen and finding out things about my country I didn’t know and then being able to weave them into a story to share with others.

3 How did you start writing?

I started writing stories for the children in my class to get an understanding of our local history celebrations. That taught me how little I knew about what it took to be a writer so I did a children’s writing course and I was hooked.

4 What would you say has helped you most?

Studying, belonging to writing groups and organisations and fellow writers, so many have been so willing to support and share their knowledge of the industry. I am particularly grateful to Monica McInerney and Fiona McIntosh who were very supportive when I was still trying to find my way.

5 What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on Jewel in the North which centres around the third generation of the Baker and Wiltshire families I introduced in Heart of the Country and continued in Dust on the Horizon. It’s wonderful to write about the characters who were only children in the previous book and are now adults making their way in the world. I love still having the older generation in the story as well. It’s like being with good friends.

6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Write every day. I’ve had to teach myself to write every day. It’s not always the best writing but the words are on the page. You can’t edit a blank page so the trick is to write every day and get the story down, even if it’s only a couple of hundred words you will eventually finish it. Then you can edit. Attend workshops, join a writers’ group, be with other writers. Read for enjoyment but also to learn more about the craft of writing. Write down your writing goals. Be realistic and keep on keeping on.

7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?

I read widely across all kinds of genres and naming favourites is very tricky.  I’ll list Monica McInerney, Fiona McIntosh, Bryce Courtney, Rachael Johns, TM Clark, Kate Morton and Tony Park just to get the ball rolling but there are many more.

Dust on the Horizon

Dust on the Horizon FC (670x1024)1881  Joseph Baker works hard on his pastoral lease at Smith’s Ridge, in the beautiful but harsh land of the Flinders Ranges. For Joseph this lease, lost to his family in the early days of settlement, offers a future for his young family and that of his Aboriginal friend, the loyal and courageous Binda. Joseph is a clever man, but it is a hard land to work and drought is once more upon the country.

New arrivals to the small rural town of Hawker, Henry Wiltshire and young wife Catherine, open a general store and commission business. Unscrupulous but clever, Henry has plans to prosper from the locals’ fortunes, and quickly makes powerful friends, but when he throws Binda’s family out of his shop, his bigotry makes an immediate enemy of Joseph and a die is cast…

Then the dark force of Jack Aldridge, a man torn between two worlds, crosses their path. Outcast and resentful, he wants what Henry and Joseph have and will stop at nothing to take it.

As the drought widens and the burning heat exhausts the land, Joseph, Henry and Jack’s lives become intertwined in a way that none could have predicted. In their final confrontation not all will survive.

This sweeping historical saga takes us into the beautiful and brutal landscape of the Flinders Ranges and through the gold rush, following the fate of three men and the women they love. Men and women whose lives become intertwined by love and deceit until nature itself takes control and changes their destinies forever.

Available from most book outlets and as an ebook. More details at




Café Cala welcomes Fiona McArthur

Hi Fiona, welcome to Café Cala,

Fi at CI’m delighted to have you visit Café Cala. I’m really looking forward to reading Aussie Midwives. I’ve been making strawberry and pecan muffins this morning. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?
Hi Maggie, it’s great to be here. Thanks so much for asking me. I’m an Earl Grey fan, no milk, thanks.

1 Where did you get the idea for Aussie Midwives?

The idea was suggested a couple of years ago. At the time I was a little daunted to ask my peers for their stories but I was told because of my background and love of my work I’d be able to give the reader a great window into the world of the midwife. Two fiction books for Penguin later I finally found the courage to ask for volunteers.  Because of the generosity of the midwives in the book I think we have provided great insight and a real diversity across Australia. The readers are certainly appreciating the honesty and passion all the midwives have shared.  I’m very proud of the end result and it really is a heart warming read.

aussie midwives‘Being present as the midwife at a baby’s birth is one of life’s glorious adventures.’

Nineteen Australian midwives share their incredible stories with passionate midwife and bestselling author Fiona McArthur.

Midwives play a vital role in supporting women through some of the most challenging and rewarding moments of their lives.  These remarkable professionals watch over births across Australia from the remote outback to busy urban hospitals.

Meet Annie, working on the tiny island of Saibai where mothers arrive by dinghy; Kate, a clinical midwifery consultant, who sees women with high-risk pregnancies; Priscilla and Jillian who fly thousands of miles to get mothers and babies to hospital safely with the Royal Flying Doctor Service; and Louise, who gives impromptu consultations in the aisles of the local supermarket.

Funny one minute and heartbreaking the next, Aussie Midwives explores the joys, emotion and drama of childbirth and the lasting effect it has on the people who work in this extraordinary profession.

 2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?

I love helping readers marvel at how amazing ordinary women and men are. How they stand by each other, put themselves at risk or under stress to help others, how the Australian environment presents challenges like those faced by the flying doctor flight nurses, or the high tech city hospital. And of course I love writing about maternity scenes with the idea of a mother-to-be, reading it, and remembering something that will help her on her journey. It is lovely to hold the end book baby or when someone sends you a photo of your book in a distant bookshop

3 How did you start writing?

I was always going to write a book but it took me until I was thirty, with four little boys, and another on the way, before I started. Then I wrote lots of book beginnings, no endings, and ten years later I finished my first full book. That’s the one I sold and I’ve sold more than 30 since then – fiction, non-fiction, romance, textbook.

4 What would you say has helped you most?

What helped the most …

To write – when someone told me anyone can do it –just be professional – it’s amazing how something small like that sticks in your brain and giuves you permission to dare yourself. And of course Emma Darcy’s “finish the damn book”.

To sell – Romance Writers of Australia and the people I met there who shared so much. My agent Clare Forster for the single titles and non-fiction.

To keep going – the support of my husband who is very proud of me and the fact that he believes the money I make is mine for travelling which I love. But I also keep writing because if I don’t I get twitchy, my head fills up with ideas, and nobody can live with me. I think a lot of writers are like that.

5 What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve just finished my third single title medical/rural women’s fiction for Penguin. The release of that has been put back because we all (me and Penguin) got snowed with the AUSSIE MIDWIVES when my my previous editor left. But it will be out late this year or early next year.

I’m also editing a non-fiction birth book I bought-back (copyright) from Penguin so I could update it and I’m really looking forward to getting that back out there for new mums (and experienced mums and dads who would like a quick refresh). I couldn’t do all that technical on-line stuff without the help of Annie Seaton who’s making it into a POD e-book for me. I wanted to be able to update it and while it sold well, it didn’t sell well enough for a re-print from Penguin so we’re making that happen via e-books. A midwife I met when she was a student has done all my illustrations. Its called THE DON’T PANIC GUIDE TO BIRTH on Amazon. It won’t make a fortune but when I’m gone there will be a little midwife voice telling mums ‘You can do it.”that they can download to their phone and read in 2 hours.

I’m also halfway through a medical romance for M&B and it’s just lovely to let the characters run. That’s something I’ve discovered isn’t quite as easy in a single title book.  So a change is as good as a holiday and I do believe you get rusty if you don’t write stories just like any other exercise.

I’ve also started planning the next Penguin fiction because this fabulous backstory idea fell into my lap at a lecture I attended the other day and I can’t wait for my heroine, Sienna, to try to solve that medical dilemma. I’m busy plotting that out this month while I wait for the proofs from HEART OF THE SKY.

But at the minute I’m doing lots of promo stuff for AUSSIE MIDWIVES and working 3 days a week as a midwifery educator and playing with grandkids. So I guess I’m busy. J That’s why I listen to a lot of audiobooks as I drive to work or I wouldn’t have time to read.

6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Join a writing group. Write every day even if it’s just a couple of hundred words. Writing gets better with practice. Write until you get to the end of the book. Don’t wait for ten years like I did to finish your first book. Keep reading.

7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?

Jojo Moyes is my new fave. Diana Gabaldon and her Cross Stitch – I couldn’t put it down and even took it on a kayak trip to read between paddling. Iona Andrews and the Kate Daniels Series – these were all in audiobooks and I still keep hoping she’ll write another one. I grew up on Modesty Blaise and have just found a novel I didn’t know was available from Peter O’Donnell who died in 2010. So that’s for after the M&B is finished.

So that’s me, thanks so much for having me, Maggie, my webpage is and my books can be found from the buy links on the home page. Waving to readers and writers, and wishing you all joy in your next book. xxFi