Oak Bay author Maggie Bolitho releases her second book, Outback Promise, on e-book Nov. 1.
Her first published adult fiction follows her debut young adult novel Lockdown, released by Great Plains Teen Fiction 18 months ago.
Outback Promise follows Ros and Grady six years after losing their only child to a hit-and-run driver. Then Ros discovers Grady’s infidelity and with their marriage disintegrating, they decide to take a three-month camping trip into the heart of Australia. The trip will decide the fate of their relationship: do they have enough strength and enough love left to accept what life has put them both through?
“My husband and I actually took a camper trailer and went into the Outback for three months. It’s an experience that for me was really changing,” Bolitho said. “It made me feel really insignificant and connected at the same time.”
The Oak Bay woman spent two decades living in Australia, and brought back a husband from that country. She returned to the Island in spring 2014 when her first book came out.
Aboriginal lore of spirits that come out of the rocks and capture children seemed to plant the seed of the story.
“That spirit story stuck with me so I knew there was something there, at that point I hadn’t written much of anything,” Bolistho said.
For eight years she worked off and on.
“I would write and then shelve it and take it out a year later,” she said. “It paralleled my writing training, as I learned more I got more confident writing.”
They revisited that three-month Outback adventure with another trek this summer during a visit to Australia, where she made her HarperCollins connection.
“HarperCollins Australia have ‘manuscript Wednesday’ where you can mail in without an agent,” Bolitho said.
The e-book options, though not the ideal print-dream of most authors, offers a platform for authors starting out, she said.
“They can take a risk without a printing risk,” Bolitho said, noting authors get the art, the editing and a little promotion. When they told her she would be attending the Surrey International Writers Festival Oct. 22, she got an overnight package of materials to promote the e-book.
“They have been wonderful. You really do get good support,” Bolitho said.
Lockdown was named in The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s “Best Books for Kids and Teens” fall 2014 edition.
Bolitho says she has her next young adult novel ready to find the right publisher.
“It would be nice to get a momentum going,” she said.
Learn more about the local author at maggiebolitho.com and find Outback Promise at harpercollins.com.au online.