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August 2018 - Docklander

02 Aug 2018

August 2018 - Docklander Image

Water views work for local novelist

Contemplating the calm waters of Victoria Harbour works for author Carol Jones, whose first “grown-ups” novel has been released internationally.

The Docklands resident has been published many times over many years in the children’s books and magazine space.

The Concubine’s Child is her first novel for the more mature reader and was released by British publisher Head of Zeus in June.

Carol said she didn’t know how local sales were tracking, but she’d heard that sales in South East Asia were going well.

This is not a surprise, considering the novel is set in 1930s Malaysia, inspired by what she knows of her husband’s family.

“The inspiration for this novel has crept up on me over the past 25 years of annual visits to Malaysia to stay with my husband’s family,” she said. “Abandoned ghost houses, inquisitive monkeys, smoky temples, thick jungle, Chinese funerals and a panoply of gods and demons have all played their part.”

She said the book was about 18 months in the making, with much of the research, writing and general contemplation taking place at her desk or on the couch in her Convesso apartment.

Even though she may have been actively working on the novel for six hours a day for five or six hours each week, the exercise was really all-consuming.

“I’d be thinking about it while walking the dog, before I go to sleep and night and when I woke up in the mornings,” she said.

Carol and her husband Vincent are classic “empty nesters”, having only recently seen the backs of their grown up son and daughter – leaving 16-year-old Billy, the family dog, as the sole recipient of their attention.

Carol theorises that, at 16, Billy could well be Docklands’ oldest dog. He certainly benefits from the bracing (health giving?) Docklands breezes during his three walks a day.

Carol started her career as a secondary school teacher and soon moved into writing – both fiction and educational books – for children.

After a decent break from writing while her kids tackled their senior school years, she more recently got back into writing seriously.

At her first attempted novel, her manuscript attracted an agent, but not a publisher. With her next effort, The Concubine’s Child, Carol landed a two-novel contract and has been working solidly on the new book.

The new novel is set in the Australian goldfields in the 1850s, which means even more research is required to be factually correct. This time around, she is up to the “revisions” stage in the editing process.

Carol and her husband bought off the plan and moved into their Victoria Harbour apartment in 2012. She has been on the owners’ corporation since the start and has made many lasting friendships since downsizing to Docklands.

“I love Docklands. I love the city being so close – the convenience,” she said. “The tram is so handy. We love going to the movies – the Keno is our local cinema. The restaurants are great and it’s a great place to walk the dog.”

“I love the views and I think Victoria Harbour has been well planned. Lendlease has done a pretty good job,” she said.

She said Docklands was very diverse – in terms of the range in the age of residents and their ethnicity.

“I like that. There are different people and different age groups – lots of young people. We wouldn’t get that if were living in an apartment in the suburbs,” she said.

According to Carol, the only downside is short-term renting in residential buildings – a situation that is familiar to most locals.

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