Jack Byrne: Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Renae! I appreciate it!
Sequel to Billabong and Walkabout. Book Three in the series.
New South Wales, Australia, 1876. As captured outlaws, Jim Kelly and Mark Turner face the gallows. Help comes from an unexpected quarter, but their hasty escape goes wrong and now Jim's life hangs by a thread. Mark is driven by desperation to form an alliance with an infamous bushranger who may hold clues to his mysterious past. But as Jim and Mark’s relationship intensifies, it is also tested. Their secret is discovered, tempers fray, and jealousy flares.
Hi Jack. Tell me – just exactly what is a “dingo run”?
You’re an Aussie, but since you’re from Perth I’ll forgive you for not knowing that one! (Somebody should do a study on the geographical distribution of slang terms throughout Australia! It’s like everyone from overseas expects us to speak the same language, when in reality our slang can be as different as the slang from Georgia vs New York!) For those of you who don’t know, Renae lives about 4,000 km from me in another time zone!
“Doing the dingo run” means running for every waking moment, basically someone or something who never stops running. It comes from the habit dingoes have of constantly running or loping around. I used to own a dingo when I was on a big property, and that dog would never stop moving. Other dogs would sit and rest, but the dingo would jog constantly around, patrolling the borders of the property.
My main characters in the Bushrangers Series (The Billabong, Walkabout and Dingo Run) are Jim Kelly and Mark Turner. They are forced to flee the law constantly and can never stop in one place for too long, for fear of being tracked down and shot, because there is a price on Mark’s head. So they are doing the ‘dingo run.’
Yes, really they do. To read ‘Dingo Run’ on its own would be kind of puzzling I think. This novella completes a story arc between Jim Kelly and Mark Turner. Before the end of Dingo Run they were not that secure in their relationship or even their ability to survive.
By the end of Dingo Run, they are each starting to gain a deeper understanding of the other's character and to develop some confidence in each other. That's not an easy thing to have done considering the dangers they faced every day and the fact that they were basically thrown together as complete strangers.
Is there a Book Four? What is it called and when should it be out?
There certainly is, but it’s longer! ‘Rainbow Dreaming’ is a novel, from about 50,000 to 70,000 words, so that for the first time readers (and the author!) will be able to hold a printed Bushrangers book in their hot little hands! I’m up to 40,000 words on that one!
Do you find it hard to get the historical aspects correct when writing a period piece?
Not really, but this is an era and a location I’m familiar with. I’d find it hard to write about say, 15th century France. But with series, because I have worked stock myself, the old saddles and the lifestyle are all familiar to me. Also in Australia our local history is pretty well covered in school, so a lot of this stuff is familiar to me from that. In addition, as a child I often listened to my grandmother and uncle tell long stories about their grandfathers/grandmothers and other relatives who actually lived back in this era (my grandmother was born in the second half of the 19th century).
There is a slightly unusual aspect to writing the Bushrangers series, which still puzzles me. A couple of times I have written down historical place names or character details that I’ve made a vague guess at (to be frank, several times I’ve made them up) figuring I’ll come back and replace them with more accurate details later. But when I research them, I find out that they are already accurate.
Of course as an Australian I am familiar with this country, so I tend to write what I know. (This gives the Dreamspinner editors kittens. They put a glossary of Australian terms in the front of every book I write.) I try very hard not to put slang into my stories but apparently it sneaks in anyway. I have written one short story set in America, and even have the guy looking out at the ‘Nebraska countryside’ in the second paragraph. Then after about five reviews noting that the story is ‘set in Australia’ I gave up gracefully. I am always going to sound Australian and there’s nothing I can do about that.
Do you really think gay relationships happened as described in our gay romances? Back then, were gays romantic, do you think?
Despite all the attempts over the millennia to whitewash gay literature out of existence, it’s obvious to any serious student of same that there is a rich culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual relationships throughout recorded history. When you consider that often throughout those times, the penalty for being homosexual was often imprisonment or death, it is amazing that any details of such relationships were recorded at all. I think it shows how powerful the urge to love and be loved has been, even in the face of horrendous opposition. I think that’s immensely romantic.
Mark Turner is very much aware of the forbidden nature of his relationship with Jim. In fact you’ll find if you read ‘The Billabong’ it’s the reason Mark is a fugitive. Jim would know simply that such things have never been spoken about by his parents or family, that it is a taboo subject, and he would follow Mark’s lead. But to some extent their isolation in such a wild, backwards country, and their fugitive lifestyle, would protect them from exposure and prosecution.
And lastly, just what exactly is that rider doing on the cover of your book? Does he have his hands down the other man’s pants??? <shocked look> Is that even possible when riding?
You’d be amazed what a couple of really good riders can get up to on horseback (enigmatic smile). Australia is a vast, empty country. I actually toned that scene down a great deal *grin*.
Click the following links to buy Dingo Run:
Direct from publisher website: Dreamspinner
Available also on Amazon.
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