NOW back on the Border to stay, author Karen Turner wonders what took her so long.
Turner and her husband Stuart moved into their newly-built home in Bandiana about a month ago with their rescue cats Panda and Katie.
“They often act as my receptionist and secretary,” Turner said with a laugh.
Their relocation from Melbourne coincides with a few other changes in the writer’s life.
“The book’s just about ready to go, the new home’s settled in, I’ve launched a new website, it’s just really, really exciting,” she said.
Turner’s links with this region began in childhood through staying with her late grandmother, who lived in Schubach Street, East Albury.
Mungabareena featured in one of the short stories in her book All That & Everything, first published in 2009.
Turner’s new book, Stormbird, is about to go to its editor and is due to be published later this year.
The novel will be the last in the historical series that included Torn (2013) and Inviolate (2014), following the life of young heroine Alexandra Broughton in 19th century England.
Turner said Stormbird involved the same family but was set during World War II, with a buried diary serving as a connection.
“At the end of Inviolate, there were a few loose ends hanging around and I received a lot of feedback from readers as to, ‘When are we going to find out about this?’,” she said. “It is finally here and all those questions that readers have will be answered.”
But the conclusion has taken some effort.
“I wasn’t familiar with the timezone so it meant a lot of research, a lot of learning about things that previously I didn’t think I had an interest in,” Turner said.
With Italian heritage and bilingual, Turner completed the book during a three-month stint in Rome, where she also volunteered at an animal refuge Gatti di Roma (Cats of Rome).
“I thought I can break up my week by doing something worthwhile,” she said.
“So it was easy for me to go work over there in an environment where I got to play with cats and look after cats.”
Although the trilogy will be ending, she still releases a new short story based on those characters each month through the Wattpad website.
Her own website includes the capacity to request a personalised message from the author when ordering a book, which may appeal leading up to Mother’s Day.
Work on a more contemporary book has begun, but Turner is also enjoying settling into a community that’s both familiar and new.
“The parkland here is incredible,” she said.
“When I lived here as a kid, I guess you don’t pay much attention to parkland.”