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Desert Deluge

Desert Deluge has been a long time in the making.

During the March/April 2020 lockdown for the first wave of Covid19 in South Australia, I was directed to self-isolate due to autoimmune conditions. The ‘Barossa cluster’ changed rules relating to social distancing, travel, and the purchase of toilet paper.

Writing became an energising process. I woke each morning at 5.45am ready to research or develop a new ‘twist’, but first I had to join a 5th grader on Skype at 6am for up to four hours at a time, seven days a week.

Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

Desert Deluge was a writing project intended to get me through the first lockdown and the ongoing medical-directed physical isolation. As one friend noted, I was channelling Andamooka because I wasn’t allowed to leave the freezing cold Barossa to spend the winter in the desert, where I desperately wanted to be.

The camaraderie and enthusiasm for Desert Deluge within the original reading team were reassuring. I felt that I was entertaining myself and others through a difficult time.  Technology made it all possible. The support I received – both emotionally and practically – kept me going.

Easter eggs, homemade bread, and homegrown fruit and vegetables arrived on my front porch. The generosity when I requested a crowd-sourcing approach to naming the characters was marvellous, and the feedback from everyone in the original reading team made it a lot of fun. A friend picked out a pen name (Honey Gordon) but that had to be tossed aside for legal reasons.

If Desert Deluge ever makes it to the small screen, there are people who I will insist be in the crowd scenes, because they have already put their hands up for these roles.

The editing process was tedious.

By the end of 2020, there were serious issues with my vision. Eye surgery was booked and then cancelled due to a Covid ‘circuit-breaker’, so most of 2021 was spent working on children’s stories, minimal tv, short stretches of reading, a few random trips to Andamooka for SALA, and back to the Barossa again for more medical appointments.

During this time, I developed a dislike for the computer – and for Desert Deluge, by association. I resented the editing process. I was struggling day-to-day, and the computer screen was not friendly to my eyes.

Thankfully, three eye surgeries later and a bit of a rest – along with a pep talk delivered from Tasmania – and I started to feel like I was recovering my spark. I was ready to progress Desert Deluge to the publishing stage.

It was around this time, while driving from Andamooka to Woomera, that I found myself on the edge of a tremendous storm. I was both terrified and inspired. I somehow managed to avoid causing a traffic incident getting the photograph when I turned onto the Stuart Highway at Pimba, and this photo became the new cover for Desert Deluge. It was the final piece of the publishing puzzle.

The end result is a story I’m proud of, with a range of unique supporting characters that evolved over time and started to spark my interest in telling their stories as well!

I hope you enjoy Desert Deluge. A lot of people were involved – directly and indirectly – in bringing it to fruition and along the way, we had a lot of fun with it. Although it’s based in real locations, the book is still a work of fiction and liberties have been taken from time to time for narrative convenience. Ultimately all errors and omissions are mine.

The e-book is available at a very reasonable price, but I’m disappointed to say that the print version is very expensive, since as a first-time adult author it was only a limited print run.  For those who prefer a book in their hands to an e-reader, please consider asking your public library to purchase it, and read it through the library in the first instance. If, after reading it, you love it and want a copy for yourself (as I hope!) you can always buy an individual copy later.

If you read Desert Deluge, I would be grateful if you could please leave a review. Feedback, advice, and support are essential sustenance for authors: we evolve from our errors, and we grow through the support we receive.

A big thank you to Centred in Choice for believing in my capacity to finish this book. And to all those who unstintingly gave their support: Thank You!

Heather Gordon

30 March 2022

acknowledging working on Ngadjuri, Peramangk, Kaurna Country in the Barossa and Kokatha, Barngarla, Kuyani, Adnyamathanha Country around Andamooka and Lake Torrens

PS: There’s a sequel in progress, River Refuge, set in Covid times.  While exploring the real-life setting for the book, I’ve been taste-testing my way through a range of bakeries along the River Murray and the Murray Lands region. I have to say, I’m enjoying the research portion of this book a lot more than the first one!

22 June 2022

Acknowledging working on Ngarrindjeri, Nganguraku, Ngaiawang, Peramangk, Ngadjuri, Ngarkat Country of the Mid-Murray region.

Written by Heather Gordon

ISBN: 9780645125030
Published: 2022
Created in Australia
Available in print and e-book