I’m on the downhill week of my stay at Varuna and I’ll be sad to leave this enchanted place.

I’ve been hard at work on my novel. Last week, I met with Carol Major, one of the consultants here, who gave me some wise and valuable suggestions for my novel. I’ve taken on board at least ninety per cent of what she said, and made the changes. I knew most of the flaws already, but I didn’t know how to fix them—she helped me see what I had to do.

I feel as if the novel is much better for the changes, more cohesive and more focused. In previous drafts, the scenes were more like a meandering path that somehow led the reader to the end. There were a few scenic routes, and a couple of tracks that weren’t terribly well-marked. A few dead ends, too. While the scenic pathway is nice, some of my routes existed only for the scenery and didn’t contribute to the story. They had to go. As Carol said, ‘Save them for your next book …’


In between writing, I pulled my camera out and took more photos of Varuna, this time of inside the house. I changed the images into black and white because coming here does feel like stepping back in time. The house is unchanged from when the Dark’s lived here—except for a few modern conveniences, like central heating, a front-loading washing machine, and a dishwasher.

Staying here has been like stepping back to another era in other ways, too. Back to a time when days were quieter, when life was slower, when houses had big gardens. It’s been a wonderful couple of weeks free of commitments, free of worries, and free of anything other than writing my novel …

Sitting Room

Sitting room in morning light

Dr Dark's Rock-climbing photos

Dr Dark’s rock-climbing photos in the sitting room

Bookcase in lounge

One of the many bookcases in the house – this one is in the lounge

Lounge Room

A peaceful corner of the lounge

Dr Dark's study

Mantelpiece in Dr Dark’s study



Bathroom taps!

Bath taps – I am a plumber’s daughter, after all!

Painting of Varuna

Painting of Varuna – I couldn’t do this one justice in black and white

Next week, it’s back to Perth and back to reality, but at least I’ll get to meet this little bundle who has joined our family since I’ve been away …

The newest addition to our family, Liesel.

Meet Liesel the Labrador