Publication day today! Castle of Dreams is finally winging its way out into the world. I can’t tell you how much the characters in the story mean to me. If they walked through my door right now I’d know them.
I am so happy to have Allen and Unwin as my publisher and Cappelen Damm as my Norwegian publisher.
Wine and chocolates have arrived all the way from my dear friend Bernie in Perth, WA and lots of wonderful messages of congratulations from family and friends.
Tony nodded. ‘I noticed her beauty, of course–what man wouldn’t notice a beautiful woman?–but what I fell for was her ability to make anyone she spoke to feel special, as though you were of the utmost importance to her.’ He paused, looking slightly embarrassed. ‘What I mean is that Viv had the quality of grace.’
I tried to picture the two sisters as they must have been: Rose in a swing-skirt, her copper-coloured hair, shot through with gold, in waves over her shoulders; Vivien stretched out on the lawn reading a magazine, wearing a lilac-coloured dress and a gardenia in her dark hair. The world they’d inhabited in those distant days at Castillo de Suenos was no more, but I could see them as clearly as if it were today.
As her eyes become accustomed to the dark she glanced to her left and noticed the American looking at her. She felt herself colouring up and wished William had sat in the back seat with him instead of her.
The American smiled. ‘It sure feels good to be safe, ma’am.’
Then, William turned around, his expression impassive. ‘Vivien, you’ll have to make up the guest room with clean sheets when we arrive home.’
‘Yes, of course,’ she said, quickly.
‘Thank you both for your help,’ said the American.
When Vivien looked at him he held her gaze, she blushed again, but she didn’t turn away.
Ruby (the mother of Vivien and Rose)
Her mother picked up Vivien’s cup and offered to read her tea-leaves. Vivien laughed. ‘Oh, go on then. It’s been a while, Ma.’
Ruby inspected the tea-leaves. A slight frown flickered across her face, and she glanced at her elder daughter. Seeing Vivien watching her, she smiled. ‘You’ve always had a fortunate future, Viv.’
Vivien sniffed. ‘Ma, you always leave out the bad parts when you read my cup. Come on, what can you see?’
Her mother laughed uncomfortably, turned the cup around. ‘I see two parrots–surely that’s lucky.’
Stella (Rose’s granddaughter)
These days I travelled Australia and the world taking photographs, always looking forward to my next assignment, yet on my last morning in Vietnam I’d walked the streets, breathing in the smell of piquant spices, the sounds of traffic and voices all around me, wishing I could stay longer.
‘Your old school friend Jack rang us when you were in Vietnam. He’s a pleasant chap,’ said my father interuppting my thoughts. Turning onto the highway, he drove steadily, past cane fields, paddocks speckled with grazing cattle, and a little country cemetery enclosed within an iron-railed fence.
At school, Jack and I had been good mates. Not long after I’d moved to Sydney, I’d visited him in his flat in an old subdivided mansion in King’s Cross. My eyes ran over the piles of books and the reproduction Renaissance Madonnas in gilt frames he’d started to collect.
There are other characters in Castle of Dreams: William, Tony, Harry, Margaret, Florence, Maggie, Edie and others but Castillo de Suenos the Castle of Dreams is of course another character.
Castillo de Suenos (aka Paronella Park)