Jane Carter will launch her third book, Prodigal Daughter, at the Narrandera Library on Wednesday, September 6.
Ms Carter and her husband moved to Narrandera, where they run their livestock transport company and breed Corriedale sheep, in 2015.
What began as an idea after the kids left home has billowed out into three novels for Ms Carter.
“All my kids left home. I had five children, and it was a bit of a shock. So I went to a writers’ group in Goulburn,” Ms Carter said. “The group set targets for how much you’d write. It was only supposed to be 500 words a month. Well, the first month it was 500 words, and the next month it was 1000, and then it was 1,500.
“It was suggested by someone in the group there was book trying to get out, and so I gave it a go.
“I put November 17 on top of the page and I started. I had no idea where I was going, but I went. I said to myself, anyone can write a Mills and Boon. So I wrote until I got to 50,000 words, because that’s the required length of a Mills and Boon.”
Her first book was published by Doubleday Australia.
“Which was quite a shock. How I did it I don’t know. It’s still a mystery,” Ms Carter said. “Luckily my daughter, who has been in the industry for some years, had a friend at Double-day and she asked her if the editor could read my book. Then she read it and said yes, I love it and I would love to publish it but it will need some work. Then I had to knuckle down and concentrate.
“And then I joined the Romance Writers Association. It took me another five years to get my second book published, High Country Secrets, and this was as an e-book, through Pan McMillan.”
Writing is a very organic process for Ms Carter.
“They had an article called ‘Are you a plotter or a pantser?’. A plotter plots everything. They know where the characters are going and what’s going to happen and they get it all down before they start writing. A pantser flies by the seat of their pants.
“Everyone tells you you’ve got to be a plotter. I realised I was legal!
“I love my characters. My husband would come home and find out what the kids were up to and what my characters were up to.”
Prodigal Daughter will be published by Harlequin, and released as both an e-book and in print. Throughout her writing career Ms Carter has found the camaraderie and support from the Romance Writers Association to be invaluable.
“When I started, Rural Romance was just starting. Stories about country people, people who lived in small towns, there wasn’t a lot around. So I was very lucky, because when my book wound up in front of a publisher they wanted it.”