Retired teacher achieving international writing success
WRITER Annie Seaton finds inspiration everywhere she looks.
The former Dorrigo High School principal, academic researcher and Nambucca Heads resident has found an absorbing third-age career as a novelist since she retired six years ago and in the process has invented a new genre, 'eco-adventure romance' or 'activism romance'.
Her new book, Daintree, hits bookshop shelves on November 29.
After a lifetime interest in fiction, Annie began writing seriously at the age of 55 and took just six weeks to land her first contract with an American publisher.
Always a driven professional, she is now the author of 26 titles, including e-books and self-published books, in categories from steam punk to historical romance and admits she still struggles with work-life balance.
The Nambucca Valley was the backdrop for Holiday Affair, the 2012 novel with an American publisher which propelled her to the front line of the romance genre.
Her first printed book was Kakadu Sunset, published last year by Pan Macmillan.
Her new novel, Daintree, has been described as crisp, tense and fast-moving and Its author has been credited as "raising the bar for rural fiction."
Annie said it was a unique thrill to see her work on bookshop shelves alongside novels by authors she admired.
She is currently racing to finish the third book in the trilogy featuring the Porter sisters, this time set in the east Kimberley.
The series deals not just with family and relationships, but with topics like political corruption, mining, wildlife smuggling, environmental challenges and medical issues..
Each year since her retirement Annie and her husband Ian, who is still teaching, spend months exploring Australia and what they have found has been much more than scenery; it has raised a range of issues about the future of many parts of Australia.
Their trusty canvas-topped camper trailer has just been replaced by a comfortable caravan - "We've gone to the dark side," Annie said.
While it is these travels that give the author the locations and themes for her books, she says her characters are not drawn from life but spring from her fertile imagination. She even enjoys endowing faces in checkout queues with imaginary backgrounds and histories and taking them on literary adventures.
While exploring and writing might be fun, she says marketing and digital media are essential tools for success in today's marketplace.
Her years of experience as the technical consultant for 50 schools on the North Coast has proved an excellent background for the two to three hours daily she spends working on promotion and social media.
All her favourite digital tools go with her wherever she goes - even if it means editing a manuscript with her laptop, iPhone and Apple watch wedged between the ironing board and the dryer in the laundry of a North Queensland caravan park..
Annie, who works at least four full days every week, also provides an international editing service and mentors aspiring writers.
Her writing is also helping to support local causes.
Last year a fund raising launch of her novel Kakadu Sunset raised money for the Nambucca Surf Life Saving Club and this month the launch of Daintree,by Nambucca Shire Mayor Rhonda Hoban, was once again a benefit for the surf club.
Annie's husband Ian was born and raised in the Nambucca Valley, the couple moved to Nambucca Heads in 1989 and their children and grandchildren have now moved back to the town.
Her writing name, Seaton (sea town) is taken from her home.
"My husband's grandparents settled at Argents Creek in the Nambucca Valley in 1879," Annie said.
"His paternal grandparents then travelled by bullock dray to Cow Creek at Valla rural in 1906, so we have a long and strong familial connection to the Nambucca.
"I love this area and its wonderful history.
"One day I will write a fictional account of the shipwreck on Wellington Rock at the river mouth."
Meet the author.
Interested readers have a number of chances to meet and listen to Annie Seaton this month.
She will talk about her new book, Daintree, at Coffs Harbour's Harry Bailey Memorial Library on November 30 - 5.30pm for a 6pm start. On December 3 she will be signing books at Coffs Harbour's Book Warehouse from 11am until 2pm.
Writing Journeys will be Annie's topic at Nambucca Library in Ridge St, Nambucca Heads, on December 1 from 10.30am.
Researching Books in the Aussie Outback will be the title of her talk at Grafton Public Library in Pound St from 12.30-1.30pm on December 8.,
On December 10 she will be signing books at Port Macquarie's Book Face, at Port Central from 11am to 2pm.