Nicola Marsh, author of Long Way Home, told us all about her inspiration for her book.
Long Way Home holds a special place in my heart. It’s my first mainstream novel set in Australia and is inspired by a town I love: Echuca. My folks took me to this small town on the Murray River when I was a kid. Riding the paddle steamers is incredibly peaceful and makes me feel like I’ve taken a step back in time. Strolling along the historic port district has a vibe of its own and the main street is filled with interesting shops. It seemed only natural that I take my kids there too and it was on one of these trips that the idea for Long Way Home was born.
We’d just passed through Rochester when my youngest, about three at the time, asked the inevitable ‘are we there yet?’ I knew we had at least another thirty minutes until we reached Echuca and as he asked the question again I wished there was a roadhouse halfway between the towns. The kind of roadhouse dotted throughout Europe, with fantastic dining rooms serving a great array of food, and stocking everything anyone could need.
When I toured through Europe on a coach twenty-two years ago, I looked forward to stopping at those roadhouses, each one unique yet the same as the one before. The hot meals served were hearty and delicious, as was the lighter fare of baguettes stuffed with creamy cheeses, with the added bonus of a wide array of Lindt chocolate in every shop.
That’s the type of roadhouse I wished for in country Victoria…and Long Way Home was born.
It’s the kind of roadhouse that brings townsfolk together. It’s a beacon to weary travellers and truckies, who can sleep off fatigue in the motel attached to it. The diner serves amazing meals and bands play regular gigs on a Friday and Saturday night.
I could see the roadhouse so clearly in my imagination and the entire plot of Long Way Home evolved around it.
I wanted the roadhouse to be the centrepiece of the story, a place where every character in the story has a vested interest, a place that signifies family.
I imagined young people finishing school and wanting to escape the small town for the attraction of the big city. Yet what would happen if those same people had to return a decade later out of familial obligation?
That’s the drawcard of the roadhouse. It brings people together but it can also rip them apart. Ruby wants to keep it, Connor wants to tear it down, while Alisha, Tash and Harry are caught in the middle. And the entire town soon gets in on the act to save it.
While my fictional town of Brockenridge is set halfway between Echuca and Swan Hill on the Victorian-New South Wales border, it’s Echuca I imagined while writing it and I can’t wait to visit my favourite town again soon.
From USA Today bestselling Australian author Nicola Marsh comes a warm and winsome rural romance about second chances and belonging.
A prodigal daughter returns to Brockenridge…
Eleven years ago Ruby Aston left Brockenridge – and its small-town gossip – for the anonymity of the big city. Now, a grieving Ruby is forced to come home to the place she loathes. But it also means returning to someone she’s always regretted leaving behind…
Connor Delaney is determined to prove himself and not get by on his family name alone. To do this he needs to acquire the local roadhouse. He never anticipated the owner would be the same ‘bad girl’ who ditched him at the high school ball and was never heard from again.
For Alisha Nathieson, the grief of suddenly losing her dear friend and employer Clara Aston has forced her to examine her choice to stay and support her ageing parents. As she battles a growing need to explore her past, temptation wars with duty. And then there are her feelings for handsome chef Harry, who has secrets of his own…
In following their hearts, will this unlikely trio lose what they’ve craved all along?