Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Jack Byrne for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Dingo Run (Bushrangers 3)
Author: Jack Byrne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
New South Wales, Australia, 1876. As captured outlaws, Jim Kelly and Mark Turner face the gallows. Help comes from an unexpected quarter, but their hasty escape goes wrong and now Jim’s life hangs by a thread. Mark is driven by desperation to form an alliance with an infamous bushranger who may hold clues to his mysterious past. But as Jim and Mark’s relationship intensifies, it is also tested. Their secret is discovered, tempers fray, and jealousy flares.
Hello, and thank you so much for hosting me on your blog! I appreciate it!
How is Australia different from other countries?
I had a reader query Jim’s response to Mark in the first page of Walkabout when Mark asks why Jim wants to head in a certain direction, towards the mountains. Jim’s response is simply, “Water” and Mark accepts this without question. The reader said I should have explained that better. Had they run out of water? Did Jim want a swim?
I sat there shaking my head, then realized, ‘This reader just doesn’t know how dry Australia is.’
So, I guess I need to explain that a bit. Australia is basically a desert, with a thin band of greenery and some mountain ranges around the coastlines. Even that ‘greenery’ is not lush. It consists of tough, drought-resistant native grasses and trees spread thinly over a shallow layer of soil. Most of our water is underground, or in several large rivers. A lot of our creeks and streams are seasonal, that is they only have water in them when it’s raining.
If you set out riding from where I am now, about 100 km inland of the east coast, you would ride your horse into trouble, because horses need about 100 litres of water a day to even survive in this springtime heat. When they’re working like Regret and Shiloh, covering about 20 to 40 km a day, you can add another 50 to 100 litres to that. You’d have to follow a stream bed and probably dig for water at the moment because the creeks aren’t running. You’d be lucky to find any then.
The countryside out here can be deceptive, because it can look green and lovely (to a native Australian, that is) but there can be no water for 100 miles. The local eucalyptus trees have adapted to the hot, dry climate by having oily sap instead of watery sap, and can survive for many weeks, even months without water. They have tap roots that go 100 foot into the ground to access underground aquifers. Try planting a non-native tree out here and you will soon see how quickly it withers up, turns brown and dies from lack of water.
(And that’s the lush part of the country. There is a line west of here, I would never ride a horse out over because that’s where you’re getting into the vast interior desert of Australia. I might try it one day with a camel, a GPS and maybe a helicopter escort. Don’t hold your breath waiting for me to do that though.)
So even in the scrub country just near the back of the Great Dividing Range, when Jim wanted to head back for the mountains, it was a survival issue for all of them; Mark, Jim and the two mares. Where there are mountains, there are streams.
The lack of water over the millennia has also meant that there is less erosion and less soil cover over the land, too. The ground out here is often rock-hard. (I know, I’ve fallen off horses onto it often enough). So the descriptions of Mark and Jim trimming down their horse’s feet carefully every couple of weeks are accurate too. What do you do with a lame horse, when you need to keep moving to avoid the law? You have two choices; if you are a long way from water you need to shoot that horse because otherwise it is going to die slowly and horribly because it can’t get move fast enough to get back to water. If you’re lucky and there’s water nearby, you have to ask yourself is that water permanent enough that you can release the horse near it and know that it will survive long-term? Either way, you’ve lost the use of the horse. That’s why Mark and Jim are so fussy about caring for their horses’ feet and legs. They don’t want Regret or Shiloh to go lame, because that could be a death sentence for the horses. And they do care about their horses, although I’m pretty sure both of them would rather have their throats slit than admit it LOL.
And WATER. Yep, in this country it’s a rare and precious resource. Most of it is underground. That’s why there are Australian’s all over the country protesting against fracking over here, and why the oil and gas companies are finding themselves up against whole communities declaring themselves coal-seam gas free. We don’t have any water to spare. You spoil our limited supply, and we all die.
About the Author:
Jack Byrne is an Australian who lives and works in the Australian outback training horses, doing farm work, and trying to stay out of trouble. He writes from experience (sometimes unfortunate experience!) and has been shot at (“a case of mistaken identity”) and bitten by a snake before. He writes on a laptop with a satellite connection and likes to ride or drive out to locations he is writing about to get a real feel for the surroundings.
He is happy to hear from readers. He can’t promise an instant reply as he goes out working sometimes for a week or so, but he will get back to readers as soon as he can.
Twitter: @JackByrneAuthor https://twitter.com/JackByrneAuthor
GoodReads Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2040451.Jack_Byrne/blog
Jack Byrne has kindly offered a eCopy of book 2, Walkabout to 2 lucky commenters
Locally held contests will end 7 days from original posting date at 8pm CDT. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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