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Bookings are now open for my three 2020 residential writing retreats, co-tutored with RNA Chair Alison May. Details can be found here.

The Cape Adare and her Journey

The Cape Adare is based on the cruise ship in which I sailed almost but not quite to the North Pole.

MS Trollfjord

MS Trollfjord at Tromsø

The MS Trollfjord was not one of the great white ships – the floating hotels – that ply the tropical cruise routes. It was a smaller ship from the Hurtigruten cruise company – that was as much about delivering supplies to the remote fishing villages on the Norwegian fjords as it was about the tourists who were along for the ride.

As always, I mapped the setting for my story. First I took the plan of a ship – and added a few changes that were necessary for the things I wanted to do to my characters. I also made sure to mark the cabins where my main characters were staying.

I borrowed a ship layout from Hurtigruten, made my modifications and kept it close as I was writing – so I would always know what deck my characters were on – and where they we going.

Cabin 642

Cabin 642 was drawn onto a Hurtigruten deck plan

And the route? I researched Antarctic cruises – most of which go from South America. There are cruises from New Zealand, but I was surprised to discover that Australia is not usually a starting point for that sort of cruise. Australian cruises tend to head north to the tropics.

I saw no reason why my fictional journey couldn’t start in southern Australia … so I studied distances and ship speeds and came up with an itinerary for such a cruise.

Of course – it didn’t happen quite like that … there was the storm, and the rescue…

Cape Adare's Route to the Antarctic

The Cape Adare’s Route to the Antarctic

If I’m very lucky – maybe one day I can do this for real.


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Writing retreats 2020 - Intensive tutor-led retreats with Janet Gover and Alison May

Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild OneColorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild One
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