When you read ‘The Lovers’, you will probably feel familiar with the setting and the landmarks. That’s because author Catherine Rey lives in Otford and has set her new book right here in the Northern Illawarra and surrounds.
She’s lived in Otford for ten years, drawing inspiration from the environment and the people. But it wasn’t until she stumbled on the derelict Heathcote Hall that the book really took shape.
“I write from my own life and my own experience,” she says. “My books are filled with people I have met and things that have happened. I then write them into stories, for example in ‘The Lovers’ I have called Otford ‘Longland’.
“A few years ago I saw a turret sticking out of the bush so I went looking for it, and stumbled on Heathcote Hall. I did some research and discovered the incredible mansion was built in 1873 by the man who made all the bricks for the railway tunnels and from the glass pyramid at the top you can see Bundeena! I believe it was also a dance hall after the war. It was so beautiful, mysterious and frightening, almost ghostly, so I walked around and took some photos, and I have worked the Hall into my story.”
An established author, French-born Catherine has written nine books in total, but this is her first in English.
‘The Lovers’ is a quirky thriller which follows the disappearance of a young girl, documenting as five monologues the statements taken regarding her disappearance.
Catherine will speak about her book and her process in an Author Talk at Helensburgh Library on 20 June, at 10.30am.