Region inspires author

Major high-end publishing company Allen and Unwin will publish its next novel with a setting in the Penola and Coonawarra region.

The fifth rural romance novel by ex-Millicent journalist Maya Linnell will hit the bookstands in mid-2023.

Ms Linnell said her first four books had dealt with the four feisty McIntyre sisters and had been set in western Victoria.

“The main character of my next book will be female and an only child,” Ms Linnell said.

“I am not sure whether she will be a vigneron or a winemaker.”

Ms Linnell was speaking at the national launch of her fourth romance novel Paperbark Hill which took place at the Millicent Public Library.

She was interviewed by her long-time friend and ABC Radio presenter Rebekah Lowe.

“There was so much love in the room on Friday night at the very first launch event for Paperbark Hill,” Ms Linnell said.

“Over 90 folks braved the weather for my hometown celebrations, including friends who drove over six hours specially for it.

“Many thanks to everyone who attended, the Millicent Library and the Portland Newsagency for coming to the rescue and selling books at late notice.

“I was very pleased to have sold and signed all the copies of Paperbark Hill.

“There’s nothing quite like a hometown crowd to make an author feel special!”

Millicent library manager Janice Nitschke said the friendship between Ms Linnell and Ms Lowe began at the library almost 20 years ago.

“We are proud to say this friendship is a result of both being booklovers and borrowers who met through our library many moons ago,” Ms Nitschke said.

“The audience on Friday night was treated to an inside look of how her books come together and the inspiration behind some of the story lines.”

Running to almost 400 pages, Paperbark Hill is dedicated to Ms Linnell’s brothers Harley and Tom and sister Zoe.

Photos from the author’s garden near Portland are featured on the front cover of Paperbark Hill.

Among the 90 well-wishers in attendance were her 93-year-old paternal grandmother Pamela Linnell, of Beachport.

She travelled with 12 others to the book launch aboard the mini bus operated by the Lions Club of Beachport and Rivoli Bay.

“I am thrilled to be here at the book launch,” she said.

“Maya is a beautiful girl and generous with her love for all of her family.”

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