Born and brought up in Scotland, and attracted by advertisements to ‘Come and Teach in the Sun’, I immigrated to Australia in my twenties to teach in primary schools in Sydney. I now live with my husband of almost thirty years near Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. I love walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the Noosa River on weekends. After spending many years in teaching, lecturing and education management, where I wrote course materials and reports, I began writing the sort of books I enjoy reading, books about women in their prime, their issues and relationships. Now my days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – my idea of heaven! I continues my love of books as a volunteer with Friends of Noosaville Library where I help organise author talks and select and deliver books to the housebound.
The Sand Dollar is the first book in my Oregon Coast Series. I have been to that part of the world many times to visit my mother-in-law who sadly passed away earlier this year just weeks after her 100th birthday. These trips drew me to the location and encouraged me to set a series of books there. My husband’s Native American heritage also played a part in my decision to include a Native American in the tale (more about her in book 2). I began writing this book when, like Jenny, I was working in an educational management position in Health and facing a redundancy, but the similarities of our journeys ends there. All of my books feature the more mature woman who I believe faces different challenges from her younger counterparts, but who also wants and deserves to have a HEA.
THE SAND DOLLAR
What if you discover everything you believed to be true about yourself has been a lie?
Stunned by news of an impending redundancy, and impelled by the magic of a long-forgotten sand dollar, Jenny retreats to her godmother in Oregon to consider her future.
What she doesn’t bargain for is to uncover the secret of her adoption at birth and her Native American heritage. This revelation sees her embark on a journey of self-discovery such as she’d never envisaged.
Moving between Australia’s Sunshine Coast and the Oregon Coast, The Sand Dollar is a story of new beginnings, of a woman whose life is suddenly turned upside down, and the reclusive man who helps her solve the puzzle of her past.
“You’ll never guess.” Jenny bounced into Rosa’s office smiling.
“You look as if you’ve won the lottery. What’s happened?”
“I’ve had this crazy idea. I know what to do, at least, what I’m going to do next.” Jenny suddenly felt exhausted and sank into a chair.
“What?” Rosa swung her chair round to face Jenny. “What’s cheered you up like this?”
Jenny took the sand dollar out of her pocket turned it over and over in her fingers. “I found this last night. I’ve had it for most of my life, but it’s been hidden away.”
“Is it something special to you?” Rosa reached over to take the object, but Jenny closed her fist over it and gripped it tightly.
“It’s a sand dollar. It comes from Oregon. And… and when I was a child I believed it was magic.” Jenny smiled in reminiscence. “Amazing what we choose to believe as children. My godmother told me that it was mermaid’s money and would always bring me good luck. I found it on the weekend when I was doing some clearing out.”
Rosa cleared her throat, but remained silent. She appeared to be waiting while Jenny gathered her thoughts. Jenny continued.
“I know this sounds crazy, but it occurred to me it’s a sign. A sign I should visit her.” The words sounded strange, even to Jenny. Was the normally clear-headed Jenny actually suggesting she should visit Oregon on the basis of having found a sand dollar she’d picked up over fifty years ago? Looking up, she saw Rosa gazing at her intently.
“What would take you to Oregon?”
‘I know. I sound crazy, but Maddy’s there.”
“Maddy.” Jenny closed her eyes as she imagined herself being welcomed into her godmother’s arms. She could almost smell the wood smoke from the stove. It had always been lit. The tang of smoke had mingled with the smell of the timber in the walls of her godmother’s home. Scenes flashed through her mind: Maddy’s warm embrace, the comfort of the old house, the wild ocean beach; running against the wind, collecting shells and driftwood; the never-ending supply of food. She shook herself. These were childhood memories. She hadn’t been there for years. She opened her eyes again. “Maddy’s my godmother.”
“Have you kept in touch with her at all?” Rosa queried. “Or is she a stranger to you?”
“Oh yes, we’ve kept in touch. It was only Christmas and birthdays, the usual things, till Mum died. Gosh, that was about ten years ago now. Then we began to communicate more often. Maddy’s even on email. Quite tech savvy for someone of her advanced years.” Jenny laughed.
“Well, sounds like you have a plan.”
“It may be a crazy idea, but I’m going to visit Maddy in Oregon. It’ll give me time to decide what to do with my life, but whatever it is it won’t be with this organization, that’s for sure. It’ll be something completely different.”
“Good on you. You know, I read about women like you the other day.”
“Women like me?”
“Women who change direction at sixty. They’re calling you downagers.”
“Downagers,” she savored the word, “I think I like that, though it may be a bit too much like dowagers.” She laughed again. “That’s what I’ll be, a downager. You mean you think it’s a good idea? It would get me out of this place and if I stay here I’ll either vegetate or die.”
“That’s a bit strong.” Rosa was pretending to look shocked, but both of them knew of several staff who had developed serious illnesses during the past year. “Though I know what you mean. I may not stay long myself.”
“You’re safe. They won’t get rid of the finance staff. Still, it wouldn’t do you any harm to look around. It’s a bit like deserting the sinking ship, though it may not be actually sinking, just going round in circles.”
Rosa smiled. “Great to see that sense of humor coming out again. It’s been a serious few weeks.”
Amazon US http://amzn.to/1wsZDi3
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1nG99g6
Amazon AU bit.ly/1zuukqF
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