Julie McCullough has recently had her first novel published.
Julie McCullough has recently had her first novel published. Brenda Strong

Local author fulfills lifelong dream by publishing novel

IT HAS spent 20 years locked away in the cupboard, but local author Julie McCullough has dug an old story out of the darkness to fulfil a lifelong dream.

Her first independently published novel, Of Wolves and Wildflowers, has garnered attention from young and old.

"I have a 90-year-old lady even raring to read it," she said.

Although she said there were a few "sexy bits" they were tastefully done and she said the novel would appeal to anyone over the age of 17.

The romantic thriller tells the tale of four people on a journey to love amid obstacles, lies and brutal deception.

McCullough, who resides at a farm in Rosedale with her husband, Richard and two children, Ayla, 9 and Dylan, 11, wrote the novel 20 years ago and decided to retrieve it from a closet and dust it off.

"I basically threw it in the cupboard and forgot about it and then decided this year to redo the whole thing, change it and update it," she said.

While updating it, she realised there had been significant social and technological changes since she put it away.

"I mean, some of the characters didn't even have mobile phones!" she said with a laugh.

She completely changed the ending, but she won't be giving out any spoilers.

"I'm not going to tell you if there is a happy ever after or not … but I will say there is a twist at the end."

The 48-year-old recalled taking part in a writing course in the early 90s and since then has had a number of short stories and feature articles published.

Julie McCullough has recently had her first novel published.
Julie McCullough has recently had her first novel published. Brenda Strong

Creating her own characters is one of her favourite parts of writing.

She said some of the characters say and do things that she would have done in their situation.

Characteristics of her friends and acquaintances are drawn upon for inspiration too.

But despite feeling a strong connection to all of the characters, she said she does have a favourite.

I was always thinking - I would carry a little notepad in my pocket and jot down little things all the time.

"Definitely Luke, I fell in love with him!

"The scenes with Mo and Pete were a lot of fun to write. I was literally laughing out loud as I was typing some of those."

She said for as long as she can remember, she has always wanted to publish a novel.

"I was on the edge of my seat as I typed, for the final few climactic chapters, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen.

"There were also times I walked away from the computer wiping tears from my eyes, and just feeling emotionally drained.

"There are some raw emotions in that story."

Mrs McCullough said she could get inspiration for a scene, character or chapter at any time.

"Back then, I would walk along the beach at Mudgeeraba every morning and always think of a chapter or a scene in my head and I would go home and write it down and go off to work.

"I was always thinking - I would carry a little notepad in my pocket and jot down little things all the time."

Now that her first book is completed, she already has plans for her second.

"It's going to be a true story based on my family in the late 50s and early 60s living in hard rural times."

As for those aspiring to fulfil a goal, the motivational mum had a piece of advice.

"I heard a new saying earlier in the year on Facebook, 'Chase your dreams, don't just follow them'.

"I thought, that is so true, it doesn't matter what you want, if you work hard enough at it, you can get there," she said.

Mrs McCullough's novel launch will be held at the tiny tea house at Rosedale on Sunday, December 8.

For more information, see her website, juliemcculloughnovels.com.au.

What is the book about? Twisting tale of love and grudges

JO MEETS handsome rock star Luke at his band's concert on the Sunshine Coast.

Sparks quickly fly between the two and, later, Luke invites her back to Perth with him.

She hesitates, but after a terrifying ordeal at the hands of her ex, she eagerly accepts.

Meanwhile, Pete is found badly beaten up in a Sydney alley.

Julie McCullough's novel Of Wolves and Wildflowers.
Julie McCullough's novel Of Wolves and Wildflowers. Contributed

He secures a lift with a loud and colourful lady, Mo.

Their road trip is filled with some very adventurous, memorable, funny and best-forgotten-and-not-mentioned-again moments.

In Perth, old friends reunite, but old grudges and resentments also reignite, simmering until they reach breaking point.

Jo is perturbed by Luke's brother David's attention to her.

Blissful lives are soon shattered by assumptions of betrayal.

But as the truth comes out, the tables are turned.

Secrets, lies and brutal deception are exposed.

In a frantic race against time, whose lives will be lost and whose will be saved?