Category Archives: Locations

In my fiction, some bits are real

As I begin to write my 4th Belleville novel, I was reflecting on my pleasure in having my fictional characters inhabit a world that is not entirely fictional. I enjoy grounding my characters in real environments, (where practical, I hasten to add).

I originally set out to write a trilogy. With that completed, I still felt there was more to write about the Belleville family as the next generation comes to adulthood. So watch this space.

Scattered throughout my books you’ll find references to real places (some pictured above) – in Book 1, Julia’s Story, St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral (Rockhampton) and the Criterion Hotel (Rockhampton) are important backdrops to the story.

Among my treasured possessions is a powder compact, ironically from 1942, which belonged to my mother’s younger sister. She died at 16 from pernicious anaemia – an entirely preventable disease these days – long before I was born but my mother kept some keepsakes of her sister. This small item (pictured above) is described in Book 1 as a gift to Julia.

There are many other examples of events and places that are real throughout my Belleville trilogy. Can you spot them?

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THE BELLEVILLE TRILOGY - http://jmarymasters.com

Book 1: Julia's Story
Book 2: To Love, Honour & Betray
Book 3: Return to Prior Park

Brisbane – then and now, from a writer’s viewpoint

I was in Brisbane earlier this week. Readers of my Belleville trilogy will know that Brisbane features in the story from time to time (but in its 1940s guise).

As I walked along Brisbane’s streets this week, I realised how much change had happened in the intervening years.

70+ years on, Brisbane is a modern city with some fine early buildings and a multi-cultural feel. It almost felt like a European city with its inner city open air market.

The Wednesday city market, which I hadn’t seen before, was great – food stalls from many cuisines, fresh fruit and vegetables from Brisbane’s highly-productive hinterland and some delicacies too – wonderful Portugese tarts.

I think June (winter) is the best time to visit Brisbane. It was bright and sunny, around 25 degrees C.

One landmark remains quite unchanged from the 1940s, certainly from the outside. The Queensland Club, of which one of my fictional characters was a member, still commands the prime spot opposite the Botanic Gardens in Alice Street. Check it out here – members only of course.

I have been to the Queensland Club once for a dinner. It’s every bit as grand as it appears.

And, of course, the Botanic Gardens that featured briefly in Book 1 would be as recognisable today, with its great towering fig trees pushing against the wrought iron fence, the legacy of an earlier era.

I had such fun incorporating these real places into my story. In what might seem like a straightforward family saga/romance, there is real history, real people and real events providing the framework for my fictional narrative.

European settlement of Brisbane dates from 1824 with its beginnings as a penal colony. If you’re planning a trip to Brisbane, take a walk along George Street for the best preserved landmark buildings that bear testament to the city’s colonial heritage. Of course, thousands of years before white settlement, Australia’s first people occupied the area.