Our home-grown writer

Dianne Dempsey | Bendigo Weekly | 12-Oct-2017

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Bendigo writer Kaye Dobbie, has been published in many languages and countries including the US and Germany.

“The Germans love my books,” Kaye said, clearly bemused. “They’ve really taken off there.” 

Sitting in the dining room of her charming Quarry Hill home, Dobbie said she was thrilled with her publisher’s response to her books and increased sales.

While her writing has explored several genres, including Australian historical fiction, Kaye’s latest book, Willow Tree Bend (Mira 2017) is a good example of the popular form of women’s fiction in which she specialises.

Willow Tree Bend switches between a young girl’s life as a cocktail waitress in a St Kilda nightclub in 1969 and her sister’s life in a country town in 2000. 

Kaye grew up on Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart so her penchant for murder, mystery and romance is no surprise. 

Exploring historical and modern stories demands a particular knowledge of those times and Kaye said one of her major resources is the State Library of Victoria.

“They’re wonderful. I usually send them an email and back will come the information,” she said. 

Her other source of information is her accountant husband Robin Dobbie who may not have her literary bent but has a wealth of factual information she can call upon.

“The only factual mistake I can think of that I made was getting the publishing date wrong for one of the Harry Potter books,” Ms Dobbie  said.

She said her ambitions as a writer were ignited when she won a local short story contest.

“It was the Big River short story contest and I was 18. I’ve been writing ever since,” she said.

“I did stop writing once for a year but I really missed it. I think writing is an important part of who I am.

“It’s also a distraction from other matters when you become absorbed in a book.”

Ms Dobbie said she doesn’t start with a plan. 

“Sometimes I will have two or three starts and then the story will start to reveal itself,” she said.  

“I always write several drafts of a book and then I sit back and wait for feedback from the publisher’s editors.

“They will usually do a structural edit and then a line edit. I find this part of the writing process relatively tedious but of course it has to be done. I’m generally a slow writer but the pressure is on at the moment.”

Ms Dobbie said publishers used to have an expectation that a book would take 12 months to write.

“That expectation is changing and the time to write the book is getting shorter,” she said.

On which note we bid farewell to Ms Dobbie and leave her to her latest, two-book contract.  

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