Monday, 16 January 2012

Writing Historical Fiction: Gunnedah Hero

Historical fiction is a personal favourite of mine and today Buzz Words Books has the privilege of participating in the Gunnedah Hero blog tour. Author Clancy Tucker gives us an insight into why and how he writes historical fiction:

G’day. Sadly, very little Aussie history is taught in our schools today, yet I can still rattle off dates and facts that I learnt in primary school. Before I wrote my Aussie historic adventure, Gunnedah Hero, I contacted a very senior person in the curriculum branch of the Victorian Education Department, wanting to know what Aussie history was taught in our schools. The answer I received was stunning, ‘Not much at all. Kids find it boring.’ That comment inspired me to write a story that contained hidden historical facts within a great yarn.

I believe we need to pay more attention to our extraordinary past. We have such a rich tapestry of events – discovery, early settlers, the Rum Rebellion, the Eureka Stockade, the Wave Hill Walk Off etc. We are only where we are because of those who have gone before us, and my book, Gunnedah Hero, pays homage to their efforts. I write historic Australian fiction because I have a fascination with, and appreciation of, Australian history. Hopefully, this book will inspire teens to read more about our past, and maybe realise how well off we are today.

This book contains two stories in one – 1910 (Smokey) and 2010 (Gunnie). Readers will find wonderful connections between the main protagonist, Gunnie, and his great-great-grandfather, Smokey ‘Gun’ Danson. Although they are 100 years apart in the story, they are both fourteen-years-of-age. Gunnie’s full name is Gunnedah Swenson Danson; named after Smokey who became known as the ‘Gunnedah Hero’ in 1911. Also, Gunnie’s middle name is the maiden name of his great-great-grandmother, Molly Jane Swenson. Gunnie wears both names with greater pride after he finishes reading an extraordinary manuscript left by Smokey in the attic at Wiralee Station – the story of his epic journey up the long paddock in 1910.

Throughout the story, there are wonderful moments where Gunnie admires the spirit of Smokey and appreciates how tough it was for our pioneers. Being the same age as Smokey was in 1910, Gunnie appreciates the resilience, dedication and integrity of his great-great-grandfather – alone with cattle in a drought, coping with all sorts of disasters along the way without modern technology or luxuries. Reading Smokey’s story at Wiralee Station makes Gunnie realise how much hard work has gone into making Wiralee the most drought-free station in Australia.

Gunnedah Hero is suitable for anyone from 8 to 80 years-of-age. Already, senior citizens have acclaimed it as having a realistic, honest, and detailed account of the life and times around 1910. The sequel, ‘A Drover’s Blanket’ is finished and I am currently working on book three, ‘Magic Billie’. Gunnedah Hero is Smokey’s story.  A Drover’s Blanket is Molly’s sad story. Magic Billie will be about Smokey’s closest mate, a wonderful Aboriginal drover he met on the ‘long paddock’ during one of Australia’s worst droughts in which Australia lost 19,000,000 sheep and 2,000,000 cattle.

Writing, or bossing words around, is an absolute pleasure for me. I climb into my character’s heads and provide the reader with a realistic view of each character. How? I choose real people I know to be my characters. That way, I know exactly how they will react to certain situations and can easily describe their anger, reactions, speech, laughter, humour or fears; even the scar on their face, a crooked tooth or a slight limp.

Reading books provides something unique that movies, DVDs and mobile phones do not – the use of your imagination. It is my job as an author to incite that imagination, keep my readers enthralled, conjure up a situation or a scene, and leave my readers wondering what will happen next.

At the bottom of my letterhead is a comment I truly believe, ‘Books are cool. They take you away to awesome places.’

Clancy Tucker

Gunnedah Hero is available as a paperback from and
EBook available from Smashwords:

GIVE-AWAY: As a part of this blog tour, Morris Publishing Australia and Clancy Tucker are giving three eBooks to readers of the blogs. Go to and use the form on the Contact Page. Fill in your first name, email address, and put Blog Competition and your preferred eBook format in the message. (Choose from ePub, PDF, Kindle) The winners will be drawn on January 31st, 2012. All winners will be notified by email and their eBook will be attached.

Paperback Price Slashed: From 14th to 31st January, the price of the Gunnedah Hero paperback will be slashed to $25. Go to the website and choose the Buy Now button under Discount copy text. The usual postage charge will apply. 

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