Where Do Stories Come From?
Back in 1999, I read a report of somebody sighting a panther in the bush. Yup, that’s right…a big, black, tooth-wearing, man-eating, ‘orrible panther.
I did some research, as I do with all my novels, and found the first reported sighting in Australia was back in 1840.
The boffins think a circus visited our fair country around that time, and one of their big (black?) cats either became lame or too old to work. So they turned it loose in the scrub, where it thrived. I mean, it had no natural enemies out here, did it? You could hardly see a dingo taking one on; and the fox – introduced by our pommy ancestors so they could go fox-hunting – was no match.
Eventually, our big black man-eating cat mated with a feral cat, and whaddya know? Down through our brief but bloody history, we have sightings, frequently, of big black cats roaming the countryside.
Anyway, to cut a short story long (I always did like doing things back-the-front) I wrote a novel based on the first report and set in Bathurst NSW; in 1840, and involving a British Lord who couldn’t keep his pants buttoned up when around other men’s wives and a retired Irish policeman hunting a panther in the Lithgow area, near the Blue Mountains.
Now, all these years later, my daughter, who lives in Bundaberg – 300k’s from Brisbane – sent me a photo of yesterday’s Bundaberg News-Mail, with a photo of a story about a panther sighted in the area. she also tells me she and her hubby, who is a mad crazy hunter, have both sighted panthers at one time or another, so I dug out the manuscript of my novel – entitled, what else, but Panther? – and have sent it to my publisher, Rebecca J Vickery.
So if you want a good read – at least, Rebecca tells me my novels are such – let’s all start tossing rocks on her roof and giving her no peace until she cries “Enough! Enough! I’ll publish Panther!” and does so.
Thank you, News-Mail of Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia, for reminding me of that novel. And thank you to my daughter for sending me the photo attached to this post.
Now all we have to do is hope Rebecca takes the bait!