My Gothic novella Salvage was written over three writing retreats on Bribie Island, and draws on the island and also childhood memories of Fraser Island for its setting.
Twitter review from Tansy Rayner Roberts
Seeking to salvage their foundering marriage, Melanie and Richard retreat to an isolated beach house on a remote Queensland island.
Intrigued by a chance encounter with a stranger, Melanie begins to drift away from her husband and towards Helena, only to discover that Helena has her own demons, ageless and steeped in blood.
As Richard’s world and Helena’s collide, Melanie must choose which future she wants, before the dark tide pulls her under … forever.
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Back cover blurbs:
Jason Nahrung is a major talent, and his short novel Salvage brilliantly fuses the sensitivities of mainstream fiction with the sense-of-wonder spinal chill of the genre
: Jack Dann
Salvage injects new blood into the vampire genre and invites readers to enter a world stranger, darker and infinitely more seductive than the one we know
: Angela Slatter
Jason Nahrung has written a horror story that is as much about what it is to be human as it is to deliver the scares – and it succeeds brilliantly
: Robert Shearman
Salvage: a story from the seawrack
This is a little information about the writing of Salvage, originally penned in response to a request for a guest post at Ebon Shores.
Once, I belonged to a writers’ group in Brisbane. We met at workshops, bonded, forged friendships, critiqued the hell out of each other’s work. Hungry to push our skills, we imported tutors for annual retreats (detailed here). Three years in a row, from 2007, we went to Bribie Island, where a government conference centre provided isolation near the beach, comfortable hotel-style rooms and three meals a day, with plenty of space on the deck for group meetings and one-on-one critiques.
That’s where the bloodletting happened. Three years in a row, I fronted up with my new manuscript, and three years in a row it got staked through the heart. Illogical world building, insufficient character motivations, too complex.
What to do, then, with a sudden surfeit of time? Long walks on the beach turned out to be the answer, the perfect place for navel gazing.
And that’s where I first saw her. Washed up on the beach of my imagination. It was after dark, the surf loud, moon muted behind threadbare clouds. Half naked, she lay there, and by her side, a second figure. Girlish. Curious.
Who were these people who had washed in off the sea, flotsam in my mind’s eye?
I went back to my room, clinging to that life float of an idea, that barest image, and set out to answer the questions.
The project, nicknamed White Horses after a reference to waves in a Wendy Rule song, became my fallback story. Each time a manuscript died, I turned to White Horses. And after the third retreat, there was some 30,000 words of story there, storm-tossed and haphazard, but there.
A couple of short writerly visits to beachside places later, a little time at home organising and honing, and a 40,000-word novella had arrived. In 2010, at a fourth retreat with my writing buddies, this time at a lakeside retreat at Noosa, the story got the tick of approval. I had a survivor!
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