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The Making of The Girl in the Hard Hat

Firstly, I'd just like to say that The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots was never meant to have a sequel. It was something I decided to do while I was doing revisions. In the original version of Boots, Wendy doesn't appear in the final chapter. She was actually someone I edited in to give Lena and Dan one last challenge. However as soon as Wendy stepped onto the page I had the urge to flesh her out. There were so many questions surrounding her sudden appearance in the area - like why does a good-looking blonde need help from a person as chauvinistic as Mike. Apart from the fact that her character intrigued me, I wasn't quite ready to leave the Pilbara just yet. In terms of a setting, I'd barely scratched the surface of what this place was capable of. And by that I mean cyclone season! They say writers are sadists and they're not wrong. I couldn't wait to put all those characters I'd grown to love into a highly volatile situation from which they could not escape.

So I had my heroine, I had my big bang moment, there was just one thing missing. My hero. I'm a firm believer that every big epic needs a thread of romance. Any story without it is, to coin a phrase of my father's, "a curry without salt."

However, as this story was going to be a sequel I had to either use a character from The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots or introduce yet another new character to Cape Lambert. I figured it wasn't much of a sequel if all the main characters were brand new.  So I took a look at my cast. Of all the male leads, Gavin Jones seemed to be the most viable. He was good-looking, intelligent and in a position of authority which was enough to lend him some charisma. The problem was... I didn't like him.  In Boots, he was the anti-hero, throwing spanners in the works for both Lena and Sharon.  He was supposed to be undesirable.

So how could I bring him back from that? Why was Gavin such a shallow, womanizing, insensitive lout? Was there something more to it when you dug a little deeper? Turns out there was! A mega big something. So that's when I set Gavin on the road to redemption and what a challenge it was. For a long time he just wouldn't co-operate but when his true personality finally lifted off the page he became such a pleasure to reconstruct.  I hope my readers manage to fall in love with him as I eventually did.

Happy Reading!

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