BOOK IT IN: Anne Smith, who writes under the pen name  Annie Seaton, signed copies of her new book Undara at Big W in Cannonvale on Thursday.
BOOK IT IN: Anne Smith, who writes under the pen name Annie Seaton, signed copies of her new book Undara at Big W in Cannonvale on Thursday. Monique Preston

Annie Seaton's new book has Queensland vibe

ANNE Smith wanted to write books since she was a young girl, but everyday life got in the way until she retired nine years ago.

Since then the author, who writes under the pen name Annie Seaton, has written an astonishing 45 books.

"I had a burning desire to write since I was four years old,” she said.

Mrs Smith's most recently published book, Undara, was partly written while she and husband Ian were in Airlie Beach in 2018.

In fact, the idea for the book came when the pair visited Undara, about 250 northwest of Townsville, about four years ago while they were on a trip from the Kimberley in Western Australia to Airlie Beach.

While on a tour through the tube-like volcanic caves, their tour guide told them how people had never been to many of the caves and that insects no-one knew about could exist in them.

From there, the book Undara was born.

Mrs Smith's novel is about an entomologist - an insect scientist - who has tragedy in her life and escapes to the Undara area.

While there she uncovers a mystery from the late 1800s that she helps to solve.

"It's about tragedy, grief and loss, with an uplifting ending,” Mrs Smith said.

The Smiths first came to Airlie Beach in 1988 and fell in love with the place, but could not find work in their fields.

Instead they moved to Nambucca Heads on the NSW coast, and started coming to Airlie Beach for holidays in 2000.

From 2013 much of their winters were spent in the Whitsundays.

"I write, and my husband fishes,” Mrs Smith said.

"We're semi-permanent here.”

Mrs Smith's last book, Whitsunday Dawn, was set in the Whitsundays which she has come to know and love.

Another, Deadly Secrets, is also set in the region and she plans to write a 10-book series based on Pentecost Island.

For Mrs Smith, having actually been to the places where her books are set, is important to her.

"Until you feel the air on your skin, hear the birds and smell the landscape, you can't truly write about a place,” she said.

"When I write, the setting is the first inspiration, then I research an issue and then populate the book with my characters.

"I like to take travellers on an armchair journey to places they may never go to.”

Mrs Smith is in Airlie Beach at the moment and was in Big W in Cannonvale on Thursday signing copies of Undara.


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