A character comes to life…

Last week I was back in Cobh, County Cork, one of the settings for Hello from the Gillespies. Today, I’m delighted to share photos of not just another setting, but an actual character from the book: Margie Arnold of Meg’s Bookshop in Port Pirie, South Australia.


I’ve known Margie for many years, since my first book A Taste for It was published in 2000. She, and her husband Mark, are tireless supporters of Australian writers, organising events, reading groups, school visits and children’s reading hours from their store in Port Pirie, and also now in Kadina, South Australia.

My fictional family, the Gillespies, live in the outback of South Australia, a few hours drive from Port Pirie. Without giving away any spoilers, one afternoon several Gillespies make the journey into Port Pirie. And who do they meet only Margie – unnamed, but clearly recognisable!

Here’s a short (edited) excerpt from Chapter 40:

‘Victoria ran down Ellen Street, past shops, pubs, a cafe, quickly looking inside each one. Then she saw the bookshop further down the street. As a family, they’d called in there often over the years, chatting to the owners each time. Victoria was out of breath as she came into the store. She sought out the dark-haired owner…”

Big thanks to dark-haired Margie, and to Mark, for sending me these photos of Margie with the new edition of Hello from the Gillespies. She’s pictured in Meg’s Bookshop, on Ellen Street and at the old Port Pirie railway station, all of which feature in the book. (It’s very nice to see that blue sky too.) And one more photo too from last year, when I was in Port Pirie during my book tour, of Margie and I in the doorway of Meg’s Bookshop.


Thanks again for letting me ‘borrow’ you, Margie!

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