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figure in the first novel but I always felt I knew her character. She is not based on anyone in particular, but there are many young city women who come out into the bush as schoolteachers or as nurses. These girls, naturally enough, meet the local young men. Often love blossoms; quite a few marry and stay in the bush. Sometimes this works like a charm—the girl not only loves her young man but she loves the way of life and settles and thrives. Sometimes the young women love their young man but find they cannot tolerate the life. Although she starts off thinking she can, the isolation, dust, flies become too much. I have known many young women similar to Thea. Shelf Unbound: Thea is a capable, strong, resilient woman. Is she based on any one you know? Capper: No. None of my characters are based on any one person I know. Each is a new personality—an amalgamation of many people. I have read before how an author has found that the characters have a life of their own and the author can’t always get them to do what they expected them to do. I had thought that was rather weird and probably only occurred with some authors

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who were particularly fanciful—but I found this has happened to me. My characters definitely take on their own personalities and are as individual as any other person. I know my characters better than I know my friends because I understand so much more about their thoughts and motivations. Shelf Unbound: How about Bruce, who comes with a lot of baggage. How did you come up with this character? Capper: Bruce is, to me, a quiet, good, solid, typical country man. I don’t think of him having a lot of baggage so much as having a broken heart and shattered self-confidence  as a result of his broken marriage. He thinks of it as his fault—when it was his wife who was shallow and selfish. He loves his children and wants to do the best for them. He is hard working on his property and for the district. He had to have the broken marriage and the resulting loss of confidence to make him not fall for Thea as soon as he met her. I think they suit each other so well.   Shelf Unbound: What interests in you writing romance novels? Capper: Romance is part of life, one way or another, for every young

Shelf Unbound August-September 2017  

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