Saturday Sneak-Peek: Gallipoli Street by Mary-Anne O'Connor

Mary-Anne O'Connor is a Sydney based author whose major novel Gallipoli Street is due for release on the 1st of March 2015. The granddaughter of a Gallipoli veteran, Mary-Anne has drawn on her own family history to inspire and inform her writing of this story.

'The Anzacs were elderly and frail when I saw them as a child but once...once they were young and strong. They felt courage and passion and lived through extraordinary times. It has been a humbling privilege to write about this generation.'  - Mary-Anne O'Connor

"As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the battle at Gallipoli in 2015, this poignant novel exposes where we have come from as a nation, by revealing the adversity and passions that forged our Anzac tradition.

Set against the backdrop of two great world wars and the world-changing events between, Gallipoli Street is an epic story of three Australian families whose destinies became entwined by war, tragedy and passion. It’s a story of mothers, sons, sisters and lovers, and of the anguish, passion, joy, loss and heartbreak of this period, as experienced by the three families who are not only connected by a common address, but ultimately bound by a greater fate. Inspired by her grandfather’s own story, in Gallipoli Street Mary-Anne O’Connor brings a fresh perspective to the story of Australia as we grew and became a nation."

Here's the Blurb:

"1913: Veronica O’Shay (Vera) is happier running wild on the family farm than behaving in the constrictive, ladylike manner her mother requires. She despairs both of her secret passion for her brother’s friend Jack Murphy and what promises to be a future of restraint and compliance. But amid the genteel tranquillity of Beecroft and the rural fringes of Sydney, Vera and Jack’s lives are about to change forever as the O’Shay and Murphy families, along with their friends the Dwyers, are caught up in the theatre of war. From the horrors of Gallipoli to the bloody battles of the Somme, through love lost and found, the Great Depression and the desperate jungle war along the Kokoda track, this sprawling family drama brings to life a time long past.

Mary-Anne O'Connor's debut novel is a love letter to Australian landscape and character and celebrates both mateship and the enduring quality of real love. But more than that, this book reveals the adversity and passions that created a nation, and brings to life the love and courage behind our Anzac tradition."

About the Author

Mary-Anne O'Connor nee Best grew up in Wahroonga in the Bushland Shire of Hornsby-Kuringai, northern Sydney. The youngest of six children, her childhood was spent exploring the local bush and playing music with her siblings and close neighbours. An avid reader, she devoured her mother Dorn's extensive library and was often found trying to finish a chapter by torchlight late at night. She also began to fill every blank piece of paper in the house with stories and drawings of her own and dreamt of becoming a writer one day.

When she was twelve her father Kevin Best left his established career in the stock-market to become an artist. The perseverance and ultimate triumph she witnessed during those years left her inspired to follow in his footsteps and pursue her own creative aspirations. A successful marketing career followed, along with the completion of education/arts degree and during this time she also co-wrote two books with her father, A Brush with Light and Secrets of the Brush. Work then began on her first major novel, Gallipoli Street.

Mary-Anne has drawn on her love of the Australian bush, her fascination with her own family history and her deep, abiding respect for the Anzac generation to produce this novel. It was written in her office at home, surrounded by her grandfather's war memorabilia and beneath a long window that overlooks her beloved gum trees.

Mary-Anne still lives in the Bushland Shire with her husband Anthony, their two sons, Jimmy and Jack and their very spoilt dog, Saxon.

For some fabulous "behind the story" information, please head over to Mary-Anne's website here.


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