JAMBIN-raised author Christine Bongers' debut book, Dust, set in the drought-stricken Callide Valley in the early 1970s, was launched in Biloela recently at Heritage Park.
“It was fantastic,” Bongers said of the launch by Jambin farmer and Bongers' school friend Maynard.
Dust's 12-year-old protagonist, Cecilia Maria, battles six brothers on her side of the fence, and the despised Kapernicky girls, who lurk on the other side of the barbed wire.
Secrets, buried deep, surface decades later when adult Cecilia drags her own reluctant teenagers back home to dance on a grave and track down some ghosts.
Maynard said the book really captured the elements of growing up in the Callide Valley in the 1970s, but it was more than that.
“Her (Bongers') storytelling navigates her characters and storyline into a surprising twist, almost a moral U-turn, that still has you pondering weeks after you finish the book,” Maynard said.
“It is not surprising that Christine Bongers has embarked on a very successful career as an author; as a student in her primary and secondary years she was a gifted student especially in the areas of English, reading and creative writing.
“On top of this she has had a very distinguished career in television and radio, both in Australia and England,” he said.
Bongers said it was great to see old friends among the crowd at the launch.
She said parts of her old schools friends made up some aspects of the characters in the book, while some locals may recognise the odd cameo of a well-known local of the time.
Dust is available to purchase from Heritage Park and the Jambin store, which features in the book.