My first success
I'd been setting aside my hour each day for a while, long enough for it to have become accepted, with some grumblings from people unwise enough to try to interrupt it, and I faced my first problem.
How to get feedback?
It was all right for me to take an hour out of my day, I usually worked eighteen anyway, but involving others in my private activity, was neither fair nor productive. Fortunately, I discovered writing competitions and focused on entering at least one every four weeks spent offshore.
It became obvious that there were more writing contests in the romance genre than in any other, so my writing expanded to include this area and I won the annual competition for the Australian Chapter of the Romance Writers of America.
The entry called for a synopsis and the first three chapters and I blush to admit this is all I wrote.
Even this took research, for it spanned a century, going back to the immediate post gold rush years in Victoria and linking them to contemporary Melbourne. I had to learn about the "bundling" in the winter camps of the American Civil War armies, the Henry rifle and how one could find its way to South Africa and the battles of Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift, Zulu Idunas and the vocabulary of nineteenth century mining engineers.
I was lucky in having hunted through the area where I set Mitchell's Run and having explored a disused gold mine not far from there.
I was in Malaysia on the prize-giving night and missed it, but I took a day off later and sat in the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel in Singapore, coincidently at the same table I occupied as a nineteen year-old going off to save the world, and celebrated with twenty-five year-old Scotch and smoked salmon on crusty bread.
Writing the rest of the story came later.