Elizabeth Scott - The Shanty Keeper's Wife
‘Every school child should be familiar with the history of their own district, indeed of the pioneers, villains and victims, everyday people who forged and settled, moved on or long forgotten in this age of a transient population.’
The Argus, ‘Vanishing record’ W.J. Hughston 20 March 1909.
Emma loves snooping, aka research. She even has a degree in snooping, majoring in historical records management and the law for a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science. As if that wasn’t enough, Emma added a Masters from the University of Melbourne - neither of which have anything to do with writing a novel.
A fan of FoxTel’s History channel, BBC historical dramas and old buildings that creak and groan, Emma first heard the story about Elizabeth Scott from her mother who used to ride her bike on the other side of the lane to avoid the ‘haunted house.’ Interest piqued and armed with enough research to sink a ship, Emma was advised to find a writer who would collaborate with her on a book of Elizabeth’s sad life.
She did, and The Shanty Keeper's Wife is the result, based on Emma’s fascination with Elizabeth Scott, the first and, at only twenty-three, youngest woman to be hanged in the Colony of Victoria.
When she’s not pestering librarians or trying to convince Cheryl to “leave that bit in”, Emma’s down on the banks of the Delatite River where this story unfolds, enjoying its beauty and secrets.
This is her first novel.
Cheryl has spent a good part of her life moving. Born in Adelaide, South Australia, she studied for her Arts degree in Canberra at the Australian National University, then lived and worked in Melbourne for many years before taking her family to Switzerland in 1997. In 2004 she moved to England and now lives in the beautiful Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.
Having disposed of corporate life, Cheryl decided she would like to write books. Her fantasy trilogy, The Danae of the Forest, published between 2013 and 2016, was inspired by the people’s fight in 2011 to save England’s public forests from being sold to the highest bidder.
Cheryl came across Emma Beach’s novel about Elizabeth Scott on a writers’ peer review website. Wondering how she had never heard of Elizabeth Scott, Cheryl wrote to Emma and suggested she might find help with her novel via an old friend, Mike Richards, who has written about Ronald Ryan, the last man hanged in Melbourne (Scribe Publications). Mike suggested Emma find a collaborator and bingo, there we were!
Cheryl is now besotted with Elizabeth and quite likes Emma too.