Lisa Walker’s novel was published with support from writers centres.
Lisa Walker’s novel was published with support from writers centres. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

A novel view of seachange

A CITY girl moves to the country and feels like a fish out of water until she finds her feet.

It's a familiar story here in the land of tree-change and sea-change, given a new twist by Lennox Head author Lisa Walker in her first novel, Liar Bird.

Ms Walker told The Northern Star that while her romantic comedy is not autobiographical, it does draw on her experience of working in public relations in Sydney, then coming to the Northern Rivers and taking a while to find her place in the community.

Her protagonist in the novel is PR wiz Cassandra Daley, who knows how to spin a story - hence the title of the book.

Unfortunately she goes too far and suffers a PR disaster, fleeing the city for a country village.

"It's a fictional small town where the people are not used to outsiders," Ms Walker said.

"She soon finds there's a lot going on behind the scenes."

Living in a little house in the middle of a rainforest, Cassandra has some early encounters with the local wildlife - feral animals such as cane toads and feral pigs, an endangered mouse, snakes and a frog she finds in her toilet.

"The frog turns out to be a bit of a philosopher. Cassandra starts chatting to it and the frog chats back.

Lisa Walker is now the community relations officer for National Parks on the Northern Rivers. This is her first published novel, completed through a Northern Rivers Writers' Centre (NRWC) program last year.

Ms Walker was one of five writers chosen by NRWC to spend ten days at the Varuna Writers Centre in the Blue Mountains and work on their manuscripts with the help of professional editors.

"It was a fantastic process to be working with editors on hand - and I feel very lucky they chose to publish my book," she said.

"It's hard to get a first novel published. Even really good work may not get through."

Following the course, Lisa was signed up for a two-book deal. Her second novel, with the working title Killing the Bonsai, and set in a fictionalised version of Lennox Head, will be published next year.

Ms Walker is an award-winning short story writer who has also had a play, Baddest Backpackers, produced and broadcast by ABC Radio National.

Liar Bird hit the bookstores yesterday.



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