Novelist Andrea Darvil at the writing desk in her Suffolk Park home from where her laptop, with the only copy of her memoirs, was stolen.
Novelist Andrea Darvil at the writing desk in her Suffolk Park home from where her laptop, with the only copy of her memoirs, was stolen. Jay Cronan

Near-finished novel nicked

IT IS every writer’s worst nightmare.

After spending more than four years working on her novel, Suffolk Park woman Andrea Darvill was tantalisingly close to achieving her ultimate goal of becoming a published author.

But that dream was cruelly snatched away when thieves broke into her home and stole her laptop computer.

Her treasured manuscript – which had taken more than four years of work – was on a USB stick which was still connected to the laptop.

The novel was not backed up.

“Unfortunately, I am not very technologically savvy,” Ms Darvill said.

“I had a note on my computer reminding me to get my nephew to back up my work. Now it’s gone.

“I’ve spent the past three months trying to piece it all back together. Some of it was on emails which I had sent to friends and family.

“I’ve got hard copies of some bits and there are some draft sections as well. But I’ve lost hours and hours of editing.

“This really put me into a slump. I stopped writing. I was truly shattered.”

Ms Darvill describes her novel as a ‘humourous memoir’ based on her life as a Canadian living in Australia.

She poured her heart into the novel, reluctantly turning down a full time teaching job so she could spend more time writing.

“It’s not easy to write a book,” she said.

“It’s a real marathon. I can work for a whole day, and all that I will have done is polish something that was already written.”

Last year she was one of four selected for a prestigious mentorship program offered by the Northern Rivers Writers Centre.

As part of the program, participants were given the chance to meet with a major publisher.

That meeting had been a success for Ms Darvill, who said the publisher was now eagerly awaiting her finished manuscript.

“I’ve had so much positive feedback about it,” she said.

“I was really looking forward to getting it off to the publisher, but it’s going to take a lot longer now.”

Police have charged three young men with the theft, but they are yet to appear in court.

It is believed the computer and other items, including the USB stick, an iPod dock and cameras, were pawned in the Ballina area.

If anyone has seen Ms Darvill’s property, or has any information about it, please contact Byron Bay police on 6685 9499.

She is offering a reward for anyinformation which leads to the computer and USB stick being returned.



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