Hi! I’m Lisa Henry, and welcome to the blog tour for my new release, Two Man Station. I’m visiting some of my favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Two Man Station, and sharing some of my influences, my ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win a prize of a $20 Riptide voucher plus a small package of Australian goodies that I’ll post worldwide. The winner will be drawn on January 31.
When it came to picking the setting for Two Man Station, Richmond was the perfect geographical fit for what I needed—a small town right smack bang in the middle of nothing much at all. Richmond, in northwest Queensland, is a town of 700 people, and sits more or less halfway between the coastal city of Townsville and the regional mining city of Mount Isa. It’s 900 kilometres between Townsville and Mount Isa—a ten hour drive—and apart from a few small towns scattered along the highway, there’s not a lot of see. That kind of isolation was definitely something I wanted to explore in Two Man Station, and Richmond seemed like a good choice.
There are a few differences though, between my version of Richmond and the real deal. Most significantly, if you know the real Richmond, is the absence of dinosaurs in Two Man Station. Apart from a reference to the game Taylor, the son of one of my MCs, plays on his iPod. But while outback Queensland might be big and empty, there’s one thing it’s apparently full of, and that’s dinosaurs. From Lark Quarry (discovered by my grandfather, actually!) to Elliott, to the town of Muttaburra, which gave us the delightfully named Muttaburrasaurus, northwest Queensland is dinosaur country, and Richmond, home of Kronosaurus Korner, is no exception. There are certain things you try to avoid when you’re writing a novel though, I think, and sounding like a paid advertisement for Queensland Tourism is one of them.
There’s also the other side of that coin: not everything I wrote about was nice. There are instances of violence and drunkenness and the generally shittiness of human behaviour that police officers deal with all the time (and aren’t immune to themselves) so I didn’t want to seem like I was singling out Richmond for any of that, if that makes sense. So I created a more generic sort of Richmond, and stuck to the type of names that you’ll find in any small Australian town: every town has got a Royal Hotel, or a Racecourse Road, or a George Street, for example. So my Richmond got to keep those details, while anything more identifying was airbrushed out. Richmond’s vital stats in regards to operational policing remain unchanged though.
Richmond has a town population of 700, but a divisional population of 1200. That division covers an area of approximately 64 000 square kilometres, and includes a gold mine and over 160 sheep or cattle properties.
Richmond police station employs a sergeant as Officer in Charge, and one senior constable. There is also a part time civilian administrative officer. The police service supplies housing for their officers in Richmond.
Richmond station is, of course, a two man station.
When I was first thinking about writing a story about Australian police, I definitely thought of those smaller outback stations that are a world away from city policing. Where two police officers have to cover 64 000 square kilometres—and twenty-four hours every day—between them. That’s a working relationship that is going to require a lot of patience, a lot of leeway, and a lot of trust. If you’re a copper in a two man station, you’d better hope like hell you like whoever gets transferred in to join you because you’re going to be living in one another’s pockets for a while.
In my version of Richmond’s two man station, that forced proximity definitely causes some friction. And then some sparks.
About Two Man Station
Gio Valeri is a big city police officer who’s been transferred to the small outback town of Richmond with his professional reputation in tatters. His transfer is a punishment, and Gio just wants to keep his head down and survive the next two years. No more mistakes. No more complications.
Except Gio isn’t counting on Jason Quinn.
Jason Quinn, officer in charge of Richmond Station, is a single dad struggling with balancing the demands of shift work with the challenges of raising his son. The last thing he needs is a new senior constable with a history of destroying other people’s careers. But like it or not, Jason has to work with Gio.
In a remote two man station hours away from the next town, Gio and Jason have to learn to trust and rely on each another. Close quarters and a growing attraction mean that the lines between professional and personal are blurring. And even in Richmond, being a copper can be dangerous enough without risking their hearts as well.
About Lisa Henry
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
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To celebrate the release of Two Man Station, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit and a package of Australian goodies! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 27, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!