Today is the first day in my new home. It’s nestled at the base of a mountain range and is only a few short kilometres from the beach. The sound of lorikeets, peacocks and horses come from the paddock beyond the back fence, and a beautiful, brindled hound called Thor gambols through the grass with my own pooch.

It’s also ridiculously hot, with humidity so thick that your lungs feel stodgy. Mosquitos bomb-dive you day and night, and the ground constantly squelches underfoot. Only a few plants survive in the backyard, not because of neglect but because the combination of heat and clay soil is utterly unforgiving. After 8am, the biting sun keeps you from going outside, so you put on the TV only to get warnings of dengue fever, river-borne viruses and cyclones.

The reality is that each place we live in is a blend of inspiration and compromise. I’m just grateful that all of these experiences can end up on the page and enrich my work.

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