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A Stinging Tale

Facebook recently reminded me that 6 years ago I was attacked by a swarm of bees.

I was mustering on foot, as the area was steep and the ground rough.  Foolishly, as I came upon a cluster of trees and heard a collective high pitched sound, I walked right underneath. The bees went for me and I ran, down the hill and to the centre where I knew there was a large water trough.

I had no hat and I was wearing a woolly jumper, so the bees got tangled in my hair and in the fibres of my top. I got stung quite a few times before my husband arrived and I could jump in the ute.

Now, ideas for stories do not always have to be this painful, but for me I was the start of a passion. For bees. I set off to find out all I could about the European honey bee, and all the varieties of native bees as well.

And when a retired builder called Tom, came to help us re-erect an old ripple iron shed, he told me a tale, as he sent me up the ladder to fix the sheets of iron to the roof. He told me that when he was a boy, he used to catch bees, enclose them in his palm and hold them close to his ear. He would listen for a while and then release them.

From this tiny germ, came my middle fiction novel Wild Honey told in first person by a boy called Tom whose life is turned upside down when his father disappears but who finds solace and healing in the natural world, especially in the world of bees.

I hope one day that it finds a home with a publisher and it can be read by a boy or a girl who have a love for the natural world.