My third crime novel was sole runner-up to the 2004 Davitt Prize,which included such luminous contenders as Kerry Greenwood and Gabrielle Lord.
Set in Brisbane, there are three main characters: Pensioner Vera Sculthorpe supplementing her meagre income with fortune-telling at a city tearoom; Senior Constable Kerry Harmer, now a single mother, has re-joined the Police Service and is busy juggling university studies with her career. Then there’s Rod Norris, a bank-teller, with no taste for his work. What he enjoys are the little luxuries in life: the sensation of silk underwear against his skin, high-heeled shoes that would have wowed ‘em at Cloudlands, and smart young people who share his own impeccable fashion sense. He collects them all.
Summer temperatures will rise in River City, tropical blooms impregnating the night air with their heady fragrances. And people go missing.
In 2010, there has (finally) been some media attention directed to the plight of the homeless of Brisbane.
Morag Bane, about a teenage girl who is forced out of her home to ‘try her luck’ on the streets of this same city, was written and then published in 2003, by my own independent publishing house, Blake Publications — which is currently not a going concern.
2003 was a hectic year for me, for not only was I editing other people’s work and even publishing it, I was also trying to keep up with my own writing and battling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Therefore my Young Adult novel, Morag Bane, was not even launched, let alone publicised and promoted. However I entered it into a literary competition administered by the NSW Writers’ Centre in the following year, and it won the Fastbooks Award for the Young Adult category.
Morag Bane is a fiction based on an actual event described to me by a High School student in one of my English classes. I won’t tell you which event, you may be able to work it out for yourself.
The ‘brook sold out its first edition in about six months, pretty much by word-of-mouth. It is the true story of a boy called Alf Fletcher who was incarcerated in Westbrook, a notorious reform school for boys in Queensland’s Darling Downs.
Ray “Poss” Ide was certainly no angel, but was he guilty of rape?
Though he became an elite sportsman from the confines of his gaol cell, when he was released, his past seemed to pursue him. Always he had to contend with the humiliating slur on his character…
Who in this sorry but true saga from the early 1960s is to blame – the several impulsive young people involved, the police accused of verballing, the prosecution in its duplicity, or the justice system as a whole?
The case of Ray “Poss” Ide, documented in this book, makes clear beyond a reasonable linguistic doubt that justice did not prevail, and that the taint of this injustice has marked all those involved, even to this day.
Dr Linda Gerot.
A searing and passionate tale that shows how some will fight against almost impossible odds to rid themselves of stigmas that they do not deserve. Cheryl Jorgensen brings insight and empathy to the human side of a miscarriage of justice.
Professor Paul Wilson
Criminologist and Forensic Psychologist
You’re a Legend! Grew out of a literary contest run by Blake Publications for secondary students, in and around Brisbane, in 2003.
The students were asked to write about 600 words of prose – or a poem – about somebody who had inspired them.
Many of the entries were so moving, revealing the lives of mostly “unsung heroes” – ordinary people living extraordinary lives – that Blake Publications decided to publish them. We also decided to invite various adult high achievers to tell us who or what had inspired them, possibly making them the people they are today.
Like the pastiche of photographs of most of our authors (and sometimes their subjects) on the inside cover of the book, the anthology revealed a remarkable portrait of a community of people of diverse backgrounds and experiences, who share a sense of this place in Queensland, Australia, that we call home.