Chapter one of Past Imperfect establishes the early story setting as the busy coastal town of Maroochydore on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast which carries through to the end of Chapter Seven.
Why did I choose Maroochydore? The place could have been anywhere. Maybe Maroochydore seemed right because I am familiar with the town of recent times and spend a few days there whenever possible. It is a relaxing, enjoyable spot and a fitting place for a couple of teenagers to realise they are soul mates. As I don’t know of any fiction that features Maroochydore, that seemed as good a reason as any. As the story progressed it was also a joy to introduce the nearby Glasshouse Mountains in Chapter Six where Freya experiences a spiritual connection with the place.
As Maroochydore has grown massively since the Past Imperfect story started in 1976 I was careful to focus on areas which have changed little over time, like the beaches, the Esplanade, the walk to Alexandra Headlands. One of the older buildings with a residence above a shop and opposite the park near the river mouth appealed as just the place for the Marcou embroidery and national dolls store.
Google Earth helped me to find specific street names for where Freya lived, by revealing houses that fitted with the time period and lent themselves to the renovation work that her father Jacob took on. A visit to the vibrant Maroochydore Library allowed checking of minor details.
I was only vaguely familiar with education system changes in the 1970s, since my own Queensland schooling was earlier and I lived in the northern hemisphere at the time. The State Library of Queensland (SLQ) was the right place to check on the establishment of the secondary school in Maroochydore. It was quite a new school in 1976 with a small enrolment at that time.
On that same visit to the SLQ I tracked significant changes to the preparation of teachers, so different from that undertaken by friends some years earlier. This was important for authenticating Alexander’s studies towards a teaching qualification.
The new SLQ building is a delight to work in – spacious, with internet access to personal laptops, ergonomic desks and chairs and such helpful staff. And the view of river traffic and road traffic on the other side is a delight for tired eyes when a break is needed.
My resources were personal memories, local visits, the Maroochydore Library, the State Library of Queensland, Google Earth, and photographs.