New romance novel set in the Barossa to hit book stores soon

The imminent release of a novel set in the Barossa Valley is also set to up the ante in its "romance stakes" with a male author at its helm.

Hailing from Eudunda, this is possibly the first of a number of books to be penned under Brian Stafford who recently secured a deal with Austin Macauley Publishers in London.

Mr Stafford says 'Who is Mary Smith? is not your ordinary romance novel.

"(The book) is a droll account of hostile neighbours and their opposition to the marriage of Mary Smith and Benjamin Schultz," he said.

Yet the word droll is also a clue to the structure of the novel with its salty humour interlaced with activity.

"The theme is land ownership, which is underscored by the words and actions of Gustave (Gus) the Third, a feline narrator and his alter ego," Mr Stafford explained.

It features a romance with all complications - even Gus the tomcat mimics it in his desire to win the heart of Mary Smith's pet, Pearl, a Siamese - yet his foremost concern is to remain the dominant cat of the district know as Weingarten.

I am old as my tongue and a bit older than my teeth.

Author Brian Stafford

However, its the novel's cellar-full of characters, spanning five generations, which Mr Stafford is most keen to share.

In his synopsis to publishers, Mr Stafford encourages readers to 'Watch, as the seasons change, and the vines undergo transformation, while Mary Smith alters the perceptions of those she meets.'

"The aim was to present a mix of characters and delve deep into the heads and hearts to expose their inner selves for readers to enjoy," he said.

This has meant a series of conversations being played out in the author's head and he admits the characters stem from the people he has met over the years.

According to his publishers, with sites at London, Cambridge, New York and Sharjah, the book is "well-written" and an "engrossing read".

Yet, who is Brian Stafford?

It's actually the author's pseudonym and how he prefers it.

He worked as a soldier with Australian Armed Forces and communications officer with the Department of Civil Aviation.

"I am old as my tongue and a bit older than my teeth," he laughs.

In retirement he shut himself off from the world in his small home office, allowing the words from his mind flow onto the blank screen of his computer.

The novel is actually several years in the making.

"The secret to a good novel is revision and I have revised this book about 20 times." He also says he is blessed to have a good memory.

"Proof of the pudding is in the reading; that is where I will be judged," he added.

This story New tale set in the Barossa first appeared on Barossa & Light Herald.