Sara Foster joins me today from W.A. to discuss her latest release SHALLOW  BREATH. There is nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a well researched novel and you can be assurred that with Sara’s latest offering the reader will be rewarded with a quality work of fiction interwoven with fact. Here Sara talks about digging into the urban past, in particular the now defunct, Atlantis Marine Park once located in the W.A. suburb of Two Rocks.

“While I was researching Shallow Breath, I went to the State Library of WA to look at all the ephemera they had collected about Atlantis Marine Park, a tourist attraction that was open in the 1980s and which was to feature in my new novel. When I look back at the time I spent plotting the book, I think these periods I ventured into the studious silence of the fourth floor were some of my favourites. I love the reverence with which the library treats these precious artefacts, so that we are issued with sterile gloves and tweezers in order that the oil from our fingers or rough handling doesn’t damage them. It’s so exciting to view such rare links to the past – the brochures, the postcards that were sold in the shop, the flyers listing show times, the restaurant menus, the children’s activity sheets. Each item fired my imagination, bringing the place alive for me. Since I was researching a period when video footage was a rarity, it was one of the closest glimpses I could have into a place now lost to us.  I have always been fascinated by old documents, windows through which we can revisit communities that time has since scattered. There was so much I found out about the small Western Australian suburb of Two Rocks (where Atlantis was situated) that tempted me towards stories that, sadly, didn’t belong in Shallow Breath. The fifty-year-old bones found on the beach in 1978. The Birdman rallies of the seventies, where people devised different contraptions to help them to fly, and then ran off the edge of a scaffold tower, usually falling straight into the water below. The old local newsletters depict the excitement as the marine park opened and the first visitors arrived, right through to the height of its popularity and the eventual local dismay at its closure. The evidence of so many of these stories is either lost within the town itself, or is apparent only to people who already know them. The quiet coastal land may have mostly buried its past, but thanks to the careful, attentive work of librarians, we can still unearth some of  its treasures.” Shallow Breath, Sara Foster