Mount Wilson inspired young author

Author Jannali Jones: Her new book is set in Mt Wilson.
Author Jannali Jones: Her new book is set in Mt Wilson.

She may live in Sydney's inner-west, but author Jannali Jones has set her latest novel far from home - in Mount Wilson.

Jones said she was looking for the perfect setting for her young adult thriller, My Father's Shadow, and found the beauty and majesty of the Mountains to be exactly what she needed, especially at night.

"I wanted the Mountains to be like another character in the book. The Mountains shape and reflect the narrative throughout.

"It was important for me to establish an atmosphere and ensure the setting was always present.

"I've visited the Blue Mountains many times and went on a research trip to Mount Wilson specifically for this book. Being able to experience the area in real life, to know how bumpy the road is, the colours of the plants and shape of the rocks at the lookout, I think really added to the authenticity and sense of place in the book."

My Father's Shadow is about a teenage girl, Kaya, whose father was a whistleblower. After things go sour and he is killed by the criminals he was to testify against, Kaya and her mother flee from their home in Sydney and hide in the Blue Mountains.

Suffering from PTSD after these events, Kaya is trying to recover her memories so that she can take her dad's place as a witness, but she's struggling with her new life in hiding and can't shake the feeling that the people who want to hurt her are closing in.

Jones told the Gazette: "I have always loved the Blue Mountains. I grew up in the Adelaide Hills and visiting the Blue Mountains always reminds me of my old home. It's a beautiful place and Mount Wilson is like finding an unexpected gem in the middle of nowhere, while still not being very far from Sydney."

Jones lived across the road from Cleland Conservation Park just outside Adelaide and experienced bushfires which forced her family to evacuate.

"That was really scary but it was still one of my favourite places I've lived. The Blue Mountains is like that, where you can get into a lot of trouble if you don't know what you're doing but is still an amazing place to be.

"That seemed to suit the theme of my book and the situation the characters are in."

Jones has been writing since she was 12 years old. In 2015, she was one of two winners of the black&write! fellowship, granting emerging Indigenous writers a publishing contract.

My Father's Shadow was released on August 1.