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Talking Location with author Clare Flynn – The Blue Mountains, Australia

17th April 2017

#TalkingLocationWith... author Clare Flynn – The Blue Mountains, Australia, the setting for her novel “A Greater World

Clare Flynn - The Blue Mountains, AustraliaOn my first visit to Australia in 1995 I visited the Blue Mountains and knew immediately I wanted to set a book there. It was almost twenty years later in 2014 that A Greater World was finally published. In those days life had a habit of getting in the way. I’m pleased to say my productivity has increased since, and my fifth novel will be out later this year.

In that first trip I stayed in Katoomba at Lilianfels Resort and Spa in a room with Clare Flynn - The Blue Mountains, Australiaa view over the valley. The hotel and its setting was the inspiration for Kinross House, one of the locations in A Greater World. I haven’t stayed there since and imagine it has changed a lot – its fantastic location close to the beautiful Jamison Valley has made it a top choice as a wedding venue.

Dropping by the hotel for an afternoon high tea would be the perfect follow-up to a visit to Echo Point to take in the spectacular views of the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley. Take a walk down The Giant Stairway if you’re up to the steep climb with lots of stairs – well worth it for the scenery. Or if you’re not up to the climb, you can take the Scenic Skyway and travel over the valley by cable-car. They have glass floors to see the rainforest below. Another option is the Scenic Railway – the steepest railway in the world – constructed on what was once a mining tramway.

Clare Flynn - The Blue Mountains, Australia

Lilianfels Resort and Spa

One of the stories is that the Three Sisters rock formation was named for three young women whose father turned them to stone to save them from marriage to neighbouring tribesmen. He was killed in the subsequent battle and there was no one left to bring the sisters back to their mortal form, consigning them for eternity to look out over the valley. The less romantic may scoff at this supposed Aboriginal tale and prefer to believe that it was made up by a local man in the 1920s keen to boost the local tourist trade.

Blog panelI named my book A Greater World after a poem, The Blue Mountains – A Song of Australia, written by Alfred Noyes and put to music by Edward Elgar for the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. The book is set in the same period so it was an apt choice.


We left the world behind us

The mists of time unfurled

And over the Blue Mountains

We found a greater world.”


9780993332401I chose Katoomba as the prototype for my fictional MacDonald Falls, but changed its name because I needed the town to have a working coal mine but mining had ceased by the 1920s when the book is set, although it continued in other Blue Mountains towns.

Thanks so much to Clare for sharing the backstory to her novel. You can follow Clare on Twitter, Facebook and via her website

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  1. User: Wendy Percival

    Posted on: 04/06/2017 at 8:13 am

    Thanks for the reminder! I’ve had A Greater World on my TBR list for a while. Must pull it nearer the top!

    Have been to Australia a couple of times – Cairns, Daintree River, Dunk Island & Sydney one time and along The Great Ocean Road, Echuca, the Murray River & the Snowy Mountains on another but not got to the Blue Mountains yet!


  2. User: JustRetiring

    Posted on: 17/04/2017 at 7:16 pm

    Thanks for the great insight into your novel A Greater World, Clare.

    I was also in Australia for the first time in the 1990s. I was working near Sydney but was taken into the Blue Mountains for a day out by local colleagues. I remember the Three Sisters at Katoomba, but didn’t know the legend behind the name….until now.

    Interesting to hear the rest of the back story for A Greater World too. I’m really looking forward to reading it now, transporting me back to my own visit in the 1990s and further back to the 1920s for immersion into the plot.

    And that just about perfectly states the case for TripFiction!


    1 Comment

    • User: Clare Flynn

      Posted on: 17/04/2017 at 9:56 pm

      Hi JustRetiring – so pleased the piece has reminded you of your trip and inspired you to read A Greater World. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Best wishes and happy retirement