Culture Street


Women Who Dare: Sasha Wasley

On May 30, 2017

Sasha Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia. She lives in the Swan Valley wine region with her two daughters. She writes commercial fiction, crossover new adult/YA mysteries and paranormal. Sasha Wasley’s latest novel Dear Banjo is out now. She joins us today to tell us about her most daring move.

What makes a daring woman?
She who dares, wins! What makes a daring woman is any act that improves her life, takes her out of the comfort zone, or inspires others to do those things. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture. It could be something quiet and private - a decision to make a change, not to follow the script someone else has written for her, to switch course and make her life truly her own.

What has been your most daring move?
My most daring move was deciding that I could be a full time author and going for it. I had finally got a book published and suddenly any other career seemed completely out of the question. I wanted to do this ALL THE TIME. I did some careful financial planning, gave up my successful copywriting consultancy, and took a part time job in communications for a youth organisation so I would not starve (or let my kids starve), and started writing every spare moment of the day. Within two years, I'd put out several more books and now, to my utter joy, have a three-book deal with Penguin Random House. I almost can't believe it worked!

Tell us about the daring woman in your novel?
Now 29, Willow Paterson was raised on a traditional cattle station in the Kimberley. She had an unusual mother who created three unusual daughters, all completely different. Sadly, Willow's mother died of cancer when her daughters were teenagers, but her legacy lives on in their determination and courage. Willow is passionate about humane treatment of animals and as a girl, could be found eating vegan soy-based cheese, or staging a protest outside an abattoir that used cruel slaughter methods. She went off to university to study sustainable agriculture and ended up teaching undergraduate students herself. Now she's been called home and it's time for her to live her dream - with her father's support, she's going to turn Paterson Downs into an industry-leading humane, organic cattle station. Willow is daring, determined and tenacious, but she's also a little bit broken. Her mother's loss left her scared to love anyone too much in case she lost them too. For Willow, it's easier to build an innovative cattle station than dare to love someone. She has to learn that real relationships are built on risk, on making ourselves vulnerable - and that's where her childhood best friend and neighbour, Tom, comes in!

Why did you choose a female protagonist?
I suppose I'm writing what I know! I've been feminist forever, and have always been fascinated and inspired by 'daring women' who manage to show their strength while they live and even thrive in a patriarchal world. Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Shirley, Catherine Earnshaw. Willow certainly faces some opposition, although it's not so much about men telling a woman she can't run a station - it's more about her battle to get her sustainable methods accepted in the traditional cattle station environment. However, you can't tell me there wouldn't be opposition to women in leadership roles in that situation! Fortunately, her family has immense faith in Willow's plans and intelligence, and the support of those who love her is what helps Willow see it through. I have to admit, it was fun to create a dynamic between Willow and Tom where, for once, the man is more in touch with how he feels than the woman.

Tell us a bit more about your latest book …
I just adore love stories that start with deep, seemingly irreconcilable conflict between the lovers! But I also adore friends-to-lovers stories. Hey, why not combine the two? There are a couple of elements in this book that I think really speak to the readers. One is Willow's big dream and watching her overcome opposition to make it happen. The other is Tom's letters. I wrote the letters almost before I wrote any other part of the book and they changed very little throughout the editing process. The reaction of early readers to Dear Banjo has been very strong - people are saying they read it in one sitting (no mean feat considering it's over 100K words), and they are using lots of swearing to express how much they liked it. I suspect the thing that really speaks to people's hearts must be Tom's letters. The letters appear in the early stage of the book and they allow the reader to get to know him and Willow so well, they are almost like our old school friends before we see what unfolds between them during the book.

SashaWasleyDear Banjo is out now. You can buy the book here.

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