Author Marg Hickey knows how regional and rural landscapes can create wonderful characters.
Having grown up in Bendigo and now living in Beechworth, Hickey calls herself a regional author after never being tempted to explore the big smoke of Melbourne.
She has just released a collection of short stories, titled Rural Dreams, that have been written over the years.
After coming out on October 1, the book is already in its second print run.
"Some are award-winning, some were written 10 years ago but they all have been written with a rural or regional lens," she said.
"When I re-read them all, I saw they could be liked as a short story collection and thought it might be a goer."
Hickey has been an author and playwright for almost 25 years.
She completed a PhD on Australian literature and now lectures at La Trobe University in Shepparton and Wodonga and teaches year 12 students at Cathedral College Wangaratta.
"My PhD was in landscapes and how they mirror characters and are depicted in Australian fiction," Hickey said.
"Everything I have written has to do with that lens. I have always said landscapes mirror characters and shaping of characters more than people think. Someone from the Western District is very different to someone from the Mallee.
"I feel so lucky to be someone bought up in a regional place like Bendigo. It gave me a sense of freedom and possibility. Living in regional and rural areas shouldn't make writers restricted."
Hickey said the coronavirus pandemic had made life difficult for a lot of authors.
"I thought what terrible year for a booked to be published," she said. "But in under four weeks since the release my publishers said 'we're going to have to push re-print'.
"There have definitely been less (book events) than if the world wasn't dominated by COVID. But then I don't know if I would have had a second print run if it wasn't for COVID.
"I know some authors have found it tricky but for me, I've been very lucky. Australia has a small literary industry and I'm lucky, I think, because of the support from regional areas."