Beverley Oakley is an Australian author who grew up in the African mountain kingdom of Lesotho, married a Norwegian bush pilot she met in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, and started writing historical romances to amuse herself in the 12 countries she’s lived as a ‘trailing spouse’ (in between working as an airborne geophysical survey operator, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and writing for her former newspaper).
Her Scandalous Miss Brightwell series was nominated Best Historical Romance by the Australian Romance Readers Association. She is also the author of the popular Daughters of Sin series, a Regency-era ‘Dynasty-style’ family saga laced with intrigue.
Under her real name Beverley Eikli, she writes Africa-set romantic suspense, and psychological historical romances. The Reluctant Bride won Choc-Lit’s Search for an Australian Star competition and her Regency tale of redemption The Maid of Milan was shortlisted in the Top Ten Reads of 2014 at the UK Festival of Romance.
Beverley lives north of Melbourne (overlooking a fabulous Gothic lunatic asylum) with the same gorgeous Norwegian husband, two daughters and a rambunctious Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Five Facts about Beverley
- I didn’t learn to walk until I was seven. The surgeon who performed the world-first hip operation on me had recently perfected the procedure on dogs and was knighted for his work.
- I speak French “like a Belgian farmer” according to my chic, Paris-born French teacher who took over from our lovely, bearded, rustic French teacher at the Alliance Francaise class I attended for three years in Adelaide.
- When I was 18, I backpacked for a month through Europe on my own. (It was an accident as I’d just validated my Eurail pass when a strike prevented me hooking up with my intended travelling companions.) One night I got off a train in Germany at 11pm, and discovered it was a siding for a milk pick-up in the middle of a field near a forest. No town, house or lights to be seen. No mobile phones back then, either. (I eventually found a beer hall, where no one spoke English, and two men drove me to the next village.)
- I’ve been mauled by a lion. Our survey crew was based at a game reserve in Namibia, and an adolescent lion leapt on me, pinned me to the ground and rolled me down a steep hill.
- I lost 10kg during a single gruelling survey contract in French Guiana due to the number of times I threw up during daily eight hour sorties in steamy, turbulent conditions over the jungle. Arriving from Australia to begin this same job without a tourist visa – though I had government-approved working papers – I was locked up by a drunk French immigration inspector for 24 hours, alone, in the deserted airport under the guard of a French Guianese soldier with an AK-47. I was due to be deported, then French Guiana’s Minister of Immigration – who happened to have been drinking at a bar in Cayenne with some of my survey crew two nights before – apologised to me, personally, and I was permitted to stay and continue my job.
More from Beverley
Since my earliest memories of growing up in Mokhotlong, ‘the British Empire’s remotest Outpost’ in the African mountainous kingdom of Lesotho, I’ve loved adventure.
After Independence I emigrated from Southern Africa with my family to Adelaide, Australia, where I did my schooling before getting a job as a journalist, writing fiction in the evenings and features for newspapers and magazines during the day.
In my twenties, the chance discovery of my grandfather’s pictorial diary led to my visiting Botswana, the country where he and my father were born and brought up. My holiday resulted in an unexpected job offer to manage a safari lodge for two months in the beautiful Okavango Delta, so I took time off from my job as a journalist on Adelaide’s metropolitan daily, The Advertiser. The day before I flew back to Australia I met a handsome Norwegian bush pilot around a campfire and after eight months of letter writing, I married him in Akershus Festning, the chapel at Oslo Castle, before retuning to live with him in a thatched cottage in a mopani forest in Botswana.
Not surprisingly, adventure spills onto the pages of the romances I write, regardless of whether they are set during The Regency, Georgian, Victorian periods, or the English Civil War or, more latterly, in my Colonial Lesotho and Botswana-set romances.
Just as I’ve been restless my whole life, working in the safari business or as a husband/wife team in airborne geophysical survey throughout Africa, Greenland and French Guiana, or enjoying the expatriate life in Solomon Islands or Japan, I’m restless with the types of story I like to write. I love change and I love to experiment.
Yes, they’re all historicals, and they feature women who must use their cunning, intelligence or beauty to thwart the legal and social restrictions imposed on them by the society in which they live; but they’re also adventures and mysteries laced with suspense and intrigue.
Today I live in a pretty country town north of Melbourne with my gorgeous husband, our two daughters, and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony.