Her Dad calls her Red when he 'means' it.
But this is about the only time Ruby McCoy takes her father, who she considers to be her mother and father in one neat package, seriously.
Author Felicity McLean wrote Red, a fast paced, quippy, gripping, rollicking Australian yarn, loosely based on the story of Ned Kelly. But in this tale, Kelly is a girl.
"Ned Kelly is endlessly fascinating. There are so many books and songs written. He's an Australian figure like no other. I wondered how we would feel if he was a girl. Would we identify, sympathise? I am intrigued about this story with an angry female," Ms McLean said.
Ms McLean said that in writing it, Red came into its own story.
"It was like two horses in one race. There are the historical facts and the story which took on a life of its own," she said.
Red is McLean's second novel and she said she had found her niche in Australian stories.
"I read Ned Kelly's letters and its a cracking read. His language is amazing. He uses descriptors such as wombat headed and big bellied. And because Red is a young girl, we could go non stop. I love the coarse Australian language - its slang and its idioms. I thought I could run with that," she said.
More so, the age of Red allows for some inconsistencies and rapid changes of direction, while firing in a lingual sense from all barrels.
"I love an unreliable narrator," Ms McLean said.
Red gets caught up in a vendetta spanning three generations when Senior Sergeant Trevor Healy takes out his father's frustrations on her father Sid. Sid and his mate Chook are a constant target for the overbearing and corrupt police and eventually get used and exploited for their own purpose.
But when the same happens to Red, she stands up to them with potential dire circumstance.
"I left the ending where it was because I wanted Red to be victorious. The book leaves you riding high - on top of that moment," Ms McLean said.
Red is published by Harper Collins and retails for $32.99.
WIN: Australian Community Media has three copies of Red (value $32.99 per copy) to give away across three mastheads, Redland City Bulletin, Jimboomba Times and Beaudesert Times. To be in the draw to win, fill in your details below by 9am on Friday, July 15. Conditions may apply and prizes will be posted. Names will be announced online.
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