The novel began with the simple idea: imagine if white jade was found in Australia. One thing led to another and this is the result. I wanted to pursue the theme of jade, an object of great beauty and with an illustrious culture and history over a long period of time. I do believe jade’s time in Australia has not yet come.
We have some supplies of black and dark green jade, the nephrite variety, and mostly low quality, while we have none of the more highly valued jadeite variety. If you look at the auctions in Hong Kong and elsewhere around Asia, it’s the translucent white jade which is now most highly valued due to its relative scarcity. The stone, when carved by the hands of master craftsperson, leads to some exquisitely beautiful objects which can go for huge prices on the open market.
The title, Ride a White Mare, comes from the words of a Led Zeppelin song, Going to California: ride a white mare in the footsteps of dawn looking for a women who’s never never been born. An apt title for a quest for the nonexistent. But of course, we can imagine, we can dream, we can chase the elusive, which is what our protagonist, Marco Gentolini, does.
I am proud about this journey which takes us through a series of real and imagined towns in regional Australia as it introduces us to a series of characters from many different backgrounds who are each searching for their own type of white jade in life too.