about the author

Blake Innes is a sessional lecturer at Curtin University. He is an avid writer and is currently completing his Doctorate studies which grapples with the misrepresentation of Indigenous Australia in the Nation’s dominant history. The focus in this work, and most of Blake’s writing, is how can we – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – unite and move forward towards a place of healing and strengthen our country.

Blake completed his First-Class Honours degree in literature at the University of Notre Dame in 2014 where his thesis, an investigation into the influence of the Noble Savage – a literary characterisation of dominant storytelling – on shaping social perspective and subsequent racial policy. This publication received a mark of over 90% and was commended for outstanding academic performance at the 2014 Notre Dame Academic Awards Night. After being awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award, Blake continued his studies with a solution-oriented approach towards the issue of severe disparity in health statistics and what structures of thought breed the peculiar indifference shown to the matter by majority non-Indigenous Australia.

Blake currently lives in Mt. Lawley with his wife, Amanda. They enjoy travelling and frequently return to America for extended periods for both work and to visit Amanda’s home in northern Minnesota. Frequently described by his peers as having the spirit of an old man – at 28, Blake can often be found in his slippers and robe, sipping coffee and complaining about “just how fast technology is moving nowadays.”

about the story

‘Under the Shade’ is a collection of three stories that weave within each other. The first follows the WULGI a group of ascended spiritual Elders who roam a land beyond time – observing all instances simultaneously as they wander. They can choose to inhabit a point in time and observe, and they do so on four occasions. The first is at a meeting discussing the closure of remote communities in the North West given the recent discovery of minerals in the land – the WULGI are stunned and retreat to their timeless observation deck in search of where it all went wrong. They decide to wake WALKEN.

WALKEN, the second story arc, exists in a spiritual dimension that has a direct correlation to the landscape and events in the main narrative. WALKEN is a huge orb of white light that leaves a trail of brightness in her wake. She has seven companions, also beams of light, that orbits her and contribute their unique colour to her tail of light. Collectively their beams begin to sculpt the flat and vacant earth and sprout life of luscious forests in their path. WALKEN calls into existence the animals and insects to care for her creation and assigns a specific responsibility to each of them, starting with her oldest friend CROCODILE who would lead all the new caretakers. “Remember,” she said, “the more you take, the less you’ll have.” After the meeting and all the instructions are given on how to maintain harmony to the animals and how to care for the thick and lively forests and rivers – WALKEN accidentally spawns BUNYIP, who quickly scurries away into the darkness.

The protagonist, ANDEE, offers a backstory to the infamous swagman character of the iconic bushman myth and how he came to arrive at the scene by the billabong. The beginning of the narrative opens with the disappearance of his father, causing ANDEE to accept the responsibilities of adulthood before his time. He realises that the reality of marrying his love and childhood sweetheart, TILDA, is becoming an impossible reality, interrupted by duty.

Q & A

1. About the Title

2. Explanation of Different Story Arcs

3. The Camp of Tormented Souls

4. Who is This Story Written For?

5. The Importance of Inclusion In Cross-Cultural Writing

6. Why Did I Write This?

7. How Did Under the Shade Lead to HiveMind Productions?

8. About the Process

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