Well-respected author Judy Nunn launches latest book, Khaki Town, at Muswellbrook Library

ONE of television's most recognisable faces, and a well-respected author in her own right, visited the Upper Hunter this week.

Judy Nunn, who played Ailsa Stewart in Home and Away from 1988 until 2000, launched her latest book, Khaki Town, to a crowd of about 100 people at the Muswellbrook Library on Tuesday, November 12.

After combining her internationally successful acting career with scriptwriting for TV and radio, she decided in the 1990s to turn her hand to prose.

Her first three novels, The Glitter Game, Centre Stage and Araluen, became instant bestsellers - and the rest is history.

"It's definitely a full-time job now," said Nunn, who was joined by husband and respected Australian entertainer Bruce Venables.

"I love the creative aspect of writing.

"It's the freedom of fiction."

Khaki Town, set in Townsville in 1942, is Nunn's 15th tome.

It's 1942. Singapore has fallen, and it looks like Australia will be next.

To combat this, Townsville is flooded with American soldiers, overnight becoming a Khaki Town.

"I enjoyed writing this book," Nunn said.

"It's the most dangerous year of our country's history.

"That's what inspired me.

"It also gave me an opportunity to mix historical facts and figures with well-drawn characters.

"The local inhabitants welcome the Americans with open arms and the black GIs revel in a brief period of integration, denied to them in their homeland.

"They mix with the locals with gusto but soon tensions arise not only between the Australian and American soldiers ("the Yanks are over-sexed, over-paid and over here") but between the black and white GIs.

"Tensions reach a flashpoint and fights break out as racism raises its ugly head.

"At first, the federal government had refused to accept African American soldiers on Australian soil, until Franklin D. Roosevelt said 'if no Negroes, then no Americans, period!'

"Real violence becomes inevitable, and reaches a peak on May 22, 1942, in a place called Kelso Field on the Ross River, just outside Townsville.

"A young United States Congressman, Lyndon Baines Johnson, is sent to Townsville by his president to investigate the horrific events of that night."

In 2015, Nunn was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her "significant service to the performing arts as a scriptwriter and actor of stage and screen, and to literature as an author".

But, there'll be more chapters in her own story to come, she admits.