Book Cover


19th Century

Sue Towler

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Isolation is fiction based on fact and inspired by a true story. It gives an insight into the strength, bravery and trauma of the pioneer women who ventured across vast oceans with their men and families into the wild, untamed mountain ranges of NZ to try their luck at high country sheep farming.


Historical Fiction,Romance,Adventure,Drama

Short Summary

Newly weds Meghan and James Morley, a Surveyor, leave England in 1859 on the sailing ship the Roman Emperor and travel to New Zealand in search of a new life with the intention of eventually owning their own farm. This story covers the twelve years they lived in New Zealand.

Meghan eventually succumbs to the harshness of the elements, the loss of her home and her life in her beloved mountains and her husbands betrayal. James returns to England with his lady friend narrowly avoiding the repercussions of his actions.


Isolation is set in mid 1860's colonial New Zealand.

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth,Quest,Tragedy

Plot - Other Elements


Mature Audience Themes


Main Character Details

Name: Meghan Morley (Meg)

Age: early 20's

Gender: Female

Role: Emotional

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Crazy,Engaging,Faithful,Romantic,Skillful,Selfless

Additional Character Details

Name: James Morley - Meg's husband

Age: mid 20's

Gender: Male

Role: Antagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Complex,Greedy,Educated,Honorable,Secretive,Skillful,Masculine

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Development Pitch

Along with many of my readers I can clearly see ISOLATION as a movie. The places are real, the scenery is New Zealand at it's best and the mountain location is still pretty much the same as it was back in the 1860's. The story is realistic, based on a true story but fictionalized to capture and hold the audience's attention. This is an inspiring story of courage and bravery and how early settlers survived in the1800's. During this time only one third of European settlers survived their first 3 years in New Zealand such was the harshness of life and the terrain. In more recent times New Zealand has been thrown onto the world stage for a variety of reasons including sports achievements and more importantly the world of entertainment. Movie makers such as Sir Peter Jackson and Taika Waititi enjoy the privilege of a great many scenery and backdrop options available in this country. We are very resourceful in many areas. The world is watching us, they are interested in us and our country right now. Let's give them an insight into how we have become who we are. While the world cannot travel to us, let's take us to the world. If you have seen The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies you will know what New Zealand has to offer as a backdrop to a moving and tragic storyline. I believe there is a place for this story on the world stage, let's do it, let's bring this story to life. Thank you for listening.

About The Author

I am retired and living in a seaside village in New Zealand. I started writing my first book 21 years ago and after 13 years of learning and rewrites I found the courage to self publish ELIZABETH's DAIRIES (NZ historic fiction). The response from my readers was overwhelming, heartwarming and inspiring so, on request, I wrote a sequel, BRIGIT, a contemporary novel based in Australia and NZ. ISOLATION is my third novel, NZ historic fiction, inspired by a true story and based on fact. I am currently working on my fourth book.

Target Audiences

Age: 35-54,55+

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: Sue Towler

Year Published: 2019

Hard Copy Available







Meg Morley travels far away from her home in the highlands along with her husband to New Zealand. As early settlers in the 1860s, they create a homestead that leaves Meg remote for half the year while her husband is out surveying. James doesn't adapt as well as Meg and their time together becomes strained. Meg finds true love with her neighbor Stephen and lerns she can be happy in her own independence and hard work even after her husband becomes rich from the gold rush.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: GOOD

Characterization: FAIR

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: FAIR

Pace: FAIR

Premise: FAIR

Structure: GOOD

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

Yes for the most part the story is reflected in the book profile. The development pitch does focus more on the location and current pandemic market rather than identifying why the story specifically is marketable based off its plots, characters and themes. By elaborating more of the story rather than New Zealand, the pitch will better reflect the material as setting is less important that character investment and a solid plot.

Draw of Story

Meg at first seems like the traditional housewife with no choice but to follow in her husband's wishes to travel halfway across the world to New Zealand, never to see her family again. However it turns out she is far more resilient than her husband and creates a full and wonderful life for herself out in the remote mountains for New Zealand. The realization that Meg is so adaptable and independent compared to her husband is what pulls the audience in.

Possible Drawbacks

There is a build up of James creating tension in fearing Meghan's rebuttal to him wanting to survey and not farm that is too quickly diffused while the downfall of their marriage is quite drawn out. Developing Meg's loneliness more before the breakdown of her marriage and her cheating on James with Stephen will help create more emotional investment. By adding this tension in the interim, the pacing would quicken as it is quite slow without there being many problems in their union outside of distance in between James leaving and the breakup of their marriage given their fortunes/ moods are never really shown suffering from the isolation.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that Meg is better off alone that married on her remote homestead. The antagonist isn't the environmental threats or strangers such as the outlaws, but the person who created the change in her circumstance in the first place, James. It's a relationship drama at the core of an adventure story.

Fanbase Potential

This could have a large fanbase if the genre is more pronounced. Given the pull is said to be New Zealand in the pitch but most of the tension in the story is about the relationship, it becomes unclear if this is a adventure story or a romantic drama.

Awards Potential

This is unlikely to have awards potential given it is the white experience of the colonization of New Zealand. The characters are likeable but do not experience enough situations for their range of emotions or social issues to accrue nominations. Historical dramas also tend to not far well in the popular circuit as adventure-romance hybrids.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

The originality of the story stems from Meg's isolation being an asset to her happiness rather than source of tension. The majority of her tension stems from interactions with her husband rather than her new home.

Lead Characters

Meg is beyond resourceful, caring and independent. She has a lot of integrity and is reliable when it comes to survival. James is more adventurous but easily discontent and somewhat superficial. Stephen is also reliable, sentimental and mostly honorable.

Uniqueness of Story

Possible Formats

Film - Streaming, Film - Indie, Film - Studio, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series

Analyst Recommendation



While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

By clarifying if the conflict of isolation is the remoteness of the location or the affect that independence had on women in regards to historical marriages, the inner conflict will be able to be more apparent. Further focusing on the loneliness of her isolation will add to the emotional investment of Meg to then decide if her inner conflict is related to her survival or to her marriage. This will also help make her relationship with Stephen seem more likeable rather than cheating on someone who is trying to make a comfortable living for his family. Also leaving room for lasting tension such as Meg's miscarriage and James' lack of commitment to the farm labor could help adjust the pacing in the middle of the story.