Truth and fiction…
Inevitably, with contemporary fiction, parallels are drawn between the circumstances in the novel and an author’s own life.
Cathy Kelly, one of the world’s most successful women’s fiction writers, (and who very kindly wrote a superb endorsement for Passage) said: ‘Everyone assumes that if you write contemporary fiction, it is about yourself…’
Thus, I suspect it’s a cross one has to bear, though I’d rather not.
But in respect of Passage, there are some very close parallels.
For example, the setting is one I know intimately.
In fact it’s where I spend most of my time. So the melody of the surroundings resonates with me constantly. I hope it resonates richly through the novel as well.
In addition, Annie Tremayne, my protagonist, has a Jack Russell terrier which is very definitely based on my own JRT.
Except for one thing. Blighty is more refined than my mad-dog. He is what I hope mine might eventually become, but they both share a trait of humour and feistiness. Such qualities made Blighty’s role in the novel essential because we can’t forget that this is Annie’s journey through grief and loss. That little bit of humour, that chance for a giggle, it helps leaven the load in the narrative.
But what other truths and fictions?
Annie is also an indie-hist.fict writer. So am I. But then they say to write what you know, don’t they?
Another example of similarities between my life and Annie’s life is the farm accident that eventually killed Annie’s husband. In the Acknowledgements, I mention my husband’s shocking accident last year and how it became the inspiration for Alex’s trauma.
But let me be quite clear.
My husband survived, thanks to good medicine and the Fates being kind.
Annie’s did not.
And beyond that accident, that’s pretty well where any similarity between Annie and myself ends.
Annie’s a few years older than me. She worked in publishing and lived in Melbourne before she married. I worked in broadcasting and lived in Tasmania until my husband and I moved to South Australia and then Victoria.
She had twins. I didn’t.
She lived in North Brighton in Melbourne and then down the D’Entrecasteaux Channel at Woodbridge in Tasmania. Very different to my own life.
In the novel, she spends the last part of her life living alongside the Prosser River at Orford.
My home is a different place altogether.
She crochets. I can’t handle hook or yarn to save my life!
She has a wise French ex-model as her voice of reason. I don’t. My voice of reason, unlike poor Annie, is my husband.
In addition, none of her friends and acquaintances bear any resemblance to any of my friends or acquaintances. (Thank the stars, my friends probably say!)
Annie is a work of fiction and will ever remain so, as is the way in any good fiction novel.
However, I suspect Blighty might become a reality, either through the continued growth and wished-for improvement of my current JRT, or in the manifestation of a new pup further down the track.
The name Blighty will be a reality as well, because I adore the name and JRT’s rule the world!
And on that note, mine is looking at me and asking for his dinner.
Have a great Sunday, everyone in the north, and for those in the south, a great Sunday night, and if you read Passage and enjoy it, please tell the world. Annie and I will be thrilled!