Such a new pathway for me!
I never anticipated crossing genres again, but as the result of a challenge, I wrote Passage.
For better or worse.
It’s easier in some ways to write contemporary fiction than historical fiction but then so much harder in others.
With contemporary fiction, the reduction in research alone is notable. Perhaps because with modern times, it is literally there at the very tips of our fingers, whereas with hist.fict, it is a long hard road filled with potholes and hard stones.
But a problem arises if one chooses to write in a setting that is ‘home’, as I have, where every day one is walking in the thoroughly modern footsteps of one’s protagonists.
It becomes what I call the Separation Exercise. Because Annie, my protagonist, lives on the coast of Tasmania where I live, it’s been very easy to put my feelings about my surroundings into Annie’s experience, but the extension to that is to make sure that Annie remains fictional. (I can feel a blog-post coming on about just this fact!) Otherwise, readers are apt to draw many wrong conclusions.
Mind you, many contemporary fiction writers have stories to tell about readers who can’t separate the protagonist from the author. One writer tells of launching a book about the protagonist’s husband leaving her on Christmas morning. At the book launch, a reader put her arm round the author and said how sad she felt for the author at facing such intimate hurt. Never mind that the author’s husband was standing alongside her!
And Cathy Kelly, the Number One Global Women's Fiction Bestseller who endorsed Passage, said, ‘Everyone assumes that if you write contemporary fiction, it is about yourself…’
I suspect it’s a cross one has to bear. (Though I’d rather not…)
But the thing that made Passage so enjoyable to write was the setting. I adore my home coast, and Maria Island (pronounced Mar-eye-a), my most favourite place in the world, is what I call my heart home. I hope that resonates within the novel. My mother always called the coast her healing place and given Annie’s terrible loss and her subsequent pain, I hope the ‘healing’ sings from the novel.
To get an idea of Annie’s wonderful setting, there’s a mood board on Pinterest and of course, Annie’s watershed moment comes when she is hiking on Maria Island, a picture of which is on the cover of the book.
|The Painted Cliffs in Maria Island National Park - the image|
was a Wiki Picture of the Day. Attribution Link
The other most obvious challenge for me was making sure that those who pick up this book aren’t overcome by the scope of Annie’s tragedy and will give the book a go. It’s why she owns an outrageous little Jack Russell terrier, why she talks constantly to her late husband (and why he answers!) and why her French friend, Lisette, is so glaringly forthright. The narrative needed light to balance the shade.
There’s scope for Passage to have a partner in the future. But will I go there?
I don’t know.
I miss hist.fict much more than I thought I would.
Thus, I’m writing a Convict Transportation collaboration with the great and prolific Simon Turney, I have two hist.ficts I want to write myself, I’ve begun a delicious fantasy which gives me a chance to world-build on a lush level, and I have a collaboration with www.bopressminiaturebooks.com to write a short story to connect back to the fantasy.
So, lots to do.
But never say never. Perhaps Annie Tremayne and her friends will demand it of me. And to be honest, I miss them already.
Besides, while I can, I will write and so anything’s the go…
Passage can be purchased at mybook.to/Passage and is also available in print.
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