Briefly tell us about your book.
The Family Inheritance is a contemporary story of four Gifford women across three generations, who are all linked in some way by an inheritance. Most people think of money or property when it comes to inheritance but there are other kinds of legacies that have a greater impact on us, the love and values of family, long kept secrets and of course the very thing that creates us, our genetic makeup.
As the story begins Hazel Gifford’s husband of 50 years dies and she’s devastated to find he still controls her life from the grave. Her estranged sister, Alice wants to reunite with the family but they’re not at all pleased to see her. Hazel’s daughter Felicity discovers a long-held family secret which throws her life into chaos. And granddaughter Greta, who wants a simple life, finds herself trying to hold her family together.
These four women will question everything they hold dear – their relationships, their loyalties, even their identities.
What inspired the idea behind this book?
There were several seeds that evolved to form the idea. I can’t elaborate too much without a spoiler alert but someone once related the story of a family friend who turned out to be a relative. That set my writer’s radar on high alert. Along with another story about a woman who came out of her shell after her husband had died and I was asking myself why? And then there were the people who revealed a family secret after the death of a relative. All this was a wonderful incubating pot for my story.
What was the research process like for the book?
I recently looked back through all the research I did for this book and the breadth and diversity of it surprised me. I’d forgotten some of the things I’d looked into as background. Some of it was in the form of questions for people who could tell me about something specific such as flying a small plane but I also found some great YouTube clips that helped with this. You never know where research is going to take you. The trick is knowing when to stop!
Does the creative process get easier for you with each book?
I’m not sure that it gets easier but I think I understand it better. It seems strange to say that being creative takes hard work. I’ve learned practices to streamline that work which helps the creativity to flow.
What is something that has influenced you as a writer?
I’ve always been influenced by Australian settings and themes. When I visit new places I take time to pause and watch and listen. Often a story idea comes from a visit to somewhere new or an event that I witness or simply by chatting with the locals about what’s important to them. I picture it as the kernel from which the tree evolves.