The Life-Changing Magic of Reading

The Life-Changing Magic of Reading

Making Peace, Fiona McCallum’s latest and tenth novel, opens just one year and six days after the cataclysmic accident that has ruined Hannah’s life.

It’s Christmas and Hannah’s newly rescued cat called Holly and her kittens, Lucky and Squeak have become her Christmas miracle.  Apart from being cute and cuddly, they need her, and being needed is a wonderful distraction from a broken heart. As Hannah reminds herself, Holly and the kittens have saved her as much as she’s saved them.

With the help of staunch and loyal friends and her own very best efforts to stay strong and look forward, Hannah has tried her hardest to piece her life back together and recover from the shock of suddenly losing her husband, Tristan and both her parents. She returns to her normal job, but feels restless, confused, let down that the world that has been ticking over as normal, while she’s been wrapped in her own bewildering world of loss.

Read full review

Words || Fiona McCallum

Books were always a presence in my family home growing up and reading has been a part of my life for as far back as I remember. I have a strong memory of being about five years of age sitting on my brother’s bed listening to my mother reading from Winnie the Pooh before bedtime. I still have a battered copy of The Hungry Caterpillar from 1972 and a stack of treasured and well-worn Little Golden Books. I remember my dad reading a lot, too, including listening to cassettes of audio books while driving the tractor on the farm back in the eighties.

My relationship with reading has undergone several phases and meant different things at different times to me, but it’s always been something I can rely on to provide me pleasure, comfort and an escape when needed.

As an older child and teenager, reading provided respite from the pain of being bullied at school and the feelings of loneliness, abandonment and crushing homesickness that came with being billeted with family and friends while my dad was ill and my parents spent weeks away in the city with him having treatment.

After leaving school and embarking on employment, I don’t remember reading much at all until I had a horse riding accident at twenty-five and was laid up with a fractured ankle for several weeks. Again, I turned to books. Not long after that my marriage ended and it was my renewed love of reading that helped me through the ordeal of heartbreak and fear of what to do next.

At university as a mature aged student, reading became a bit of a chore due to the prescribed nature and the style of the reading list and afterwards I again stopped. This was also the reason I initially decided not to be a writer – but that’s a story for another time…

When I re-realised my passion for writing, in particular full-length fiction, I turned to books to educate myself on the market to which I one day aspired to contribute. It was during this time I suffered another series of heartbreaks and traumatic circumstances and reading again became my therapy.

While I’ve always loved to read – sometimes forgetting how much so – there have been times when I don’t think I would have survived if it were not for reading. I’m so grateful that my parents introduced books into my life from day one. I don’t think you can be truly lonely with a book in hand and a love of reading. How do non-readers get through the harsh realities of life? For me, reading is a best friend – always there to comfort, cheer me up and distract from fear and uncertainty. And just like a true best friend, you can come back together after a long absence and your relationship is just how you left it – strong and unwavering.

Thankfully right now I’m in a happy, secure place and my reading is for pleasure and forms part of my writing process – a sort of meditative way to spark my creative juices for the morning’s work. But I know reading will be there for me if and when I need it for another reason too…

Happy reading, everyone!

Purchase a copy of Making Peace || read our full review

Related Articles

To Celebrate Love Your Bookshop Day, Author of The Unforgiving City, Maggie Joel Tells us About her Favourite

News

7 August 2019

To Celebrate Love Your Bookshop Day, Author of The Unforgiving City, Maggie Joel Tells us About her Favourite

    Four Years with a Fictional Mosaicist: Andrea Goldsmith on Researching Invented Lives

    News

    16 April 2019

    Four Years with a Fictional Mosaicist: Andrea Goldsmith on Researching Invented Lives

      Chase your dreams: A Life of Her Own author Fiona McCallum on empowering women through literature

      News

      30 March 2019

      Chase your dreams: A Life of Her Own author Fiona McCallum on empowering women through literature

        Strength, Resilience and Independence: Q&A with Fiona McCallum about her new book, A Life of Her Own

        News

        21 March 2019

        Strength, Resilience and Independence: Q&A with Fiona McCallum about her new book, A Life of Her Own

          Heart-Warming and Hopeful: Read an extract from A Life of Her Own by Fiona McCallum

          News

          19 March 2019

          Heart-Warming and Hopeful: Read an extract from A Life of Her Own by Fiona McCallum

            McCallum’s New Heart-Warmer: Review of A Life of Her Own by Fiona McCallum

            News

            19 March 2019

            McCallum’s New Heart-Warmer: Review of A Life of Her Own by Fiona McCallum

              Real Life Doesn't Work Like That: Author Anstey Harris writes about her adoption

              News

              16 January 2019

              Real Life Doesn't Work Like That: Author Anstey Harris writes about her adoption

                Small Towns, Big Fiction: Holly Throsby on writing rural Australia

                News

                12 October 2018

                Small Towns, Big Fiction: Holly Throsby on writing rural Australia

                  Curious Minds: J.S. Monroe, author of Forget My Name, writes about the fear of forgetting

                  News

                  3 October 2018

                  Curious Minds: J.S. Monroe, author of Forget My Name, writes about the fear of forgetting

                    Letting the Light In: Words by Joe Heap on writing The Rules of Seeing

                    News

                    21 August 2018

                    Letting the Light In: Words by Joe Heap on writing The Rules of Seeing

                      Publisher details

                      Making Peace
                      Author
                      Fiona McCallum
                      Publisher
                      Harlequin
                      Genre
                      Fiction
                      Released
                      19 March, 2018

                      Synopsis

                      From Australia's master storyteller comes an uplifting story of new and old friendships, letting go of the past and looking to the future…It's been a year since Hannah Ainsley lost her husband and parents – her whole family – in a car crash on Christmas morning. Despite her overwhelming loss, she's worked hard to pull the pieces of her life together with the help of a group of dear, loyal friends. But while Hannah is beginning to become excited about the future again, she's concerned that her best friend and talented artist Sam is facing a crisis of her own. It's now Hannah's turn to be Sam's rock – can she save Sam's dreams from unravelling?When Hannah returns to work after her holidays, she can't settle. She's loved her job for a decade, and it's been her lifeline during her grief. But something's changed. She's changed. And for all this time she's avoided knowing the details of the accident or investigation – what would be the point, she'd thought, when nothing will bring her loved ones back? But after a chance meeting, it's all there in front of her – and, like ripples in a pond, it extends beyond her own experiences. Could knowing be the key to her recovery? Could her involvement be the key to someone else's?From Australia's master storyteller comes an uplifting story of new and old friendships, letting go of the past and looking to the future...
                      Fiona McCallum
                      About the author

                      Fiona McCallum

                      Fiona McCallum spent her childhood years on the family cereal and wool farm outside a small town on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. An avid reader and writer, she decided at age nine that she wanted to be the next Enid Blyton! She is the author of PaychequeNowhere Else, Wattle Creek, Saving Grace, Time will Tell and Meant to Be.

                      Books by Fiona McCallum

                      COMMENTS

                      Leave a Reply

                      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *