What inspired the idea behind this book?
When you’re older, for some odd reason, people often assume that you were always the same person you are now. It’s only longtime friends who remember our youthful selves, the dreams and passions we once had, and the disappointments or tragedies that changed us in some way. I wanted to tell the story of a woman, whom the reader first meets in her older years as someone who is a little prickly and difficult, and then go back in time to show the defining moments in her life that made her the woman she has become – and then find a way to redeem her.
There are so many beautiful love stories within this book spanning romantic love, friendship and familial love – did you have a favourite to write?
I really enjoyed developing the relationship between Elizabeth and Zach whose love for each other is not obvious at first. Fighting for her grandson helps Elizabeth recognise that she still has a vital role to play in the family, and her involvement in Zach’s life is transformative for him. It was fun pitting the two generations against each other and seeing them bring out the best and worst in each other.
Does the creative process get easier for you with each book?
I suppose you become more confident and adventurous over time. I wanted to throw Elizabeth some unexpected challenges and see how she coped, so I really went all out to create incidents that neither Elizabeth nor the reader would see coming, which is how Baz and Vladimir found their way into the story.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Read widely and make an effort to examine books you really enjoy to work out how they were created; how authors use particular techniques like sentence structure, foreshadowing, flashbacks and humour. You can learn a lot about writing from reading – and practising writing.
What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?
I have to be quietly aggressive about preserving my mornings (six days a week) for writing. It is so easy for things to intrude on that time, especially when you work from home. Morning is when my brain is firing the best and I don’t want to waste it! Right now I’m working on a mystery set in 1965 in the rag trade in Surry Hills about four tea ladies who get together to solve a crime – which is great fun!