Are you Aboriginal?
This is the most common question I am asked after describing my novel.
Twice stolen is a work of Inspirational Fiction. The main character, Dimitri, discovers he may have Aboriginal heritage. The story provides just enough historical and cultural information to pique the readers' curiosity to go away and discover more for themselves.
I am not an Indigenous Australian and this novel reflects the journey I have undertaken to learn more. Dimitri grew up with as much - or little - knowledge as the average Australian child. When faced with the question of his identity, he is forced to look and learn. Regardless of the outcome of his search, the richness it brings to his life is invaluable.
The first book launch I ever attended was the autobiography of Aboriginal author Doris Kartinyeri, with Kick the Tin. Doris was stolen from her crib in a SA country hospital when she was less than one month old. The launch was held on the empty grounds of the Children's Home where she grew up. The Home had gone and the land returned to its natural scrub, protected as national park. In my spirit I heard the children's laughter. And felt their pain.
I felt shame at my ignorance of our nation's dark history. As an Australian writer, I needed to know more, and I needed to write about what I found.
As well as personal research, I have been blessed by Aboriginal people willing to share snippets of their and their families' life story.
I wish to acknowledge the generosity of Lyn Lovegrove Niemz, award-winning Ngarrindjeri artist, in painting the stunning border on the front cover of Twice stolen. Like myself, Lyn works in the health and welfare field and I treasure the insights she has allowed me to have into her world and the world of her people.
I have taken a risk in writing this story. As a non-Aboriginal some may say it is not my story to tell. But I have listened to my heart. If just one reader learns something new and gains deeper respect for the resilience and commitment of Aboriginal people to overcome our nation's dark past, the risk has been worthwhile.
The characters in the genre of Inspirational Fiction face life's challenges through the eyes of their Christian faith. Dimitri and Leah fall in love with the biblical Song of Songs (or Solomon). A Blog post with
Adele Jones tomorrow explores this perspective of Twice stolen.
Twice stolen won the CALEB prize for an unpublished manuscript. It is due for release on Valentine's Day weekend in South Australia. The book is published by Armour Books and Susanne will have the honour of the publisher, Annie Hamilton, travel to SA to launch the book.
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