This is a tough question for me to answer because, in my mind, it is about so many things.
The Bracelet is a Young Adult/New Adult novel of 351 pages (98,000 words) and inspired by an heirloom in my family and some very strong female forebears. It revolves around 19 year old Katelyn, an Indian-Aussie raised in a small place in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains called Yallowin. her adolescence turns in to a debacle and she moves down to Wollongong to live with her uncle for the last 3 years of school. The novel begins with her on the opal fields in western Qld from whence she returns to her little, hostile hometown. When she decides to stay to help her ancient great-grandmother with their apple/cattle farm, her new-found maturity is sorely tested as she confronts the ghosts from her fractious past.
The bracelet becomes her most precious possession, more so as she slowly realises what it really represents.
The main stories of her forebears are set in Walgett in 1894, Wagga Wagga in WWII, and in Yallowin – 1980s and 2007. All three are pretty accurate, historically. Structurally, it reminds me of My Place by Sally Morgan. Thematically, it’s a bit like Looking For Alibrandi – Love, Family, the varying pressures on women to conform in different eras – but the tensions around leaving/returning to a small, home community are a thematic feature. This is looked at through the experience of a number of Kate’s circle who have not left town, yet. And there is Grief … to be survived, endured, embraced … the Great Challenge of life.
For years I researched my forebears trying to find out as much as I could about their inside selves. My grandmother, mother and uncle told me the stories they knew and from these I became more and more curious. Were these people really as amazing as they sounded?
Then out of nowhere one day, it quietly smacked me between the eyes that these folk mostly ended up as little old men and women, occupants of the sidelines of their grandchildren’s lives, outside the real action of life. I looked at the photos of these remarkable ancestors of mine in their old age – wrinkled, crooked, shapeless, harmless – and I thought, ‘You are amazing, and I only know fragments.’
I wrote this novel to honour those people, especially the women.
This book is about the legacies of Family, what we really inherit from our forebears. Everything human is double-edged. Kate, the protagonist, has to learn this about herself, has to learn to love this about herself and others.
A THIRD ANSWER: It’s about Love and Passion, Death and Grief, Life, the Universe and a few miscellaneous bits n pieces. It’s about one human being in a long line.
ANSWER #4: is in the making …