Bernie, a divorced mother of three, lives on a hilltop near Byron Bay. She works part-time for the local paper. Bernie has an amicable relationship with her ex-husband and strong female friendships.
While writing her first novel, she gets in contact with an old friend from university. Jack is married, has two children, and has never forgotten Bernie. A tortuous, intimate, passionate - yet frustratingly sexless - affair follows, fuelled by hundreds of confessional text messages and emails.
When Jack ends the relationship, Bernie is so emotionally lost she seeks solace, via the internet, in a string of increasingly dangerous and twisted sexual encounters.
Losing February describes, in sometimes disturbingly graphic detail, what happens when a strong, energetic, capable woman in her early 40s loses her sense of self and mistakes grief for punishment.
Susanna Freymark works full-time as a journalist. She spent two years teaching in a remote Aboriginal community in South Australia and lived in London for fifteen years where she owned a bookshop. Susanna recently completed a Master of Arts in creative writing and her short stories have been published in the UTS Anthology and numerous other publications. A mother of three, she is married and lives in Sydney.
Author: Susanna Freymark
Question: What inspired you to write Losing February?
Susanna Freymark: Losing February is drawn on real life experiences however it is fiction and is not entirely true. Losing February was inspired by my experiences of falling in love in my 40's and my downfall from that.
Question: Why did you decide to draw on your own life and experiences?
Susanna Freymark: Initially I started to write down my experiences, not for anyone to read, but to understand what had happened to me and how I could be swung around and that I could fall so fast. I started to write about these experiences to understand them in my own head, I could have gone to a therapist but I chose to write about it.
Question: Did you find it difficult or soothing to write about your past experiences?
Susanna Freymark: When I want to understand anything, I tend to write it down; if I'm in a conflict with someone, I'll write it down because there is something about seeing it on the page that helps me, personally, understand it. When you look at words on a page you can understand them as they are out of your head and you can see it directly which helps me understand. I write about everything, it's just what I do!
Question: How did you go about researching the internet dating world?
Susanna Freymark: I have had my own experiences to draw on but I did speak to a lot of other women about love and sex in conversation more so than 'research'. I spoke to a lot of women about what they had been through, I heard a lot of incredible stories particularly because I had shared my own and people are then very open to tell you what they've been through.
Question: What was the best thing about creating the character of Bernie?
Susanna Freymark: That's a good question but I can't answer that, there isn't just one thing as you become so tied with the character, you live with them. Sorry I can't answer this question.
Question: What do you hope readers take away from Losing February?
Susanna Freymark: I hope readers are touched by the story and the see beyond the brutal sex scene. I wanted to write about love in a way that wasn't romantic but shows how raw and powerful it was and I hope they take away an understanding of our capacities to love. In terms of sex and online dating I really think that the more traditional methods of meeting someone who is a friend of friend or going out and meeting a partner is a bit more natural than going online.