Bestselling Australian women's fiction author Fiona McCallum celebrates a great milestone with the release of her 10th novel. Over an impressive six years Fiona has sold over 350,000 copies of her previous nine bestsellers.
Making Peace follows the journey of Hannah Ainsley as she rebuilds her life after unimaginable tragedy. Known for her relatable and genuine characters, Fiona McCallum brings us a stirring novel of strength in the face of adversity and recognising the power of strong friendships… Does one simple act of kindness have the power to completely turn someone's life around?
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 put the pieces of her life back together with the help of a group of dear, loyal friends. But while Hannah is beginning to get excited about the future again, she's concerned about her best friend Sam who is facing a crisis of her own. It's Hannah's turn to be Sam's rock – but can she save Sam's dreams from unravelling?
When Hannah returns to work, she discovers she can't settle. She's loved her job for a decade, and it's been her lifeline during her grief. But something has 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? Or 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 was raised on a cereal and wool farm in rural South Australia and then moved to inner-city Melbourne to study at university as a mature age student. She unexpectedly started a writing and editing consultancy which saw her mixing in corporate circles in Melbourne and Sydney. She returned to Adelaide for a quieter life, and is now living her dream of being a full-time novelist. Fiona writes heart-warming stories of self-discovery, that draw on her life experiences, love of animals and the importance of strong friendships. Making Peace sees Fiona celebrate the publication of her 10th novel.
Author: Fiona McCallum
Question: Congratulations on your tenth book! How did you come up with the idea for Making Peace?
Fiona McCallum: Thanks very much! It's an exciting milestone. Making Peace continues Hannah's story from Finding Hannah (published 2017) – though it's also been written to be enjoyed on its own. I wanted to show Hannah getting on with life – actually thriving and learning to be happy again – after enduring the traumatic experience of losing her entire family in a car crash. I also wanted to give Hannah the chance to repay her friends for the love and support they showed her during her grief. To me, Making Peace is a celebration of friendship. It's also a celebration of simple kindness. There seems to be so much unpleasantness in the world at the moment – especially online in social media – so I particularly wanted to write about a group of people who showed kindness and generosity of spirit towards each other and to strangers.
Question: Was it difficult to draw on your own experiences of loss and healing when writing Making Peace?
Fiona McCallum: Yes and no. No, because fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on how you choose to look at it – I have plenty of experiences of loss and healing on which to draw. Yes, because digging deep and reliving experiences and the deep emotions attached can be really confronting and debilitating at times.
Question: Are the characters based on anyone you know?
Fiona McCallum: Not that I'd admit to, given it's a work of fiction. But, seriously, not really. My characters tend to be composites – traits taken from multiple people I know or have met. There's also a lot of me in many of my characters.
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?
Fiona McCallum: Most, if not all, of it. I pride myself on writing with honesty and authenticity – story-lines and characters that are down-to-earth and believable and to which readers can relate on some level.
Question: There are several issues raised in this book. Was this deliberate or did the story evolve this way?
Fiona McCallum: When writing, I always look for opportunities to subtly (and sometimes not quite so subtly) raise issues that are important to me. Some things I deliberately set out to talk about and some arise during the process.
Question: Do you have a writing schedule? How do you find time to write?
Fiona McCallum: I'm very driven, disciplined and organised. I love routine and structure, so have quite a strict writing schedule. Being a morning person, I write by hand from eight am to noon five or six days a week. After lunch I type up my morning's work and then deal with emails or anything else related to the business of being an author that's arisen. Now I'm working full-time as a novelist, my writing is my highest priority and comes first.
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Author: Fiona McCallum