Emerging from her own marriage breakdown, author Dianne Blacklock knows all about the internal battle that rages when deciding the right time to make a life-changing decision. Imbued with her own experience, The Right Time - Dianne's seventh novel, following the success of titles such as Three's a Crowd and Crossing Paths - covers vintage Blacklock territory, and is sure to please her loyal fan base.
The Beckett sisters - Ellen, Emma, Elizabeth and Evie - all need to shake things up.
Emma has been planning her dream wedding even since she was a little girl, and as soon as her boyfriend Blake finally proposes, she presumes that it can only be smooth sailing from then on.
Liz is a well respected and successful doctor and she expects her affair with a married colleague to turn into something more serious as soon as her partner can leave his wife. But that does seem to be taking a long time.
Evie and Craig are married with three children, but have lost their way. When Craig suggests a way to spice up their relationship, Evie is horrified - must she go through with Craig's plans in order to save her marriage?
While Ellen, the eldest sister and the anchor of the family, is dealing with a marriage breakdown and getting back into the dating game. But she wonders if she'll ever be able to let go and open her heart to love again.
Dianne Blacklock has worked as a teacher, trainer, counsellor, check-out chick and even one of those annoying market researchers you avoid in shopping centres. She has been a wife, an ex-wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter and a friend.
Her formidable reputation for engrossing and compelling fiction is built on her experiences as a woman; she has played many roles in her life and has an inherent understanding of what makes us tick. Her previous titles are Call Waiting, Wife for Hire, Almost Perfect, False Advertising, Crossing Paths and Three's a Crowd.
When Dianne's not writing she goes on rampages through the house, cleaning and emptying out cupboards and making everyone do extra chores. Needless to say, the family prefers it when she's writing. She lives south of Sydney.
The Right Time
Author: Dianne Blacklock
Question How much of your own experiences went into The Right Time?
Dianne Blacklock: My books are about women and families and relationships and kids … so they're always peppered with my own experiences as well as those of friends and relatives. For The Right Time, the initial idea was to write about four women at very different stages of their love lives. I decided that I would draw on my own experience of going through a separation after many years of marriage. However it tends to be the emotions I draw on rather than actual events … though some do creep in. But I'm not telling you which ones!
Question Did writing The Right Time make it any easier for you to work through your own life-changing decisions?
Dianne Blacklock: I wouldn't say easier - we separated six years ago so I've already had to make the biggest life-changing decisions. But it certainly was cathartic to be able to purge those feelings once and for all and to see how far I'd come! And it's good to be able to get a laugh out of it as well.
Question Are the characters Ellen, Emma, Elizabeth and Evie based on anyone you know?
Dianne Blacklock: Well, yes and no … I have two sisters, so I'm sure I have drawn on certain character traits, but they're blended with the traits of many women I know. I rarely base a character entirely on anyone from real life - the process is more like doing patchwork, selecting pieces that work together to make a unique whole. And soon enough the characters become themselves anyway, and I don't necessarily see a resemblance to anyone I know. Emma Beckett is her own person, so to speak, as are the rest of her sisters.
I think it's the relationship between the sisters, more than any particular character, that is modelled on my relationship with my sisters, and other sisters I know. That mix of jealousy and rivalry with fierce loyalty and protectiveness …. I'm already getting feedback from sisters saying it rings true for them.
Question Do you see yourself in any of the four Beckett sisters?
Dianne Blacklock: answer
Dianne Blacklock: Ellen is the one who separates from her husband at the beginning of the book, so I poured a lot of my own emotions into her. However, on the other hand, she's the eldest sister, so she approaches things in a very different way than I would, because I am the fifth of six siblings, and the middle sister. I'm a bit more timid, though not as timid as Evie!
Question What research was involved in writing The Right Time?
Dianne Blacklock: Elizabeth is a dermatologist and, without giving anything away, some of what she does is detailed in the book, so I had to know what I was talking about. The thing with research is that you have to know enough to be able to sound casual and natural about the subject. You're not writing a textbook, after all.
The other thing I take care to research in all my books is the setting. I always make sure I spend time in the various locations, familiarising myself with the streets and shops and parks, and just the very feel of the place. As with all research, you don't want to overdo it - it shouldn't come across as a travelogue, and I don't like writing long descriptive passages. I just want people to get an authentic sense of place, to feel as though they're right there with the characters.