Christie Ryan’s life is everything she hoped for: an exciting job, exotic travel for work, a waterfront home with her fiancé Derek. Their relationship may not be perfect, but she finally has the stability and love she craved throughout her childhood.
But just how secure is her life? The death of her estranged grandmother threatens everything, as Christie find herself in an abandoned cottage in a small seaside town, uncovering a family mystery through old love letters.
She seeks help from reclusive artist Martin Blake, but their aims clash as she pursues the answers that he is determined to keep hidden. As the secrets of the past begin to unravel, however, so does the safe world Christie has built around her.
“A fascinating and warm-hearted love-story full of secrets and lies, heartaches and joy.”
“Romance novels seldom take me by surprise but this one did. It’s a marvelous story!”
“Heart warming as well as heart breaking this book is a crazy roller-coaster of emotions!!”
CIR: What inspired this love story?
CLARK: I live near an old stationmasters cottage that always made me wonder what secrets might be hidden away inside. I grew up in small coastal Australian towns, often wandering alone as a youngster with vivid memories of old cemeteries, wild beaches and interesting people. A few years ago, my sister and I found each other after almost forty years apart and the reunion changed my understanding of the past. Whilst she is the opposite of the older sister in the book, knowing her made me think about the premise of making decisions for someone else based on your love of them, not what is best for them.
CIR: What was your favorite part of writing this story?
CLARK: Creating the beautiful town of River’s End was so much fun! I sketched it out so many times, named every part and puzzled over getting the descriptions as authentic as possible. It is a little town lost in time and facing the threat of development.
CIR: What was the hardest part of writing this story?
CLARK: It took about fifteen years. I started writing it as a novel – quickly changing it to a screenplay – then had children and work commitments and left it in a drawer. About two years ago, I realized that if I didn’t write it now, I never would. If was difficult to remove a lot of original characters and ideas that no longer worked.
CIR: Who is your favorite character and why?
CLARK: Christie. She is a mix of things from utterly kind and compassionate to fiery and stubborn. She makes mistakes because of these traits but learns a lot about herself and other people on her journey.
CIR: What other books, movies or shows might you compare to this story?
CLARK: The Notebook and The Bridges of Madison County, mostly for the way they create emotions in the reader and the method of story telling.
CIR: What themes do you address in this story?
CLARK: Respect – between genders, self-respect. Does true love exist and if so, can it overcome time and interference. Finding courage in yourself. Should development take precedence over tradition and nature?
CIR: What message do you hope your readers take away from this book?
CLARK: That hope is worth holding onto. That small lies can quickly become overwhelming life-changing events. To trust yourself and follow your beliefs and your heart.
CIR: The book blurb mentions the “secrets of the past”. How does that factor into the storytelling of time and location?
CLARK: There are two strongly linked stories, one in the late ’60s and one today. The settings include Melbourne and The Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia.
CIR: Is there more coming?
CLARK: Yes, a sequel. Followed by a speculative thriller.
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