A group of wonderful writers spent last week collecting donations and setting up an auction website where you can bid for signed copies, tickets to events, manuscript assessments and mentoring, or even the chance to have a character named after you in a novel. All money goes to help those affected by the Queensland floods. For full details go to: http://authorsforqueensland.wordpress.com/ On the site there’s a chance to win signed copies of Come Back to Me and my second book Beneath the Shadows, which won’t be out in bookstores until 1st February 2011. Bidding closes 11 pm on 24 January (Sydney time). Good luck with the bidding, and thank you for your support.col-md-2
Book Group Questions for Come Back to Me
1. Explore the different ways that the title theme of ‘Come Back to Me’ resonates throughout the book.
2. What do you think of Alex’s dilemma and choices? Can a person be truly in love with two people at the same time?
3. The changing nature of relationships between parents and children features prominently in the book. Discuss the nature and complexities of adult children’s relationships with their parents.
4. Each character goes on some kind of figurative journey within the novel. By the end, what do you think they each have learned, and how might it change them?
5. Different types of loss feature heavily in the novel. Which types of loss stand out most for you? How have these losses shaped the characters’ lives?
6. Each character in the book has personality traits that appear to be holding them back in life. Can you identify them? Do they change during the course of the story? If so, how?
7. Explore Alex’s motivations and experiences in the story. How much is he a victim of circumstance, and how much does he bring on himself through his decisions?
8. Where did your sympathies lie during the course of the novel, and why?
9. **NEW** At one point, Chloe asks: ‘What had she done to cause everything that was happening to her?’ This may be a harsh question to direct at herself, but it is an understandable one. Discuss how the notion of responsibility plays out in the novel, and the extent to which the characters are responsible for themselves or each others’ actions or reactions.
10. **NEW** Chloe, Alex and Julia/Amy have all pushed memories away or suppressed them in order to get on with their lives. Explore why they have done this, and what it means for them.
11. **NEW** Towards the end of the book, Margaret suggests to Chloe, ‘…maybe Alex is trying to protect you…’ Do you agree with this statement? Is that what Alex was trying to do?
12. **NEW** Throughout the book, there are lots of references to opportunities for connection between the characters, opportunities that might not come round again, or moments when they have to choose whether to speak or to withhold information. Can you identify these, and what do you think of the choices each character makes?col-md-2
Book Group Questions for Beneath the Shadows
2. Grace is driven by her need for resolution: did you see this as an obstacle or a necessity for her?
3. Ghosts, omens, clocks that stop and start by themselves – is there a supernatural element in Roseby, or was it all just a figment of Grace’s imagination?
4. Windows and reflections are strong symbols in the novel. How do you interpret their significance?
5. Not only is Grace reading Rebecca, but throughout the book the classic novel is alluded to in others ways too. Consider these parallels, and what they contribute to the story.
6. By the end, the mystery of Adam’s disappearance is resolved. Yet Adam didn’t tell Grace where he’d put their money, his relationship with Jenny, or the existence of the cellar. How much do you think the reader gets to know the ‘real’ Adam?
7. How did you interpret Grace’s strange dreams? Were they warnings, her subconscious trying to process her fears, or something else?
8. How important is Annabel to the story? What role does she play?
9. Is Meredith a villain or a victim?
10. By going through their belongings and their memories, Grace seems to be trying to understand who Adam’s grandparents were. How far can she succeed, do you think? And why is this so important to her?col-md-2