When I first started writing Hostage my life was in a very different place. I had yet to move overseas and live in Canada (more about that another time), and hadn’t yet met Jacko. I was in an unhappy relationship and writing was my escape from that situation, while I built up the courage to end things and break free. I started working on a new novel idea that came to me one day. The concept was very different to the first two novels I had written – one a love story about a first broken heart and the other a love story of sorts, but about friendship, rather than romantic love. This idea would include a romantic aspect but that storyline would take a back seat to the thriller aspect of the story. My idea was to write a book about a woman who is taken Hostage by three men during an armed robbery. What follows is the story told through her eyes as she tries to fight the men off and escape, then along the way she faces another fight as she feels herself connected to some of the kidnappers and reassesses her life. Writing a thriller was a new experience for me, never having written anything in this genre before. My previous writing, whether it one of my other novels, story stories or poetry, had all been about love and loss and the emotional journey we each go through in life. Still I wanted to see it through and build on my original idea, creating characters that were both believable but relatable, people that would find a spot in the readers hearts as they traversed the story with them. The story takes place in Australia, starting in the Brisbane area and moving quickly through Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, taking the characters through small and large towns as they embark on a road trip filled with tension, fear, passion and emotional upheavals as Rachel is forced to look deep within herself and objectively view the life she’s been living.
When I originally completed the manuscript I admit that I hadn’t effectively touched on the emotional side of this ordeal for Rachel. Even with everything I had going on in my own life, I hadn’t dug down inside what I was feeling and let that come through in my writing. When I wrote the final edit I feel that I finally did this, incorporating my emotional rollercoaster of finding my life thrown through a loop on to my main character, and although the loss and pain she goes through is in no way similar to what I went through, Rachel found herself reassessing her life as the story came to a conclusion and making major life-altering decisions for her future. As I wrapped up the final edit of the manuscript I was proud of the body of work I had just completed, even though the journey I had originally scripted was quite different to the finished product. Kind of like how it goes in real life I guess. The story we originally plot out for ourselves ends up being very different to the final draft at the end of our story. The woman I was in 2000, when I first wrote notes for the outline of Hostage wouldn’t recognise the woman I am now, just like the Rachel in the opening words is a different person to the woman she becomes in the epilogue of the book. In both cases, we’re women who have been through hell in life and come out the other side, completely altered, sporting new battle scars but standing tall and ready to take on the world and the next challenges thrown at us. Fingers crossed!
Bringing Hostage to life has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever been through. I’ve felt personally fulfilled, seeing my lifelong dream come to fruition. Like all aspiring authors, I have huge dreams of the things I’d love to see happen with my novel and my writing career. No writer alive hasn’t imagined themselves as the next best-selling author to launch their written words on an unsuspecting world. No matter the outcome for my own novel, I view the entire publishing process as a success because I took that first brave step to publish. Whether I hit bestseller status or simply run out of prints from my first run and have to order more, I’ve done it. I’ll be a published author and will have followed my dreams. I hope everyone who has a dream of leaving a legacy behind in the world takes that step and jumps. No matter where you land, you’re a success in my eyes simply for trying.
Follow your dreams and always be kind - to both yourself and those around you. Everyone is riding a battle of their own and we could use a little more love and kindness in the world today.