I’m thrilled to have Kim Lock with us on the blog today to tell us about her new novel of family secrets and suicide in a small Australian town.
Kim, what inspired you to write Like I Can Love?
After I’d finished my first novel and was in the process of submitting it for publication, I wanted something new to clear my mind. At the time, someone very close to me was in the process of ending a long-term relationship and it was quite traumatic for everyone involved. The seed for Like I Can Love was planted then.
Like I Can Love is a great read but also feels like a novel with a broader message. Is this what you intended, or just how the story unfolded naturally?
This story evolved very organically, and to be honest I didn’t know much of what was going to happen until it happened! The narrative has also developed considerably from draft to draft, and other than that very first seed of an idea, a lot of the story has undergone significant change from the opening draft to the final version. While I didn’t set out to stitch broader cultural messages into the novel, writing fiction is the way I make sense of this often tumultuous world.
Feminism and the challenges women face particularly within the nuclear family structure inspire and shape my writing, so those themes are often inextricable.
The story demonstrates elements which have been found to be widely true by researchers, such as the generational cycle of domestic violence. Tell us about the research you did for this book.
A majority of the research I did for this novel was simply through listening to women’s voices. I also read Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft, which is a phenomenal, eye-opening book into the mindset of physical and psychological abuse.
Jenna’s story of motherhood and abuse is so harrowingly vivid; how did you cope with writing about such a distressing topic while raising your own small children?
There were times where it wasn’t easy, and having had postnatal depression myself I often dipped into the reservoir of some of my own feelings to write Jenna’s story. But I think that’s the one of the many beauties of fiction – it allows for as much necessary distance as the writer needs between themselves and the story. A writer can skim as close to their characters as they need to for authenticity, and when things get too close, we can splice in a fantastical character or scene or plotline for relief.
In your first book, Peace, Love and Khaki Socks, you drew on your personal experiences of military Darwin. In Like I Can Love you paint the picture of the rural South Australia you grew up in. I love armchair travel, so I’m dying to know… where are you moving next?! What’s your next book about?
My next novel is set in the 1960s, in a fictional post-war Australian country town. The story tells the lives of three people who have come together in unusual, heart-breaking, and tender circumstances.
Find Kim Lock’s books:
- Like I Can Love (Pan Macmillan Australia, 2016)
- Peace, Love and Khaki Socks (Midnight Sun Publishing, 2013)
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