In two weeks, In Falling Snow will be out in the world. It's been over ten years since I first read about Miss Ivens and the other doctors who took it upon themselves to travel to France and there build a hospital for wounded French soldiers in an old, old abbey during WWI, risking all for what they believed in.
In Falling Snow will be launched in Brisbane, Australia, where I grew up, at Avid Reader in West End, where good people get their books, by Anna Bligh, former Premier of Queensland. If you heard of the terrible floods that beset Queensland while Anna was Premier in 2011, you may have seen her interviewed. I was in Canada at the time, observing from a distance. She achieved the perfect balance of fierce leadership and gentle love. It makes her ideal to launch In Falling Snow.
Since I first came across the Scottish Women Doctors, I've visited the abbey myself, read many first-hand accounts and novels of war, given birth to a child, worked on a major review or two, published a non-fiction book, and written lots of journalism, all the while writing little doo-dads and bits of pieces in notebooks and on cards about Royaumont and the women.
Now I can't wait to see the novel find its readers. It's a beautiful story that could only have grown out of the loving communities I was lucky enough to be part of while writing, Fondation Royaumont which provided me with the chance to see the abbey first-hand, the Banff Centre in Canada where art is fed to you in the water, the town of Banff with its cold snow and warm Albertans, my Australian publisher Allen and Unwin and agent Curtis Brown where I've found such a home, and my friends and family with me on the writing journey or just on the journey.
I have had cause lately to think about why we are alive and what our lives are for, to face my own mortality in light of someone else's. I don't have an answer. But I do know that it's these communities that matter, friends, family, colleagues. 'Only connect,' is what Forster said. 'Only connect.' It's what In Falling Snow is setting out to do. Go well, dear book.