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Win a copy of Monica McInerney's new novel, The Godmothers
Murray Bridge News has a copy to give away ahead of the author's visit to Murray Bridge Library this week.
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Monica McInerney left her husband in Ireland in February, thinking she would only be spending a few weeks visiting family in Australia.
But, like so many people, the best-selling author’s plans for 2020 have had to change.
She has spent the eight months since then ensconsed in a spare bedroom at her mother’s place in Adelaide, writing a series of children’s books and putting the finishing touches on her latest novel, The Godmothers.
Family ties and the distances that divide loved ones have been themes in many of her works, but a separation forced by the coronavirus and closed borders was not something she had in mind.
She described the experience as “unexpectedly strange and wonderfully weird”.
“I’m lucky my mum had this tiny spare room,” she said.
“It has been a bedroom, an office, I’ve had lots of Zoom events – it’s amazing what you can turn a tiny office into.
“I started to get nervous about the backdrop (for video calls), but looking at 7.30 on ABC TV, you see people’s pantries and their kids coming in, so I don’t think it’s so bad.”
The Godmothers focuses on Eliza, a young woman who made it through a troubled childhood with support from her two godmothers.
On the spur of the moment, she accepts an invitation to move from Melbourne to Edinburgh, Scotland, where she begins to discover herself at last – and becomes curious about her family’s past.
The publisher’s blurb described it as “a moving and perceptive story about love, lies, hope and sorrow, about the families we are born into and the families we make for ourselves”.
As a child, McInerney’s family lived on a farm in the Clare Valley where, as one of seven children, she became an avid eavesdropper at an early age.
She became curious about the things people said and didn’t say, about intergenerational secrets and the reasons people chose not to share the truth with their children – “rich material for a novelist”.
Though she described The Godmothers as “emotionally autobiographical”, not based on her own life, she recalled two particular memories that had influenced it.
One was the death of her father’s half-sister at a young age, something spoken about rarely, and only ever in hushed tones.
The other was a gift given to her sister for her 50th birthday: a journal detailing the history of one of her closest friendships, filled with old letters about boyfriends, friends and family members.
The sister made her husband promise to destroy it if anything ever happened to her, and forbade him or their children from ever reading it.
There was something powerful about the secrets of the past, McInerney said, the answer to the question “what did your parents, your aunties get up to before you came along?”
“That's a seed that runs through The Godmothers ... Eliza’s godmothers have secrets of their own that she may or may not learn,” she said.
“It’s about moral dilemmas and truth-telling.”
McInerney has had several number-one Australian bestsellers and sold more than a million books during her 20-year career as an author, and has repeatedly been voted one of the nation's top 10 favourite authors.
The Godmothers is out now.
More information: www.penguin.com.au.
Meet Monica McInerney in person
Monica McInerney will visit Murray Bridge Library to promote The Godmothers at 2pm on Friday.
She will talk about her writing process, the research that went into the book and her own life story; take questions from audience members; and sign copies of the book.
McInerney invited anyone who could not make it to Friday’s event to visit her website, www.monicamcinerney.com – she will host many more online events throughout October.
RSVP: Visit the Murray Bridge Library website, onecard.network, and click on “author talk with Monica McInerney”.
Win a copy of The Godmothers
To celebrate the release of The Godmothers, Murray Bridge News will give a copy away to a subscriber.
To enter, scroll down and write a comment below this story, telling us the name of the novel’s main character.
A winner will be selected at random at 5pm on Thursday, October 8 and contacted by Murray Bridge News, both in the comment section and by email.
Murray Bridge News will arrange delivery either in person or by post.
Disclosure: Murray Bridge News received a copy of The Godmothers from Penguin Random House Australia.