Clara is a young woman from a small town who comes to Lisbon to study Art. She has just begun her adventure of self-discovery in the extravagant bohemian world of the late 70’s, when her journey is abruptly cut short by a brutal rape by an acquaintance.
In the aftermath, Clara finds herself pregnant, and her family pressures her into marrying the man who assaulted her, and who claims “she was willing”. Clara is plunged into a nightmare of abuse that is to last two decades.
One day something changes. A chance encounter, a word spoken in passing by a stranger, and Clara awakens. Wakes and takes charge of her life. She frees herself of the nightmare and of her oppressor, but can she heal herself of the scars years of abuse have left on her spirit?
Determined to continue her interrupted journey, Clara goes to Tahiti to fulfill her childhood dream and “paint like Gauguin”.
On the magical island of Moorea, Clara enters a world of endless possibilities where she starts to blossom as a woman, and an artist. There, Clara meets the right man, and falls in love with the wrong one…
A return to Lisbon gifts Clara with vindication, closure, and triumph over her abuser, and yet her trials have just begun. She is about to discover the path of life rarely runs smoothly, and before she can reach for happiness, Clara must grow.
She must shed the abused girl and become a woman, capable of making the hardest of decisions, taking responsibility for herself and a new life. Setting out on the
difficult road that leads to maturity, Clara must complete her journey from darkness into light.
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WHEN WERE YOU FIRST BITTEN BY THE WRITING BUG?
When I started reading. I was four years old.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER?
Oh I don’t. I am a story-teller. I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to consider myself a writer. I am hopefully learning…
DO YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC WRITING STYLE?
No, as a matter of fact, this novel is completely different to the previous one. That was a romantic comedy, and this is a much darker book. I think I tell the story in the character’s voices and each one is so different!
WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR READERS TO GET OUT OF YOUR NOVELS?
WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT PROJECTS?
It’s a secret…
DO YOU SEE WRITING AS A CAREER?
A career? No. It’s a life’s work; it’s a compulsion, a need.
WHO DESIGNED THE COVER?
Well, actually, I did, I designed it. There is a story to this cover. I had a childhood friend, a very gifted artist living on a tropical island, and I had always loved this particular painting of his, and so I asked him for permission to use it, and his response was that he felt it wasn’t good enough…
But I insisted, and it turned out incredibly beautiful. I sent him the final artwork for MANscapes, and he loved it. Unfortunately three days later, my friend tragically passed away.
In a way, I feel this book has become a tribute to him. Not just because of the cover, but because the story is about an artist finding her way home on a tropical island… Journeying into light. As he did.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART OF WRITING YOUR BOOK?
Living Clara’s anguish, her struggle to leave her pain behind, to grow. I felt it, every bit of it: the oppression, the agony, and the ultimate achievement when she becomes a free human being. It was terrible and incredible. It was exhausting.”
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM WRITING YOUR BOOK?
So much! I am still learning how to write. I told you I am a story-teller, so my “thing” would be sitting in front of someone spinning a yarn. This writing is something I am still learning…
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER WRITERS?
Be passionate about what you do. Tell the story for yourself, not an audience, not the critics. Do it because you have a story that needs to be told; because you can’t help yourself.
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIFIC THAT YOU WANT TO SAY TO YOUR READERS?
Clara’s story is not unique. There are many Claras out there. Many women are living in the hell of abuse, afraid to walk away because it’s all they know. Take that first step out of darkness. Once you do, you will be surprised to find the light meets you halfway. Life is not punishment, we all deserve happiness; but it’s not going to fall into your lap. You need to fight for it.
The thing is, once you do act, decide to fight? Something incredible happens: life, the universe –whatever you want to call it – steps into your corner. But you have to choose. The essence of effective living is choice. We choose.
Not all your choices will be right, not everything will work out. But it is YOUR choice, YOUR life. You will no longer be a passive victim things happen to; you will be a survivor, someone who makes things happen, who decides, takes charge and responsibility for her own life.
And remember, the only power anyone has over you, is the power you yield.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME A PUBLISHED WRITER?
Submit, submit, submit, submit again; then submit yet AGAIN. Never give up.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?
Please live. Don’t just survive from day to day. Make every moment worth remembering. You don’t need to do huge things, change the world. Just make every day worthwhile.
Whatever you do it with it love, be passionately in love with living.
Whether it’s making a meal for your family, punching tickets, writing law; whatever it is, do it with love. Don’t take a single moment for granted.