Tell Us Your Backstory with Phillipa Nefri Clark
The road to publishing my first book wound past wild oceans and lonely graveyards, over seemingly insurmountable obstacles, then finally to the other side of the planet.
A difficult childhood turned into a confusing adolescence when my father left, taking my big sister with him. I never saw him again and it was as though she also disappeared.
Life continued. I sunk myself into the performing arts. Singing, acting, writing. Beside me as I type is a box of index cards with almost a hundred ideas for books sketched out, all from my teen and early adult years.
Marriage, two sons, our own business. The usual things we do swept aside my desire to write – so I thought. Then, we moved to our current home twenty plus years ago and nearby was a stationmaster’s cottage. Over one hundred years old, it intrigued me from the beginning. What stories did it have? What secrets?
For years, I wrote snippets, drew scenes in a sketch book. It had a title from the beginning, The Stationmaster’s Cottage. My love of Icehouse gave me images of an old artist whose fiancé left him on a beach in a storm. Eventually, I began writing in earnest, but something was missing.
One day, I found my sister. After almost forty years not knowing where to look, we somehow reunited. We spent half a day together at a hotel when I flew to Sydney to see her between flights from visiting her son in Perth to her imminent return to Ireland.
My life changed. Questions were answered and the hole in my heart was repaired. Now, I rewrote Cottage and this time, the story reflected the agonising effects of long term loss and the human need to hope. The older sister in Cottage is nothing like my sister, apart from their fierce need to protect their younger sibling.
After multiple edits and the creation of a stunning cover by Steam Power Studios, my oldest son helped me navigate indie publishing. On Valentine’s Day 2017, The Stationmaster’s Cottage was released.
Before long, I was inundated with requests for a sequel. How would I do that as Cottage was written as a standalone? Funny though how much my readers already meant to me! I sat down with a coffee and read my book, and to my surprise found plenty of little loose ends.
Jasmine Sea was born, and hopefully, will be released in September. It follows on from the magical ending of Cottage, but with a lot more suspense and a different slant on some of Cottage. Its progress can be followed on its Facebook book or through special sneak peeks in my newsletter.
What that winding journey has taught me is that I am a writer. It isn’t what I do, it is who I am. Having my sister back in my life proved our ability as humans to rise above other people’s interference. With every new reader who enjoys my work, I am humbled and inspired.
The Stationmaster’s Cottage
Phillipa Nefri Clark
A rich and powerful romance set in two eras. A gripping story of fiercely protected secrets, courage, betrayal, redemption, and true love.
Christie’s carefully constructed life turns upside-down with the inheritance of an abandoned cottage in an Australian coastal town. The discovery of old love letters draws her into the heart wrenching world of Thomas and Martha in a fifty-year-old mystery.
She seeks help from Martin, a reclusive artist with his own reasons to protect the past. As the secrets unravel, so does Christie’s safe world. Will her obsession to right the wrongs of the past lead her to heartbreak or happiness?