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  • Writer's pictureKate Clinch

My Writing Journey

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

When I looked for inspiration for my first novel, I found it in the character of Yaya, a beautiful old woman who came into my mind late one night. As I have written, I have seen her life story unfold, and then, like a detective or maybe a family historian, I have had to piece together the clues about where she lived and her background to discover the backdrop in place and time against which she lived her life. Yaya lives in northern Arizona. Deeply spiritual, she has acquired wisdom and held onto the traditions of her Indian Grandmother. A string of tragedies have meant that she has no one in her family to pass on that legacy to, and when we meet her, she has just learned that Angela, the young woman she has taken into the void in her heart, has outgrown the confines of a small rural town, and is heading to the city. Devastated, she replays the story of her life, from 1920. Iconic moments of American and world history: the Great Depression, the dust bowl migrants of the 1930’s, the opening, and later the closure of Route 66, are seen through her eyes, as she adjusts to the changes of the twentieth century. But some things are universal and remain constant: her persistence to keep going, in the face of heartbreak and adversity and her passion to pass on her own life lessons to the next generation. As the story continues to unfold, Angela realizes that the freedom she thought she was running away to find, was an illusion. She can’t run away from her roots without losing her identity. But how will she reconcile her destiny, with being a young woman in the modern age? Yaya has always told her that the future was woven into her dreams, and if she followed the threads she would find her way. But will an unexpected romance with Daniel show her how? Researching the novel led me to discover all sorts of fascinating tidbits, some of which I can share with you on this page. The manuscript is now finalized, incorporating the latest on-the-ground research conducted on my most recent trip to northern Arizona, to Seligman, the real life town which inspires Yaya’s hometown, to the Four Corners to learn more about Navajo culture and weaving, and along parts of the iconic Route 66. The sequel, also now completed, brings part of the action back to my own hometown of Adelaide. The next step is to pitch both stories to publishers, which I will begin doing in October. Wish me luck! Kate Achiara

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