The Quilt, Unravelled
The Quilt is a wide-ranging and moving story of one family, their love, their losses and, most significantly, their resilience. It is a highly emotional read and Ms. Carlton does a masterful job of bringing the two main characters – Paul and Joanne – together throughout the story. Secondary characters consistently threatened to steal the story as they are written with such believability it must be that the author knows people like this in real life. The depth of the characters, the intertwined relationships, and the stunning New Zealand landscapes described throughout make this a wonderful choice for anyone looking to connect with a new and fresh group of characters.
A Chat with the Author
Dave: This was a moving story, filled with love and tragedy. How much of an emotional rollercoaster did it put you on when you wrote it?
Rochelle: I agree that some of the content of The Quilt, Unravelled is emotional and to a degree confronting. It was consuming for me to write, as many of the issues have touched my own life. However, that also made the rollercoaster close to my heart and therefore easy for me to relate to the story. I personally do not enjoy a book that leaves me without some minor change, some thought and some feeling. I hope that the emotional issues also touch on subjects that leave a small message.
D: Did this book change you in some way?
R: I think everything you do in life changes you to some degree. But no I don’t think writing this book had a significant effect on who I am. What it did do was alter my goals. I had a beginning and at some point I wanted to create an ending. Navigating the 500 pages between, and being happy with the story, became a large part of my life for almost two years.
D: Which character was the easiest for you to develop, and why?
R: Most of the characters were easy to develop because most were similar, if only slightly, to people who have entered my life. If I was to choose one it would be Joanne. She developed easily because she evolved as a person throughout the story and her choices and circumstances were familiar to me. Often, career and relationships and the restrictions imposed by our upbringing cause us conflict as adults. Therefore her character was easy for me to develop and to relate to.
D: Did you worry that people close to you would recognize the similarities? And did that impact how you wrote her?
R: No. Joanne and some of the characters have very vague similarities to people who have entered my life. Often similarities to a mixture of people. I suspect most fictional characters are familiar in some way to the author and our experiences influence their creation and circumstances. No actual person or actual event is individually depicted in The Quilt, Unravelled.
D: What is it that you hope the reader will remember from the story? Is there some sort of take-away that you want to reach the reader?
R: My first hope is that readers enjoy the story. A work of fiction should be a form of escape from everyday reality. However, if there was a “take-away” from The Quilt, Unravelled it would be that youth is no guarantee of immorality, friendship and family are important to all humans and our upbringing doesn’t necessarily limit everything we can be as adults.
D: Did you discover anything surprising about yourself as you wrote it?
R: No, only that the twenty-four hours of a day were not enough.
D: Will we hear from these characters again, or you going in a new direction for the next book?
R: The story and the characters in The Quilt, Unravelled is complete. The epilogue allowed the reader to finish the novel knowing what had happened, and where their lives were heading. The new novel (which will be released in the next few months) has a different set of characters, a different location and is more a romantic suspense.
D: Has the next novel been easier or harder to write? What are your expectations for reader response?
R: The Quilt, Unravelled has many threads, different life stories and different generations that come together to form the story. Therefore, it was complicated to write, especially on the final edit when I altered a little of the sequence. The next novel is primarily about two main characters. Again, they are quite different geographically and socially. At this stage it is probably a less involved story to write, however it is also far from your typical straight forward boy/girl romance and is keeping me alert during the process!
I have no expectation as far as reader response is concerned. I obviously hope it will be well received but to predict this is impossible.
Dave Adair is the author of Random Lucidity, proud recipient of a growing bunch of consecutive stellar reviews.