Fiona McCallum objects to people asking ‘what is your guilty reading pleasure?. Fiona has such a love for books she doesn’t believe there is anything guilty about reading in fact reading in all its variety and eclecticism is something to celebrate and deserves to be made ‘trendy’. Fiona makes a point of portraying her protagonist Hannah as an avid reader. It’s rare we see our heroine displaying a love for reading but this is exactly what happens in her latest novel ‘Making Peace’
Fiona has set ‘Making Peace’ in Melbourne, a city she lived in for four and a half years. On the subject of cities Fiona tells me she enjoys Tasmania and singles out Launceston’s Cataract Gorge as a particular favourite.
‘Making Peace’ is a unique piece of fiction because Fiona has created a new genre. It doesn’t fit into the romantic classification, although some romance is in the novel. Instead ‘Making Peace’s’ main focus is on the friendships between women demonstrating their relationships and strengths as they grow emotionally. Fiona describes her writing as ‘general fiction’ but more specifically she says it is ‘heart-warming fiction’ or ‘a journey of self-help’ fiction.
The main protagonist Hannah is a woman of such strength, that when faced with incredible tragedy, instead of harbouring hate reaches out to the other person touched by the tragedy to make peace. The irony of the title is that ‘peace’ is also the name of the other major character in the tragedy ‘Henry Peace’. All the while Hannah faces her fears with the support of her female network of friends and as the novel progresses Hannah learns to love life again.
To those that might think Hannah is too good to be true in her ability to forgive, Fiona says, it is unusual for us as readers to identify with such a character because for the most part, just as characters in books that like reading are uncommon so there is a lack of kind characters, who are able to surmount anger and create peace, in fiction, Once these attributes are possessed by more characters in fiction, hopefully they will be mirrored in real life.
Making Peace is out now published by Harlequin.