Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Brushstrokes of Memory
Published by McKenzie Publishing, 1 April 2017, RRP
Brushstrokes of Memory is a compelling novel of love, lost
memories and rediscovering dreams
thirty-second birthday, Rebecca is in high spirits. Life could not be better.
She adores her husband of seven years, Daniel, a successful musician. She is
carving out a reputation as a talented painter. She expects to juggle travel,
motherhood and a stellar career in the future. But in 2013, she wakes in
hospital after a head injury and finds out that nearly a decade of her life has
been erased from her memory. Now nearly forty-two, she can’t remember anything
after her thirty-second birthday, a decade fraught with changes she never would
have anticipated – illness, infidelity, betrayal, death and separation –
and the disintegration of many of her dreams.
like she is still thirty-two, Rebecca has to grapple with suddenly being so
much older and with a world that is more complicated than she remembers. As she
learns information about her life from the last decade, she comes to realise
she has completely lost her way. But if she can’t remember anything of nearly
ten years, then could this be the chance for her to wipe the slate clean and
husband, a wife. Two dreadful secrets and a decade of lost memories… Brushstrokes
of Memory is a beautifully crafted love story, written from the heart.’
Megan McChesney, books editor, NEXT Magazine
McMillan writes delicately, honestly and intimately about marriage, cancer,
loss, love and friendship. I particularly loved the New Zealand context – the
familiar neighbourhoods, explosions of pohutakawa blossoms in summer and salty
scents of the sea.
of Memory Karen McMillan has written a very tender love story - not the
typical tale of a young couple falling head over heels – but of a woman
remembering herself – her mistakes, her grief and her courage. This is a story
of a woman choosing the best version of herself and falling in love with her
life.’ Hannah Tunnicliffe, author of A French Wedding.
idea for Brushstrokes of Memory first came to me after reading a
real-life account of a young mother in the UK who woke up after being in a coma
and had forgotten fourteen years of her life. She didn’t recognise her husband,
and she had no recollection of their meeting and marrying. Exploring a similar
scenario, I decided my main character, Rebecca, would remember her husband and
the early days of their marriage but not almost a decade fraught with
unexpected changes. I wanted to explore the impact memories have in our lives,
in both negative and positive ways. I’ve also spent time looking at the changes
in the world from 2003 to 2013, especially the impact of social media in our
Brushstrokes of Memory is entirely a work of fiction, apart
from two aspects. Rebecca has the same breast cancer that I battled in 2011,
and our experiences of this particular forced march are similar. And the second
factual part of the book? Our beloved cat, Blong, features in the book as
himself.’ – Karen McMillan
About the author:
Karen McMillan is the author
of fiction and non-fiction. Her novels include the bestselling historical
novels, The Paris of the East, and The Paris of the West. Her
non-fiction books include Unbreakable Spirit: Facing the Challenge of Cancer
in New Zealand; Feast or Famine; Unleash Your Inner Seductress and Love
Bytes. She has also undertaken several ghost-writing projects, the
most recent is From the Blitz to the Burmese Jungle and Beyond.
Karen is a breast cancer
survivor, and she lives in Auckland with her husband and a cat called Blong.