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Love and Hate are two sides of the same coin

Love and Hate are two sides of the same coin

I cannot tell you how many fights my sisters and I got into while we were growing up. When it was on, it was on. My poor mum had to deal with constant dramas as three girls turned seemingly innocuous events into scenes of emotional upheaval worthy of an Oscar. Thankfully there was no rushing to the hospital due to hair pulling getting out of hand. But I think there were plenty of close calls.

Better or for worse though, I wouldn’t change it for anything. There’s a reason why I dedicated my book The River and the Ravages ‘For my sisters. And for sisters everywhere.’

There’s simply no better connection than that which exists between sisters.

No one ever gets to you like your sister does. They’re hardwired to know your triggers, your vulnerabilities. The path to the door of your insecurities and all the stuff you try to keep covered up from the rest of the world is really a well-worn highway for sisters. They know how to get there with their eyes closed.

But therein also lies the wonder of it all.

They get you. They get you like no other. Having someone ‘get you’ when you don’t even have to try is one of life’s greatest gifts. Our greatest love is for people who let us be weird, who let us live in the space of our own uniqueness. Sisters are (usually) those kinds of people.

Sisters teach you about friends, men, work, heartbreak, joy. As other people come and go, sisters are always there. Sisters may even drift apart geographically, but they’re still there. Blood is stronger than anything. Cliche but so true.

It was always front and centre for me when I wrote a book. The genre wasn’t my core concern. What was essential to me was to explore two sisters, strong women but vastly different in nature, doing dreadful things to hurt the other with consequences and repercussions, but finding a way to appreciate and support each other.

But really, the greatest thing is simply having having access to all those extra clothes at no extra cost.

~  Jann x

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Influences, ideas and a certain movie from 1991

I’m going to cast your mind back to 1991. If you weren’t born then, don’t you dare leave this page. You deserve to know too…no judgement here. One night, I got myself to a cinema with the few spare bits of taxpayer funded coinage I could rustle together. Thought I’d check out that “chick-flick”, Thelma and Louise.

I was in my first year of university and so I was doing things a girl normally does in her first year of university. Playing the bagpipes. Learning about hygiene. Making great strides in farrier science. I actually didn’t know much about the movie prior to seeing it. Yeah..yeah..women stuff. Whatever. It blew me out of the water.

I wasn’t prepared for a story where women get the last word in. It seemed like a milestone moment for female characters in movies. And I know I wasn’t alone thinking this. Women came out of cinemas in 1991 cheering, applauding, positively dancing in the streets after seeing this film. The story arc of two women discovering their potential had us wanting more, MORE! Everyone expected there to be more like it. But strangely, almost eerily, there weren’t more. In fact, the tale somehow slipped into folklore.

Thelma and Louise always stayed with me as a pivotal story in its own right. And inspired I was indeed. Fast forward 25 years, if I may be so bold enough (mmmm, yes…I can certainly be bold enough) I thought I’d have a crack at redressing the void since that fateful release in 1991. I too was going to tell a story. And straight away I knew it had to have two women as the lead characters. And like Thelma and Louise, I didn’t want them to be role models. I wanted them to be real women, going through real shit, and finding a way to get through it.

On an end note I want to say that I don’t believe for a second the dearth of great women’s stories in movies and TV is also happening in the world of books. There are countless books that tackle this wonderful theme. One only has to look at Goodreads lists such as “Best ‘strong female’ fantasy novels” and “YA Books with awesome female characters” to see there is strong demand for great stories with women in the driving seat. Female story tellers are kicking goals. I salute you all.

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