Power of friendship explored in new novel set in Bundaberg
DRAWING from her own experiences, author Peta Jo explores themes of friendship and depression in her second novel set in contemporary Bundaberg.
The former Bundaberg resident, now living in Hervey Bay, said the old adage of 'write what you know' was firmly in mind when she began The Crushing Season.
Jo said the plot surrounded five childhood friends, now in their 30s, who have slowly drifted apart.
Career-oriented Tate is struggling with her new role as a mother; Alex, a bohemian soul has let anxiety rule his happiness; Leah is one French backpacker away from her next heartbreak; and then there's Benny, about to surrender his one fantasy of being with the only girl he's ever loved - Leah.
It's up to main protagonist May to find a way to keep them united.
The novel does not shy away from tough subject material including family abuse and depression but Jo said it was ultimately about the redeeming power of friendship.
"My family has a history of depression and I was diagnosed with post-natal depression," she said.
"I drew on those experiences but I always hope when I'm writing this stuff that I'm holding true for people beyond myself."
A mother of two, the 36-year-old writer said she had to make valuable use of any spare time she could find to complete the novel.
"I didn't have a regular schedule and it was a case of using the kids' bed time to think about the stories so that way when it was time to write I could focus on that," Jo said.
She said the feedback from those who had read the book was fantastic.
"Most people say they can relate to the friendships.
"People who you don't see all the time but have a long history with them.
"I hope people fall in love with the characters as I did."
Jo will launch the novel at Bundaberg Regional Library on Saturday at 1.30pm.
"I'll be happy to sign copies and answer questions especially for those people embarking on their own writing journey," she said.