I adore all of Dianne’s books and I was delighted to hear that after a long sabbatical she was back with JACK AND KATE. Of course I lapped it up and of course Dianne’s lost none of her charm in this beautiful love story. It had all the humour and warmth I was expecting from her and a couple of twists later on that I never saw coming and I pride myself on predicting the twists! I especially loved the nostalgic setting with loads of references that totally took me back to the eighties. JACK AND KATE is the perfect holiday read!
It’s 1980, and Kathryn Rowland is young and ambitious. She has precise plans drawn out for her future and no one — not demanding parents, nor romantic entanglements — is going to get in her way.
But then she meets Jack Gallagher. As one of the top fashion photographers in the country Jack knows all about ambition, but he’s become bored with the picture-perfect women who surround him and he finds himself enchanted by independent Kate.
So how did they end up, almost a decade later, estranged, still nursing long held pain and regret? How did Jack find her, and what does he want with her son? As family secrets are revealed, and lies — so many lies — unravel, a tragedy brings them once again into each other’s orbit.
Set against the backdrop of Sydney in the 1980s, the fashion houses of Paris, strife-torn Ethiopia, and all the way back to a house overlooking the beach on the picturesque south coast, Jack and Kate is a captivating tale of first love and second chances told with Dianne Blacklock’s trademark warmth and humour.
“Dianne is one of Australia’s most beloved writers of women’s fiction and if you haven’t yet read any of her books, you’re in for a special treat.” — Liane Moriarty
Buy the book here: https://books2read.com/jackandkate
To find out where Dianne is appearing to talk about her writing, you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for her newsletter, Book Chat, which she shares with fellow authors, Liane Moriarty and Ber Carroll.
An interview with Dianne Blacklock:
Can you tell us briefly about your book?
Jack and Kate is the story of a relationship. It’s not just a love story, though it starts out that way. This is not a spoiler, because in the very opening chapter we discover that Jack and Kate have been estranged for years, and then we go back a decade to when they met and fell in love. So what happened? The narrative is set mostly in NSW and Victoria, but also takes us as far as Paris and London, and the refugee camps of Ethiopia during the infamous 80s famine, and ultimately asks if you can ever really put the past behind and find lasting happiness.
How long did it take to write your book?
About thirty years, on and off! Jack and Kate started as a hobby while I was at home bringing up the kids. When no. 4 went off to school, I was working a few days, so it left me with a couple of days to myself – Bliss! – and I decided to finish it. It was the manuscript that got me the attention of a publisher, but which she didn’t want to publish, because it was too dated, too ‘eighties’. Fast forward another decade or so, the eighties are not dated, but ‘retro’, and friends and family had never stopped asking when I was going to publish ‘that book’, so I decided to do it.
How did you come up with the title? Did you have alternative titles?
I didn’t come up with the title, that was decided upon by none other than Liane Moriarty and Ber Carroll. I always referred to it as the ‘Jack and Kate book’, because in my mind, I didn’t have a title. Then one day when it was getting down to the wire, I was having lunch with Liane and Ber, and started to give them my ideas for the title. They were dumbfounded: What are you talking about? It’s called ‘Jack and Kate’. I figured Liane Moriarty kinda knows what she’s doing, so I went with that. The frontrunner alternate title I’d come up with was ‘Return to Sender’, which fits the themes and I quite like, but Liane had the final say!
How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
I’ve been thrilled to be able to work with my graphic designer son on all my new covers, and in fact, it was the concept for Jack and Kate that influenced the rest. Because a significant part of the story takes place at a house on the beach, I always envisaged the beach on the cover, then we added elements – the photos because Jack is a photographer, a child’s sand toys, the passport to suggest the travel and locations … Only the other day, I came across my very clumsy mock-up of the cover and Patrick has brought it to life beautifully.
Do you have a day job? What is it?
As you well know, Tess, I’m now an editor! I was able to work full-time as an author for some years, and that was a wonderful time. However, as my kids grew and moved on, I found I needed to get outside my own head. Also, I felt I’d said as much as I wanted to say at the time, so I gradually moved into editing – proofreading first to test my mettle, then eventually progressing to copyediting and then structural editing. I didn’t realise how much I would love it – I get to play with words and stories and exercise my pedantry muscle, and then hand it back to the author for the real hard work! It’s a bit like being a grandparent – having all the fun without the responsibility!