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Why is Season of Hate so close to my heart?

As a child growing up in suburban Sydney I never saw an Aboriginal person. They were those strange people in the news for causing trouble. We never took the time nor cared about why they were so angry. But I was also brought up with the simple tenet of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ A seed was planted long ago, but I didn’t know it at the time.

Today, to our national shame, the way we still allow our Aborigines to be treated is the most glaring example of bullying, discrimination, violence and neglect. How can we take the high moral ground with North Korea and China on human rights when we allow our Aborigines to be treated the way they are?

In writing Season of Hate it is my hope it might go some way to continuing the debate as to how best to honour and support our indigenous people, and in negotiations for an outcome, invite all stakeholders to the table, not just a handful of politicians and bureaucrats making decisions on another group. In Season of Hate Dad, Pat and Doug, Miss Kitty and their friends, take a stand and fight back against racism and bullying. The unnamed town in Season of Hate is deliberate, as it is a microcosm of Australia then and sadly now.

Through writing Season of Hate I have also come to terms with my absent father. From a violent and troubled upbringing, he walked out on a wife with three children under three years of age and never returned. With his descent into alcoholism and when all others had given up on him, it was the Aboriginal community who befriended and embraced him. In the novel’s dedication, the ‘Johnny’ was my father – Harry, Kitty, and Biddy, my kindly great uncle and aunts, who gave me a social conscience. I have lent their names to the positive characters in Season of Hate.

NEXT? I have two novels – a sea adventure and a love story about, strangely enough, a hired assassin, as well as a stage play, in the works.

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