What Would You do to Save Someone You Love?
After the Flood is gripping, fast-paced and difficult to put down. You could say it is an easy read. But don’t underestimate the seriousness of its themes—grief, loneliness, abuse, and ultimately, the strength of abiding friendship. As a teacher, Stacy says she frequently observes young people who are dealing with extraordinary grief and loss; and as an author, she writes about her observations. After the Flood began as a short story about this young boy, Jamie, who loses his sister to leukaemia. Next, she began to examine other kinds of grief and loss that young people experience, such as absence of family, and from this, she created her second protagonist, Wilhelmina, a troubled eighteen-year-old girl. Then she put Jamie and Willis together.
When Jamie and Wilhelmina’s paths intersected, their lives are changed in ways more profound than either could ever have imagined.
When Willis comes back, she has mud on her knees. She’s upset about something and drags Jamie away from the house by his wrist. He has to do a running shuffle to keep up with her long, angry strides.
‘Your father has a gun,’ she says, wiping angry tears from her eyes. ‘Why does your father have a gun?’
Another thing, Stacy says, is that unresolved trauma from our childhood will continue to affect us as adults. For this reason, After the Flood shows us Jamie and Wilhelmina's lives twenty-five years after the flood and shows us how they are travelling as adults.
‘She ain’t a kid anymore though, is she?’ he says, still staring at Cass’s picture. ‘I think it might be best if she has a man about the place who can give her some discipline, now she’s grown up. Girls her age need discipline, you know. You never had any and look how you turned out.’
‘You need to leave,’ she says.
The settings in the book are magical. Even though Stacy Nottle keeps her descriptions short, you get an immersive sense of place. From the harshness of western Queensland in drought to various locations through south-east Queensland, they are all places Stacy knows from her own past and present, as she grew up on a remote station ‘out west’ and now lives and works in Toowoomba.
What really sets After the Flood apart are the depth of her characters. Jamie, Wilhelmina, Cass, Winter, Ray, Aggie, Onfro, Poppy, Mrs Tanning – they feel so real. Like the kind of people you might actually know.
'Friends forever?’ she said.
He cleared his own scratchy throat and nodded.
‘Yes.’ Then he reached down and gently tangled his little finger with hers. ‘Pinkie promise,’ he said.
After the Flood is published by Black Phoenix Publishing Collective.
It is available at all online bookstores. You can also pick up a copy from The Book Tree and Dymocks in Toowoomba.
To read an interview with Stacy, go to Tara East’s website (Note – the book is not YA and contains adult themes)