I attended the first launch of Rosie Borella’s first book The One and Only Jack Chant at Black Cat Books on Sunday 23 February. I met Rosie and Isobelle Carmody at the Romancing the Stars event and instantly wanted to hear more about Rosie’s published book. I have been a huge fan of Isobelle’s work, particularly after reading Little Fur: The Legend of Little Fur.
Isobelle Carmody interviewed Rosie about the book and her writing journey. They bantered back and forth and you can tell their deep friendship and respect for each other hails back to their university days, journalism careers and both becoming published authors.
The premise for The One and Only Jack Chant came to Rosie one evening when working night-shift as a nurse in a nursing home. A black blob appeared on the CCTV footage and other female staff members were convinced a young man wearing a black hoodie snuck into a vacant room in the nursing home. The nursing home night-shift became the setting and the black blob became one of the main characters in her book.
Amber a kind, young girl takes a gap year after finishing high school to figure out her future. She becomes a carer in a nursing home in order to save up for her first car. After her friends leave to go to university, Amber feels lonely until she meets a mysterious young man named Jack Chant who lives at the nursing home in an unoccupied room. Amber befriends Jack and discovers he is missing large parts of his memory, which she helps him to remember.
The book delves into the question that nursing homes are difficult places both old and young people don’t really want to go to. Older people feeling like they are being shelved away. The One and Only Jack Chant challenges this notion and provides a solution to fix nursing homes. You’ll have to read it to find out! Both Rosie and Isobelle spoke passionately about nursing homes needing to be more open and friendlier places for all people to live and visit. This sounds more like what I would want too.
Some helpful advice both Rosie and Isobelle gave to writers:
* Write what you know. Rosie drew on her experience as a nurse and people she knew in real life became inspiration for characters in the book.
* Don’t give up. The One and Only Jack Chant is her second book, but the first to be published. Her first book Whisper Land is unpublished.
* Develop friendships and support networks with other writers.
* Go to writing festivals and events.
* Journalism gives you a discipline for research and deadlines.
* You must write because you love it, not because you want to be published.
Other works by Rosie Borella:
A short story featured in The Wilful Eye, a compilation of fractured fairy tales by six different authors, including Isobelle Carmody.