Wednesday 21 June 2017

A Novel Journey

A Novel Journey
by Elaine Fraser

When I write a novel it is like I am taking a thought for a walk.
  Aminatta Forna

This year I’ve been away from home for twelve weeks out of twenty-four. I leave again next week for another eight-week trip, come home for a week, then go to Italy and Africa for three weeks. I come home for three weeks, then head to Sydney for the Omega Writers Conference.

My husband and I travel a lot, however, this year we’ve been away even more than usual. He’s riding a motorbike around the world to raise awareness for the not-for-profit organisation, Water for Africa.

His mission is to highlight the plight of millions of people around the world who do not have access to clean, safe water.

My mission is to finish writing a women’s fiction novel I imagined in Tuscany in 2010 and began to write in earnest in 2013. From Sydney to Rome to Paris to London to New York to Oslo to Dar es Salaam, and many other places in between, I’m writing my way around the world.

Writing this book has been a journey all of its own. The Solo Traveller is about Laura. She’s married, has children, and a runs a travel business. At the beginning of the book, she’s at her grandmother’s funeral. By the end of the funeral, she will decide whether or not she will stay with her husband, or leave him. The story takes the reader back to World War Two and Laura’s grandmother’s story, through to the present, and tracks Laura’s marriage across fifteen years until the present.

I've known Laura for years. She first came to me in 2010 in a villa in Tuscany and I’ve journeyed with her ever since. It's been a journey, not only with the novel, but with Laura.

Laura travelled with me to Oxford in 2013, to Tuscany in 2014 and 2015, to Melbourne in 2015 and Italy and Sydney in 2016, to Denver, Seattle and New York, and beyond in 2017.

The Solo Traveller is sitting at 100 000 words and it’s taken every ounce of discipline and determination I have to keep writing as I’ve travelled this year. The wonderful Iola Goulton is going to copy edit it for me during July, so I can work on it in August, and present it to publishers in September.

I have many more flights, and many more kilometres to travel, but by the time I get to the end of the year, there will be a complete novel–ready to be published, along with thousands of holiday photos on my laptop.

But, I haven’t just been working on a novel and travelling, I’ve been on a journey with God and His purposes. When I wrote my first non-fiction book in 2004, I never imagined that I would write fiction. I never imagined that I would write for Kinwomen. I never imagined that I would write a general market book like The Solo Traveller.

God has been leading me to write for people on the fringes of faith–people who perhaps used to go to church or may be spiritually searching.

I’ve met all sorts of people this year –people who live on the streets of Skid Row in LA, kids who have family members shot in the ganglands of the projects in LA, people who used to go to church and are now self-proclaimed atheists, people whose sexuality has separated them from family members for twenty-five years, people who call themselves spiritual, but don’t like religion. These are the people I have in mind when I write.

By the time The Solo Traveller comes out, Laura’s seven-year journey will be over and so will mine. 

When I sat on a terrace in a villa in Tuscany, I never imagined where I would take this novel, or where it would take me.

Where has your writing taken you?

Follow more of the journey at


  1. Wow, Elaine--what an amazing journey for both you and Laura! My third novel was just called 'Laura', so I am really looking forward to reading your Laura's story. As for you question about where my writing has taken me, well, not to such exotic places as you have been, but to many parts of Sydney and other parts of Australia to speak and also, via my writing, to other places I have lived or visited, both here and overseas. But more than that, my writing has taken me on a whole, new, wonderful journey with God, plumbing the depths of my being and of my relationship with God--a journey I feel so privileged to have taken.

    1. Hi Jo-Anne, your writing and life journeys are fascinating. I love your stories and the way God weaves His story through yours. 😀

  2. "A thought for a walk?" So insightful. How many of us work that way. And I love the way your Laura has been travelling with you, Elaine. I pray with you that your story will be a taste of salt to those on the perimeter of Christianity. I have also found once you discover your main character they really get a hold on you. I actually began with an Irish villain, Kelly, and would you believe he came into being in 19th century Malaya in the ruins of a genuine castle still standing there-of all places. Then he lurked in the background to my two main characters whose lives evolved around the plot of how this castle came into being. I am still waiting to find a heroine emerge from our yearly ministry in Thailand...but so far, she's not cooperating. Instead I'm writing about a young woman who has lost her voice.

    1. Hi Rita, wow! That is so interesting. Your travels have been extensive and God has woven His story into your as you share with people in Thailand.

      Your Irish villain is such a fresh idea-inspired!

      I hope your female heroine comes soon.

      I'm also writing a book about a girl who has lost her voice! Let's compare notes at the conference if you're there this year! 😀

    2. What a coincidence! Has your heroine lost her voice because of trauma?

  3. What a fun journey for you and Laura. Angelguard took me to Fontainebleau just outside Paris which was fun and I'm hoping a new series I'm planning takes me to Israel.

    Enjoy your travels, Elaine and look forward to seeing you at Omega in October.

    1. France is always a great idea! Israel is on my list. I'm sure you'll find lots of inspiration there. I'll be interested to see what you come up with! 😀

    2. Great thoughts, Elaine, and enjoying the great comments also. Highly recommend your Angleguard book too, Ian!

  4. Thank you so much, Mary. ❤️


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