Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
I am wicked thankful to be bringing you this lovely conversation I’ve had with Sandra Danby – the author I recently highlighted in my #WaitingOnWednesday showcased review – wherein I was able to share my latest discovery of pro-positive story-lines about Adoption. The narrative intention of her series “the Identity Detective” is to feature the unheard of stories of children & families who are seeking to find each other but find those connections to be harder to source as time shifts forward. Whether it is due to missing records or if the people involved have chosen to remain unknown to each other. There are a lot of hidden stories involving Adoption – from the angst of not being able to be reunited with birth families to the fractured sense of self when an adoptee’s past is not allowed to be preserved after an adoptive placement.
In regards to the latter, in her debut novel “Ignoring Gravity”, Ms Danby explores the concept of being an adopted daughter without the knowledge of being a non-biological daughter within a family of two sisters who discover a collection of diaries left behind by their recently deceased mother. The diaries themselves offer motivation to seek out the hidden truths of the past – if you missed my review yesterday, let me offer you a glimpse into why I found it to be an incredibly layered read:
Her own story is what inspired Rose to become the ‘identity detective’ in the series – as we watch her grow into this new role – her truer calling in life – we start to see how passionate research and a mission of seeking the truth can lead someone to uncovering their gift to the world. As Rose was motivated to learn more about her birth origins, she was also keen on understanding the process adopted children had to go through in order to access their records. I had known up to a certain period of time, most adoptions were private or never recorded. The records for those adoptions are harder to search – in many ways, the passageways of where Rose takes her research is very similar to the routes we take as Ancestry Sleuths when trying to uncover more information about our ancestral origins through genealogy. The work is grueling at times as you do not always receive ‘new’ information or ‘new’ leads but what makes the work worthwhile are the bits you do find and how all of that ties together in the end.
I found this section of the novel the most exciting, as Danby moves back and forth from the diaries Rose and Lily’s Mum left behind to be read in her absence to the database searches to the letters of enquries and all routes in-between you can take as an adoptee to back-trace your origins. Including of course, how sometimes different documents reference different kinds of information – you can definitely see why an ‘identity detective’ is necessary to help shift through the grunt work!
Counter to the pursuit for Rose’s truth about her identity is the truth Lily has been seeking about herself – for her state of mind (in regards to her marriage), her state of health (whether or not she is burdened with early menopause) and her outlook on life – as everything she’s faced has taken it’s toll on her well being. She’s not quite herself, full of doubts and fears – questions which rage in her head at all hours and a nauseating sense she knows more than she realises. Her compelling sub-plot not only re-fuelled the main focus on Rose but anchoured both sisters together in a life altering journey where each of them would emerge out of a cocooned period of self-growth.
The choices both sisters are facing are authentically real and honest to their realities – Danby does a brilliant job at asserting us directly into their lives, to where even at first meeting, we understand their individual needs and why this journey they’ve been cast into is so dearly important for them to take together. This is very much a story about sisters as much as it is about self-reliance, courage to face the past and the unexpected ways your innermost hopes are realised in ordinary hours where you never feel anything extraordinary could happen to you.
This is definitely as series to earmark to read, as we continue inside the footsteps of Danby as she charts her next characters and seeks to expound on the groundwork she’s placed within Ignoring Gravity as a re-examination on adoptive families and the reconstructive work it sometimes take to lead ourselves back to centre – back to where we understand who we are, why we’re here and from whence we came. If all of life is a journey, the hardest part is understanding the process which leads us forward – as not everything can be resolved out of the past but we can choose how the past will affect us in the future or if we can find reconciliation instead of resentment.
-quoted from my book review Ignoring Gravity
As you can see, Danby tackles hard situations with the grace of insight which comes from being empathetic to the circumstances she is exploring throughout the expanding series. At the time our conversation first began, only ‘Ignoring Gravity’ was published whilst ‘Connectedness’ was rumoured to be publishing soon. I am grateful to be able to finally present our conversation on the #PubDay for ‘Connectedness’ whilst next week, whilst featuring this series for the third time – as I reveal the topics for Ms Danby’s Guest Posts – I’ll be sharing a bit more about the third installment ‘Sweet Joy’.
Despite the hurdles of the past two years, through my health afflictions and my father’s stroke – the best joy for me was entering into this novel at a point in time where I could lay heart and thought into the narrative before I shared my ruminative thoughts with all of you. If you have a connection to Adoption or are considering to adopt children in the future, I hope this series and other stories I’m showcasing on Jorie Loves A Story become a positive respite for you on your journey.
Remember to brew your favourite cuppa and settle in for a wicked good convo!
Subtitle: To the outside world artist Justine Tree has it all, but she also has a secret which threatens to destroy everything
by Sandra Danby
To the outside world, artist Justine Tree has it all... but she always has a secret that threatens to destroy everything
Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.
Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?
This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.
A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.
Places to find the book:
Also by this author: Ignoring Gravity
Also in this series: Ignoring Gravity
on 10th May, 2018
the Identity Detective series:
Rose Haldane, journalist and identity detective, reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. And each new challenge makes Rose re-live her own adoption story, each birth mother and father, adopted child, and adoptive parent she talks to, reminds her of her own birth mother Kate. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother, her hopes and anxieties, her guilt and fear, and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned, and how the now elderly woman is desperate to know her story before it is too late.
Ignoring Gravity | No.1 | (see also Review)
Connectedness | No. 2 | Synopsis → Happy Pub Day, 10th of May, 2018!
Sweet Joy | No. 3 → forthcoming third installment!
Published By: Beulah Press (2014)
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook
Converse via: #IdentityDetective
I found you through Britain’s Next Best Seller as the manuscript was up for a pitch for publication, which intrigued me initially, due to the originality of the situation. Where an author’s publishing deal was contingent on reader backing. How did you go from this particular platform to be an Indie author outright?
Danby responds: It seemed an inevitable step for me, BNBS gave me the momentum and the belief. And as part of the BNBS process I already had many of the elements I needed to go ahead: the copy-edited manuscript, front cover design, two videos including book trailer and author interview, and promotion via social media. Read More