I didn’t have an imaginary friend when I was a kid. I had several imaginary ponies and an imaginary sister. I had a real big brother who I adored but he was … well … he was a boy. That’s not as good as having a sister. My imaginary sister would agree with everything I said. Do everything I wanted to do – including riding those imaginary ponies. We never had a cross word or fought. And we shared everything. Because that’s what sisters are like. Right?
As I got older, I realised two things. Big brothers are actually pretty great, and sisters aren’t quite as I imagined them. How did I discover this? From sisters, of course. Some pretty amazing ones …
There were no other girls my age in my small rural town, so the Bennet sisters came as a bit of a shock. How on earth did anyone cope with having so many other girls around them all the time. I mean, one imaginary sister is fine … but five of them? And sisters who didn’t want to do everything I wanted to do? Jane Austen made the Bennets worrying, annoying, noisy, loving and such fun. That’s pretty hard to resist. I happily invited them into my family.
I was a teenager when I read the classics – and met the Brontë sisters. It wasn’t so much the characters in their books but the lives of the sisters themselves that fascinated me. Maybe I felt some kinship with their isolation. Their books were a wonder – very dark at times, but they introduced me to a new style of writing.
After encountering Heathcliff and Rochester, I needed a bit of light. That’s where Practical Magic came in. I love this film so much! I honestly can’t remember how many times I’ve watched it. How I longed to be in that kitchen dancing with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. Imagine being a witch as well as a sister – how great is that? And of course, when the women of the family worked together, true love won in the end … as it should. A lesson worth remembering.
Then along came a different kind of magic in A Game of Thrones … and two of the most amazing sisters ever. Sansa and Arya Stark begin the story as different as two sisters can be. They couldn’t stand each other. Both were children, without power of their own. Over the course of the books (and the TV series, although I read the books first) all that changed. I was more Arya than Sansa when I was a kid. A tomboy, sword fighting with my brother, riding horses and climbing trees. I was never one for embroidery. In the end, the sisters stood side by side and battled to save the world. And (spoiler alert) it was actually Arya who won the battle. I haven’t saved the world, yet. But there’s still time.
And when talking about sisters, how could I leave out Elsa and Anna. As a Queenslander, I didn’t see a lot of snow. Young Elsa and Anna were just like my imaginary sister and I. We played together and sang songs together. I sang them rather badly but my imaginary sister didn’t mind. Of course, things don’t go smoothly in Frozen either, but once again, sisterly love wins out.
I write about families because families are at the core of who we are. And they are endlessly fascinating. The Lawson Sisters was me thinking about how wrong small child me was about sisters … and how right I was at the same time. I loved writing that story – but couldn’t stop there. The Lawson Legacy is for everyone who emailed me and said: What about Kayla?
Lizzie and Kayla are now my favourite sisters … they are my new, and far more realistic, imaginary sisters. Of course I am still also a real sister myself – to that big brother who turned out to be pretty awesome.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Janet Gover
Janet Gover grew up in outback Australia, surrounded by wide open spaces, horses … and many, many books.
When her cat lets her actually sit in her chair, she writes stories of strong women, rural communities and falling in love. Her novel Little Girl Lost won the Epic Romantic Novel of the Year Award presented by the Romantic Novelists’ Association in the UK, and she has won or been shortlisted for awards in Australia and the USA.
As Juliet Bell, in collaboration with Alison May, she rewrites misunderstood classic fiction, with an emphasis on heroes who are not so heroic.
Her favourite food is tomato. She spends too much time playing silly computer games, and is an enthusiastic, if not always successful, cook.
Janet loves to hear from readers—so do drop her a line.
Don’t miss Janet’s next book The Lawson Legacy
Beloved key characters from The Lawson Sisters return in a standalone rural romance about motherhood, family traditions and having the courage to chart a new future. A new novel from award-winning romance author Janet Gover.
Kayla Lawson believes nothing is good unless it’s perfect. This search for perfection has made her a successful high-end wedding planner. But all that comes crashing down when Kayla discovers she’s pregnant. She retreats to the sanctuary of Willowbrook Stud to consider this imperfect future as a single mother.
Connor Knight has never known perfection. A kid from the wrong side of the tracks and a motorcycle gang member, he’s no stranger to trouble with the law. But he’s trying to leave that past behind. By giving a run-down pub in Scone a new lease on life, he’s hoping to rebuild his own.
At Willowbrook, Kayla is reunited with her childhood best friend. Jen and her two kids have come to stay while her husband is awaiting trial for a crime he didn’t commit. While struggling to decide her future, Kayla is suddenly exposed to what motherhood really looks like.
When she meets Connor there’s instant chemistry between them that can’t be denied. But with her plans in tatters around her, is there any way to make the pieces fit? Or are the obstacles in front of them insurmountable?