• Michelle Vernal

The Promise - NEW RELEASE

I’ve had my nose to the grindstone of late getting my new novel The Promise ready for exclusive publication with Amazon and entry into the Amazon UK Storyteller competition. That, and working on my new novel This Old House but back to The Promise.

It’s a story written from the heart with an adoption theme and ties to Molly Downer, the last witch on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom. You can read about Molly on Wikipedia. The idea for The Promise grew from a conversation with my birth mother, Julie but I’m getting ahead of myself, so I’ll start at the beginning.

In 1972 I was adopted, and my parents emigrated to New Zealand when I was three. My sister was adopted here in NZ in 1974. I can't remember ever not knowing I was adopted or feeling insecure as a result of it. I was aware that my arrival into my parents’ life was not through the more common route though because there are always kids in the playground keen to hammer home any point of difference but I was never overly curious about where I came from. I did keep track as to how old my birth mum would be in comparison to me; she was sixteen when I was born, and I wondered from time to time if I had other siblings. The curiosity was never strong enough to want to do anything about it though. I suppose too, a part of me didn’t want to know about that side of my life in case I didn’t like what I found. There are no guarantees.

I drew on some of my feelings around being adopted in The Promise, but I would never presume to speak for Julie about how she felt. Her story is her own, and I’m only writing from my perspective.

I decided to try and find my birth family about ten years ago when our boys were small, after a visit to the Doctor. I was asked for my family’s medical history which of course, I didn’t have. My husband is adopted too and hasn’t looked into finding his birth family. This meant our boys have no genetic history other than that of their parents. It didn’t seem fair, and as a new mum I couldn't comprehend having to give my boys up to someone else so I decided to reach out.

To ask my parents for my birth records was hard because it felt disloyal like they weren’t enough which wasn’t the case. Mum was more taken aback by the request than Dad, but that’s understandable. She knows though that she’ll always be Mum just as Dad will always be Dad and that we can love lots of people. It isn’t a competition.

I was lucky in so much as I had quite a lot of information to go off and I began my search by registering on a few different social sites. It didn’t take long before, I found someone who fitted the bill on Friends Reunited, and I sent off a tentative email. Jackpot, it was Julie, she’d been searching for me for years. It was incredible and emotional to touch base with one another’s lives. I have another sister and lots of aunty’s, uncles and cousins. To see my eyes reflected in Julie’s, we look very similar and we have the same hair, in those first photos we exchanged was an overwhelming and strange experience.

My birth family all live in Southampton just like my main character in The Promise, Isabel. I’d like to meet them all one day, but I finally met Julie and her husband, Ian five years ago when we all holidayed in Crete. It was like meeting up with dear old friends. It was that trip that inspired the setting for Being Shirley. The conversations I’ve had with her sparked this story because it turns out that my birth family has links to the Isle of Wight and Molly Downer. Upon learning this, I just knew I had to write a story incorporating Molly somehow. I mean the last witch on the Isle of Wight – how could I not?

I mentioned earlier that The Promise is being entered into the Amazon UK Storyteller competition which is judged on downloads, reviews and of course, whether it’s a good read! If The Promise, makes you laugh or cry and at the very least keep wanting to turn the pages then spreading the word among your fellow readers would be so appreciated. It would go a long way to help this little book of mine along its way.

I sincerely hope you enjoy reading The Promise as much as I enjoyed writing the story.

Cheerio - Michelle

#storytellerUK2018 #amazon #adoption #historicalromance #war #womensfiction

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