Over the next few months, before Where the Line Breaks is published, I thought it might be interesting to look at the inspiration and the ideas that led me to write the novel.
Where the Line Breaks tells the story of The Unknown Digger, a hugely popular but anonymous soldier poet of the First World War; Australia’s very own Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon.
One main character, Matt, believes he’s uncovered the truth behind the Unknown Digger’s identity a century after the poems were written, and moves to London to write his thesis and prove it. Matt is convinced that Alan Lewis VC, the famous hero, is also the Unknown Digger.
While Matt’s thesis unfolds, we also follow the other main character, Alan Lewis himself, through the war, to discover the truth about history’s assumptions, poetry and the legends we invent.
I started writing Where the Line Breaks in 2015, but the ideas behind the book had been brewing for a long time before that. In 2013 I wrote a parody of the famous Rupert Brooke poem ‘The Soldier’ from 1915, retitled ‘The Digger (Apologies to Rupert Brooke)‘, reworked, remade, and Australianised. The sentiment remains the same – the patriotism of the original is still there, but, I hoped, the language better reflected the Australian experience. It was a fun exercise in playing with history, and though nothing like it appears in the book, it was obviously a stepping stone that led to the story in Where the Line Breaks. View the whole poem by clicking here.
Where the Line Breaks is out in April. Click here for more information and to pre-order.