Author Robert Barclay arrived in Beechworth early in January 2022 and has found the town a perfect place with its tranquillity to pen his third book in a fictional trilogy series.
The article was first published in The Ovens and Murray Advertiser www.omadvertiser.com.au
Author Robert Barclay had his first book The Diary of Katy Yehonala published in November last year with the book listed for the prestigious 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the 2022 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.
Looking for a place to continue his writing, Mr Barclay said he fell in love with Beechworth as well as its history.
“Beechworth reminds me of the English countryside where I grew up too,” he said.
Mr Barclay with his family migrated to Australia in 1965.
The story about three generations of strong but flawed Chinese women follows the life journey with its trials and tribulations of the hero, Katy Yehonala, born in China to a traditional Chinese mother where she grew up during the Cultural Revolution as well as Katy’s musically talented daughter who performs around the world playing the piano.
Mr Barclay said Katy’s mother and her daughter Clara mirrored the old and new China respectively.
Katy’s daughter, Clara, is the new China on the world stage as she performs around the globe as a gifted pianist.
“Katy is caught in the middle between the old and new China,” Mr Barclay said.
Predominantly a love story with life experiences takes Katy to England, back to China on different occasions, to Africa then to Australia where she settled with an Australian husband.
With a husband who disappeared while working in Cambodia, the soon–to–be published second book, The Girl in the Orphanage [Shawline Publishing] is a quest to find him based on a discovered manuscript he had written.
Mr Barclay said his books had been influenced from his time living in China as well as Cambodia and many other parts of Asia as well as first hand–experience in the Vietnam War.
With an understanding of China through living in the country, Mr Barclay said he hoped some things had been placed into perspective with a good story, as well as telling a story about what happens in Cambodia.
He said The Diary of Katy Yehonala took two years in the making with pen on paper but the story had been an idea for around 40 years.
“I’ve had a love of writing since when I was about six years old,” he said.
His inspiration for writing and also charity work for children is derived from war–ravaged villages and children affected by the inhumanity of adults.