Children know him as the creator of Lord Grott and the Psycho Scientist, but Steve Matthew’s latest novel is anything but a work for youngsters.
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Mr Matthews has just released The Skinny Girl, his first novel pitched at an adult audience.
The author will be at the Narromine Library to speak about his novel and help raise funds for local organisations that help victims of domestic violence.
The Skinny Girl, published under the name of S M Matthews to differentiate from the writer’s children’s books, tackles the tough subject of domestic abuse.
The book, although a work of fiction, is based on real-life experiences.
“I was busy writing a book for a publisher for a book in India, and my wife Diane showed me some diaries that she got from a very close friend of ours,” Mr Matthews said.
“We were surprised to learn that the lady had been in a dreadful relationship, a really awful and abusive relationship.
“It wasn’t domestic violence, it was domestic abuse and nobody knew, we didn’t know, only really people on her side of the front door knew.”
Mr Matthews said reading the diaries was the first time he had heard anything about his close friend’s experiences.
“I cried when I read the diaries, it was just horrible. She was so lonely despite being surrounded by people which struck us.”
“How she managed to cope with it was by writing these diaries, and eventually she found the courage to remove herself from the relationship and that’s how Diane found out about it.’
After seeking permission from his friend, Daisy as known in the novel, he ended up with 800 pages of diaries and research, which he turned into The Skinny Girl a 400-page story.
“So obviously the names are changed and circumstances are changed, but the abuse is 100 percent real,” Mr Matthews said.
“When people get into the nitty-gritty of the book they’re going to be surprised that she allowed some of the things to happen, but of course in real life that’s what happens, the victims allow these things to happen because they creep up on them and conditioned to be treated badly a little bit at a time.
“It takes enormous courage for these people to move out of these awful relationships, and Daisy did find the courage but she gave us permission to write this story which we were honoured to do.”
Mr Matthews said despite earning his living as a writer, he and his wife have decided to take the opportunity to tour Australia in 2019 promoting the book and raising funds for charities that help victims of domestic violence and abuse.
So far since the book was launched on December 5, the pair have raised over $10,000 for these charities.
“Because we were so affected by the book we decided to cancel 2019 and use it solely to promoting the book, and we are giving 100 percent of our income from the book to charities that help victims of domestic violence and abuse,” Mr Matthews said.
Mr Matthews said proceeds from book sales on the day will be going to local charities in Narromine.
Steve Matthews will be at the Narromine Shire Library on Tuesday, February 26 from 11am.
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