Journey of a Groningen Girl
In 2004 it was my fortieth birthday, I decided that I would ask Anneke if she would finally agree for me, to write her life story. I couldn't believe it when she said yes! She had always told me so many stories when I was younger, and I knew that if I researched her background I would be able to put together a really interesting book. In that year we then travelled to the Netherlands and stayed in Groningen. A fair bit of research was done previous to our visit, and we were able to reconnect with people and places relevant to her story. We retraced her steps, filming and documenting her childhood. On return to Australia, I began the first draft to the novel. I also had a wealth of archives and documents in my posession by now from Australia and the Netherands. I had also interviewed the sisters and gathered notes and letters around the topics I was researching. Nina agreed to an interview and I recorded a 30 page document of her life in 2005. In 2007 I returned to Groningen and stayed for several months to write a second draft. I stayed in the Stad (city) in a lovely residence in Turftorenstraat. It was all inspiring to walk the streets and recreate the events in a novel timeline.It was there I wrote a fair amount of poetry as well. In 2008, I returned to the Netherlands and continued to write in the city, also taking a trip to Germany and Bad Arolsen to gather more achives about the family. Later that year I stayed in Florence, renting an apartment to complete the final draft. Florence is my second favourite city outside Groningen, and it was here that I gained a different perspective for the Lost Sister. I suppose it gave me neutrality away from my home in Australia and from Groningen. On returning to Australia, it took another two years to get it right and finally in 2010, I was able to committ to a final draft. It has been a wonderful journey, sometimes shocking and confrontational for both myself ,and my mother, Anneke, but we are both very pleased with the results and hope you will be too! When Malcolm agreed to paint Anneke and her sisters for the book, I couldn't have been happier. The art works add such dimension to the story giving a different perspective to the novel, that is both haunting and beautiful.Hope you enjoy it...
Last updated by Nell Jones Jul 24, 2010.