Real life inspiration

A fictional journey to self-actualisation

What do you do when your seemingly perfect life begins to implode? For Adelaide Jones, you accept an invitation to the Greek Islands by an old unrequited love. That's the foundation for Returning to Adelaide.

Anne signing her debut novel
Anne signing her debut novel

Anne Freeman loves creating an alternate reality.

In fact, it’s one of the things she loves most about writing, alongside “the problem solving required to build a solid narrative, searching for each perfect word, and the way the characters I create sometimes dictate where a story goes, seemingly of their own volition.”

Freeman’s debut novel, Returning to Adelaide, is finally available, following a four-year writing process.

“The initial idea came to me in a dream,” Freeman explained. “After watching a travel program about iconic rock hotel Pikes Ibiza, I dreamed that I was a hotel guest who was romantically involved with the manager. I realised that the delicious tension could become the middle of a novel. To really complicate things, I decided to make the protagonist a wife and mother like myself.”

The novel follows Adelaide Jones who is forced on a journey of self-discovery when her perfect suburban life begins to unravel, and is reunited with friends from her childhood.

A lot of Returning to Adelaide is taken from Freeman’s personal life.

“Like me, Adelaide is half Greek on her mother’s side and married with two young children – she has twins called Darcy and Estee while my children, Davie and Edie, have a two-year age gap. We both have a passion for textiles and travelled to Greece as teenagers where we forged lifelong friendships,” she said.

“Adelaide’s also a good friend, enjoys a drink and has a slightly offbeat sense of humour, like me. The only thing we don’t have in common is that her husband is a jerk, but she can keep that!”

The story’s love interest even seems to have taken inspiration from Freeman’s husband, Paul Rabinovich. It isn’t the first time he has seen himself reflected in her writing.

“Over and over, I see incarnations of myself, of us, in her work,” he said. “She calls me her muse.”

While Rabinovich says that people see a boy from Caulfield and a girl from McKinnon who fell in love, he said Freeman sees their relationship differently.

“What she sees is a complicated, multigenerational chain of events that brought together soulmates,” he explained.

Freeman said she loved to watch her husband read the drafts, as he would shake his head and laugh at the similarities between himself and Adelaide’s unrequited love interest from the past, Alec.

Freeman, who has worked in fashion, entertainment, and sales and marketing said she always enjoyed writing but found herself faced with a case of perfectionist’s block. Returning to Adelaide ended up becoming a finalist in two emerging writers’ competitions – the 2021 Romance Writers of Australia Valerie Parv Award and the 2021 Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize.

Freeman, whose second novel Me, That You See, was recently shortlisted in the 2022 Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize, describes Returning to Adelaide as “dramatic, fast-paced and ultimately uplifting”.

When she’s not writing, Freeman said she is raising two kind and hilarious children, studying at university and running her own copywriting business.

“It’s a good way to seek respite from the harshness of the world right now,” she said.

Returning to Adelaide is published by Hawkeye Books, $28.95 rrp


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