It's a glitter skin day. The ocean is a vivid emerald colour and the wind ruffles the wave faces so that they shatter the sunlight like glass. Seeing that glittering skin always tightens my throat with joy... I forget about the underbelly of things, my secrets, and I feel easy and free. I know that I'm meant to stay on the surface and be happy.
Carly, a quiet and wary 19-year-old surfer, has dropped out of uni and cut ties with her family. She works nights in a Manly café and spends her days surfing.
She keeps to herself, lies when she has to, and, most of all, she tries not to think about what happened to her two years ago at Schoolies week. She has never told anyone and anger is eating her away. The only time-out she gets is in the ocean, catching waves.
And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break in his mid-twenties. With a criminal record Ryan might seem like a bad choice. But he wants to get to know Carly and he is prepared to stick around through the hard stuff to do it.
Carly's layers of hurt and defensiveness begin to dissolve. Then Ryan learns the truth and she has to face the things she is running from. Can life become more than what has happened to her? Can she find the courage to be happy?
Raw Blue is a powerful debut novel about a teenage girl recovering from her painful past, set in the surfing culture of Sydney's northern beaches.
Kirsty Eagar grew up on a Queensland cattle property. After studying economics, she worked on trading desks in Sydney and London before changing careers, wanting a life where she could surf every day. She traveled around Australia in a four-wheel drive, worked as a cook and personal trainer, and began writing fiction. Kirsty is currently working on her next book, Saltwater Vampires, and lives on Sydney's northern beaches where she surfs everyday.
Author: Kirsty Eagar
What is Raw Blue about?
Kirsty Eagar: That's a hard question- a long question. Everyone who has read the book, mainly those who are older, have said that the sexual landscape of the novel is very now. It is a love story firstly, mainly because the main character, Carly, falls in love with someone who heals her as well as her love with the surf and the ocean. Carly drops out of University and cuts ties with her family whilst dealing with a traumatising event that happened two years earlier. The book tells her story and how she gets through the event.
What happened at Schoolies?
Kirsty Eagar: Carly was sexually assaulted, by no fault of her own, she had been drinking and she was in a vulnerable state and someone took advantage of her. It is one of those things I had read a lot about in the news, there were a few high profile cases in the media and I thought 'nobody is talking about what happens afterwards'. There was no empathy or compassion for the victim. Teenagers are very vulnerable, not just in regards to assaults but physically and mental vulnerability, maybe from bullying or a messy divorce and afterwards they get angry. No one talks about that. It comes from being brave and courageous and saying 'I am going to get over this and keep living'.
This sounds like a very Australian story- something that happens to many girls, where did you get the idea for the story from?
Kirsty Eagar: That's a long story, it is something that you can learn from life experiences, from my friends, I know what has happened to them.
The writing process was weird. I was writing a book, that comes out next year, and I was stuck. I decided to take a two month break and explore the 'thing' which was Raw Blue. I began writing ideas and the main character, Carly, just evolved, her voice came out very quickly and after a month I thought 'I am going to pull this all together.' It was a weird working progress. The surf part just leaked in as I love to surf.
Is surfing an escape for you?
Kirsty Eagar: I love surfing. Surfing changed my life. I loved the ocean and I love surfing. I have been surfing for 13 years and I used to do it when I could, then I changed what I was doing so I could do it every day. For the last 8 years I have been doing it as much as I wanted, daily even. I wanted to bring out surfing in the book and say that it is important to do what you love. Carly loves surfing and Hannah, another character loves Salsa Dancing. It doesn't matter what is it that you love doing but you what it does for you. As we grow into adults we are encouraged to give those things up, I am saying don't give up who you are.