"Filled with strong, vibrant characters, this novel is both timeless and timely. Loved it." - Melina Marchetta (Looking for Alibrandi)

The Things We Promise

About

‘There are two things you need to know about me. The first is that I remember life by what I was wearing. The second is that I think too much.’

It's the early 1990s and all Gemma can think about is looking perfect for her first school formal. Gemma's brother Billy - New York's up and coming hair and make-up artist - has made her the ultimate promise: he's returning home especially to 'create magic' on her and two friends for their end-of-year formal. Gemma's best friend, Andrea, is convinced it'll be their moment to shine; Gemma hopes it's the night Ralph will finally notice her.

But when Billy arrives home from New York, Gemma's life becomes complicated. Her family's been keeping secrets; friendships are forged and broken; and suddenly the length of her formal dress is the least of her worries.

Reviews

"J.C. Burke manages to balance the light with the dark so beautifully that the reader finds themself hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe…things will be different. As with all her novels, J.C. Burke does not shirk the tough issues and the toughest of outcomes, but always leaves room for the light to shine in on the darkness.". - Megan Daley, Children’s Book Daily.

"J.C. Burke uses a cast of deeply flawed, believable characters to explore this recent history in a way that focuses on the personal nature of such tragedy while still highlighting the devastating scope of the epidemic. Painfully honest, beautifully written and deeply important, this is a must-read for all teens aged 14 and up."  - Meg Whelan,  Children’s & Young-Adult book buyer at the Hill of Content Bookshop in Melbourne for "Junior Bookseller and Publisher."                                                               

The Process

Below are some page examples from my planning book. Once  the event has been included I then cross it out. It's really the only way I can keep track of all the events that take place.

A planning page from a chapter with Gemma and Zane.  


A planning page from a chapter with Gemma and Zane.
 

jhkhk.h  

jhkhk.h

 

The cover of my planning book. A great fashion moment from 1990!

The cover of my planning book. A great fashion moment from 1990!

Notes from a rewrite.

Notes from a rewrite.

A list of some popular culture circa 1990.

A list of some popular culture circa 1990.

A page dedicated to some storylines I could use in Billy's story. Some of these events were expanded and others weren't explored at all. As you get to know your characters, certain events become irrelevant or just wouldn't be something your character would do.

A page dedicated to some storylines I could use in Billy's story. Some of these events were expanded and others weren't explored at all. As you get to know your characters, certain events become irrelevant or just wouldn't be something your character would do.

 

Song/s I played