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Guest blogger: Rhonda Forrest

15 December 2019

Kick the dust—and see where the wind blows

Sometimes it just takes someone to say something that catches your attention, a few words or a glimpse into another world that propels your writing thoughts into motion.

Last month I released my fourth novel, Kick the Dust, a moving story of friendship, family and finding a place to belong.

Kick the Dust was inspired by a special moment when teaching refugees. In 2015 I took time off from my regular teaching job. I was lucky enough to teach English as a second language in a school that had over 400 refugees. It was to be a decisive moment in my life and I have never forgotten the amazing resilience and commitment of the students.

One day I taught the students about the weather and the wind. Two young, newly arrived boys became very excited and jumped up and down, their smiling faces animated. Using very limited English, they described to me with enthusiastic actions and words, how they had flown their kites in Afghanistan.

‘We fly kites, Miss. We fly kites in Afghanistan and we kick the dust, Miss. We kick the dust to see which way the wind blows.’

And so Kick the Dust was created. It’s hard to explain how I felt standing at the front of a classroom with students from many different nationalities who had different, but similar, stories. No matter where they came from, they were all the same—they were hungry to learn and to be educated was considered a privilege.

Outside of school, I began tutoring a young girl from Afghanistan and became friends with her family. They had very little, but like so many others, they worked hard and lived simply. They were so appreciative of everything and were grateful of many things that we take for granted. My husband and I shared meals with them, we sat on the floor and ate their amazing food and listened to their stories. We attended birthdays and house warmings, met their friends and were awed by their culture, generosity and gratitude for what they had.

I hope that readers enjoy the story of Kick the Dust, which shows some of the difficulties that refugees often experience when coming to a new country. I feel lucky to have had these experiences and to have met those who have had to endure wars and hardships that we here in Australia have been protected from. I hope that readers will enjoy this story and will also look for and read the other books that I have written—Two Heartbeats (2018), Silkworm Secrets (2017) and The Shack by the Bay (2016).

Kick the Dust

‘If I close my eyes, it’s easier to hold onto a memory. When I open them, I think it might really be there in front of me.’

After three tours of duty in Afghanistan, Liam Andrews is home safe in Queensland. His weekly life drawing class, full of colourful local artists, helps him manage his post-traumatic stress disorder. But he’s struggling to open up about a past that still haunts him.

Belourine ‘Billy’ is an Afghan refugee who lost everything before arriving in Australia as a child. She finds joy in her daily swims in the lake. After years of upheaval, she’s still searching for a place to call home. But her past makes it hard to trust people.

When Liam and Billy meet, they form an instant connection. But will they ever overcome the past? And will it be together?

You can order Kick the Dust (Kindle and paperback) from Amazon.

For special deals on all of my paperback books, visit my website.

One Comment
  1. 15 December 2019 11:06 am

    Thank you ARRA for inviting me to be your guest blogger. It’s been wonderful to connect with readers through your site. What a lovely way to wrap up, nearly the end of 2019! Merry Christmas and happy reading in 2020- from Rhonda

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