Port of No Return
by Michelle Saftich
Publication Date: July 31, 2015
eBook & Paperback; 244 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Contessa and Ettore Saforo awake to a normal day in war-stricken, occupied Italy. By the end of the day, their house is in ruins and they must seek shelter and protection wherever they can. But the turbulent politics of 1944 refuses to let them be.
As Tito and his Yugoslav Army threaten their German-held town of Fiume, Ettore finds himself running for his life, knowing that neither side is forgiving of those who have assisted the enemy. His wife and children must also flee the meagre life their town can offer, searching for a better life as displaced persons.
Ettore and Contessa’s battle to find each other, and the struggle of their family and friends to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a devastating war, provide a rich and varied account of Italian migration to Australia after World War II.
What can you do when you have nowhere left to call home? Port of No Return considers this question and more in a novel that is full of action, pain and laughter — a journey you will want to see through to the very end.
Port of No Return is the first novel in a series of two.
What inspired me to become a writer?
When I was six years old, I decided I wanted to be a published author.
I wanted to write books and see them on shelves.
For me, my vocational inspiration came from my grandmother, on my mother’s side, who was a successful Australian playwright. As a child, I’d sneak into her bedroom, where in one corner, sat a jumbo-sized typewriter. On the walls around it were posters of play productions and news clippings promoting opening nights and positive reviews. I liked to stand in that corner and read the newspaper headlines and the grand titles of her plays and stare at the photos of the cast members in costumes.
She wrote about women, strong women, strong like her! One of her plays was called “But I’m Still Here”.
I’m happy to say that my grandmother at age ninety-four is still here. She has lived to see my two novels Port of No Return and Wanderers No More published. I’m very pleased that she had the chance to read them.
My grandmother comes from a long line of writers. Recently, she presented me with a gold charm in an old red velvet box that has been passed from writer to writer in our family down through many generations. I am now the proud custodian of that sentimental piece.
I look to my children and nephews and nieces, wondering if there will be another writer among them to carry on the tradition.
It would seem the desire to write is in my genes. I know it is strong. When I write, I write for hours. It’s hard to stop. When I’m not writing, I’m longing to be back at it.
Still, I have a part-time job, two boys, aged ten and thirteen, a black cat, two guinea pigs and a house to keep. Like most people, I’m busy. Outside of writing, I like to go for walks, watch movies, read books and travel.
But writing is my first and longest passion.
When I had written several manuscripts without any success at publication, I finally looked to my family again for inspiration. This time, I turned to my father and his parents. They had a story that needed telling and I was a writer looking for one to tell.
I wrote my father’s family history, first as a memoir, keeping to the truth. Afterwards, I rewrote it as a fiction, adding in more history from my fascinating research.
This manuscript, Port of No Return, finally caught the attention of a publisher at Odyssey Books. Her offer to publish came on my father’s birthday; a wonderful gift for us both.
If anyone were to ask what has inspired me to be a writer, I would have to say my family. They have given me what it takes to write from the heart and to write with passion.
I hope to keep on writing. My grandmother still belonged to a writer’s group at age ninety, so I think I’ve got a few more years of writing ahead of me yet.