My Children as Third-Culture Kids: The Inspiration behind the exciting Beyond Borders series.

Posted by Rosanne Hawke on 18th Jan 2024

My Children as Third-Culture Kids: The Inspiration behind the exciting Beyond Borders series.

Third Culture Kids (TCKs) are brought up in a culture which isn’t their parents’. They learn to adapt to the culture they grow up in and can find it very difficult returning to their parents’ own culture. To most TCKs their parents’ culture doesn’t feel like their own. Jaime Richards in the series Beyond Borders feels this culture shock when she returns to Adelaide for high school in Dear Pakistan. I also felt this displacement moving states as a teen. All our family felt the culture shock of re-entering Australia after ten years in Pakistan and the UAE. My daughter Lenore returned to Pakistan when she was 18 and found the experience very helpful for settling back into Australia. This is what Jaime Richards in The War Within also does: returns to Pakistan to see it and her friends, to lay old ghosts to rest. Except Jaime’s experience turns into an adventure that Lenore could only dream about.

Rosanne at Khyber Pass, Pakistan, with Afghanistan in the Distance

The War Within began with my daughter Lenore as a teen in Pakistan wanting a story about an abduction set in Afghanistan. One of our co-workers had been kidnapped by freedom fighters over the border and this instigated the request for a story about it. That story became a book called Jihad, Jihad in the true meaning of a spiritual struggle within. Jasper, the supporting character, is having his personal jihad as he faces his grief since his father was lost in Afghanistan.

I edited this story a little when it became part of the Borderland series, three books in one volume: Re-entry, Jihad and the new title Cameleer. But when Rhiza Edge offered a contract to republish and rebrand these books into a series of four called Beyond Borders, I was stoked. ‘You might like to rewrite Jihad,’ the publisher said kindly. ‘Of course,’ I replied. However, I didn’t realise how much I had learned since the publication of Borderland. When I reread Jihad I was shocked to find how much needed to be reworked. It also needed a new title, so I used the true meaning of Jihad: The War Within.

Rosanne Hawke posing with the Beyond Borders series

I couldn’t wait to rewrite it. The plot was enjoyed by readers, so that stayed the same, but I restructured the novel to include POV chapters for Jasper. I changed the premise of it being a story that Jaime was relating in hindsight to one that was happening now. This eliminated the seemingly POV glitches, and the unnecessary foreshadowing, for now Jaime doesn’t know how it’s going to end and can’t add her two cents worth about the future. It’s become a tighter read, and I believe a more enjoyable and exciting one. I also updated the events in the background of the novel to be consistent with modern readers. Even some technology is thrown in the mix as well.

The Beyond Borders series

It was a joy to revisit this story, to rewrite it to a higher skill level with the knowledge that I’d picked up over the last ten years of teaching and encouraging other writers.

For more cultural information behind the series see my website.