London, United Kingdom (PressExposure) September 25, 2009 -- Starting from a reconstruction of the break up of Yugoslavia put into fiction, Sylvie Nickels creates a trilogy of novels of astonishing value. Another Kind of Loving and Beyond the Broken Gate are the first two parts of Distant Voices, a series of works in which the characters experience the awful reality of war on different levels and whose lives are shaped by this experience. Different generations are displayed and their way of responding to the war changes with time, creating a plot where different layers gently overlap.
Sylvie Nickels' works are not simply a depiction - though brilliant - of the former Yugoslavian condition. They are a chance for the author to portray touching and passionate stories in which the fictional element is enriched by an attention to historical events. Sylvie sheds a new light upon the Yugoslavian past, showing the humanity behind the conflict.
Many of the characters and the situations described are inspired by her real life experiences. Minkie, a fostered Bosnian child whose story is followed across the trilogy, is inspired by the experience of Sylvie and her husband of being guardians of a Balkan girl during her teenage years. The author also had the privilege to have a copy of a diary, kept by a Bosnian friend of hers during the siege of Sarajevo, which served as a useful source both of inspiration and information.
Another Kind of Loving and Beyond the Broken Gate are the result of Sylvie Nickels' passion for writing and her life-long experience as a travel writer, working on guide books and articles. The way she vividly revives the Balkans issue is clearly one of a writer whose skills go far beyond journalism and prove her ability as a novelist.
For Sylvie Nickels the experience of war is not merely a disaster scenario in which to build a plot. Starting from the war, she draws stories where the main elements are people's lives, and the way they are influenced by the conflicts. "I have always been interested in the strong principle of cause and effect and I think war offers some unexpected as well as obvious examples", says the author. In her novels the principle itself becomes indirectly protagonist, it being the very element to affect and, in fact to turn into, her own characters' lives.