Yes, it’s my turn to blog for the QWC Blog Tour, mine, mine, all mine! Bwahahahahahha!
Now that I’ve got that out of my system, I am blogging atchya from the QWC Hachette Manuscript Development Program being held at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat – which is at the very top of a mountain, at the end of a VERY TWISTY TURNY ROAD. When the driver said ‘Just another 11 km to go’, we discovered exactly how long 11km can feel. No one threw up except the driver! But it’s all good – lovely surroundings, quiet and relaxed, the perfect writers’ retreat. Participants are AWESOME, the Hachette Folk (Bernadette Foley, Kate Ballard, Rachel Donovan) and Cameron Cresswell agent Sophie Hamley, were all superb, and our ‘writer-in-residence’ Bec Sparrow is generous, knowledgeable and an excellent avatar of the space coyote*.
And so, to the questions QWC have asked me to answer:
Where do your words come from?
Erk. I don’t know. I guess when something catches my imagination/interest I start telling myself a story in my head. I see it like a film, then translate it into words. That’s the part I like, that translation process, thinking to myself how can I best describe this to capture how it appears to me? How can I communicate that to someone else? A great experience I had recently was seeing the stills from a short film that’s been made of one of my stories – and one of the charactcers looked exactly as I’d imagined her in my head. Could have been a coincidence, but I like to flatter myself that I did my job as a writer right in the first place. 🙂
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I was born in Cairns, grew up in Ipswich, Longreach, Cairns again and then Brisbane. I’ve lived parts of my adult life in Brisbane, London, Sydney and the Negev Desert. I currently reside in Brisneyland, which is a pretty river city. I live in a leafy suburb, in an old house with a back deck and a giant jacaranda tree in the backyard, and an overgrown jasmine bush on the front fence that smells great when it’s in bloom and looks delightfully unkempt.
What’s the first sentence/line of your latest work?
My short story collection: “Why are you so dark, Ella?”
My novel: “They buried the Damascene Witches in the sand.”
What piece of writing do you wish you had written?
Aaaaahhhh. Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber? Wilbur Smith’s The Sunbird? Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners? Margo Lanagan’s Singing My Sister Down? Anything from Steve Almond’s My Life in Heavy Metal. Richard Brautigan’s Coffee or The Weather in San Francisco.
What are you currently working towards?
At the micro-level? Finishing Sourdough and Other Stories and getting it off to a publisher; rewriting the novel, Well of Souls and starting to shop it around. At the macro-level, arranging my life so I can be a fulltime writer.
Complete this sentence… The future of the book is…
Mysterious and exciting. We’re seeing the book in so many news forms: ebooks, mobile phone downloads, interactive or augmented reality novels. The content is the same, but we have new ‘containers’ as well as the old version of the book as artefact. It’s books, Jim, but not as we know it! 🙂
This post is part of the Queensland Writers Centre blog tour, happening October to December 2009. To follow the tour, visit Queensland Writers Centre’s blog The Empty Page.
* Yes, it’s a Simpsons’ reference … I see the world through a Simpsons’ filter … and sometimes a Star Trek filter.