Kim Kelly

Australian Author

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MEET THE AUTHOR IN MILLTHORPE

ADELE OGIER JONES

Our Millthorpe Pop-Up is a celebration of Australian writing, our books all gathering together in a little gold-rush era village with stories whispering from every wild colonial verandah post. Please tell us, Adele, if you were to set a tale in Millthorpe, with its many layers of history – from the Wiradjuri wars to boutique stores – what sort of a tale might you tell?

In the novel The Coffee Palace, there is significant section including the Blind Music Students Concert Company (from Melbourne, but also travelling to all states across 20 years, as well as to New Zealand and the US). They performed widely in New South Wales including the Goulburn area, Riverina, and in Millthorpe itself in 1895, 1903 and Bathurst in 1900. Travelling concert troupes were a highlight of Australia’s rural towns, including Millthorpe and its neighbours. The stories of some of these, with their romance, excitement, and perhaps things better left forgotten, would be the tale I would research and tell for Millthorpe.

That sounds fascinating. Tell us about the wonderful tales you’ll be bringing to the Millthorpe Pop-Up from far and wide.

My focus will be on Coffee Palaces (and Temperance Inns), including those at coffeeMillthorpe’s neighbouring Blayney, Bathurst, and Cowra Coffee Palaces, and on a Riverina Coffee Palace and the family who built and ran it until 1914 when it burnt down. My story takes us to chapters set in Ireland in the mid-1800s, to Tasmania, and into Victoria and NSW. There are many stories within The Coffee Palace which tell stories now found only in old newspapers, with long-forgotten memories. My other stories (apart from The Coffee Palace) and poetry collections have been written and collected across many years when I lived and worked in the South Pacific, Afghanistan, and the Balkans, especially Kosovo. However, it is The Coffee Palace which I will share principally, hoping visitors and guests are as keen as the Berrigan and Riverina people were recently.

What’s your favourite Australian story – be it a novel, a film, or legend? And why do you love it?

One of my favourite books is My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin. The book speaks to young (and oldish) women of any era I think, and still inspires me for the life of a woman with few role models like the life chosen in the book. I love this book – it is a classic. One reader of over 70 recently wrote of The Coffee Palace – “this book, will in time, go down as a classic”. I can only dream of this, but in the meantime, I continue to enjoy My Brilliant Career anew.

Describe the view from your storytelling window today.

I have two storytelling windows because I live and write in two countries. In Freiburg, in Germany, I look out onto a meadow where a local farmer runs his fourteen sheep each day – a far cry from the Riverina but in fact it was as I watched sheep being brought down from the higher hills near the Black Forest before winter some years ago, that I wrote Chapter 3 in The Coffee Palace. It was the sheep dog which spurred me on. My other windows have been in Cork, in Ireland, and various different locations in Australia. I seem to be able to make my surroundings take on a character to fit my writing.

How beautiful. Now, Adele, if you were to write the Great Australian Novel, where might you begin?

Australia has so many wonderful novels, but I would start with Louisa Lawson (1848-1920),  Henry Lawson’s mother – a woman who wrote and promoted women labour and pay rights. Louisa will have seen so many changes for women and men in this important time, and finishing in 1920 would leave the way open for a sequel – the next 100 years. Her words finish my novel The Coffee Palace.

What a magnificent woman Louisa Lawson was. And now, it time for a cup of tea, I think. Fortunately, Millthorpe has plenty of options, from country pub to hatted restaurant, and several gorgeous cafes. So what’s your yen? Coffee and cake? Beer and chips? Coq au vin and Pinot Grigio?  And while we’re here, which Australian author would you like to invite to your table?

I would like to invite Les Murray to dinner. I heard him speak some years ago at the Freiburg Literatur Haus – a modest man, with such wisdom and insight. I love his poetry and have read his book The Quality of Sprawl several times – as relevant as when it was first written for our constantly changing Australian society and environment.

Well, cheers to that! Thanks for bringing your story love to Millthorpe, Adele.

Adele choice for Pop Up

 

 

 

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MEET THE AUTHOR IN MILLTHORPE

LISA WALKER

 Our Millthorpe Pop-Up is a celebration of Australian writing, our books all gathering together in a little gold-rush era village with stories whispering from every wild colonial verandah post. So tell us, Lisa, if you were to set a tale in Millthorpe, with its many layers of history – from the Wiradjuri wars to boutique stores – what sort of a tale might you tell?

I love writing about small towns. Liar Bird and Sex, Lies and Bonsai are both set in small north coast towns. I’ve branched out a bit since. Paris Syndrome is set in Brisbane and Melt in Antarctica, but I’m sure I wouldn’t have too much trouble setting a story in Millthorpe. I think I’d like to write a cosy mystery with a young girl as the investigator. She would be snooping around Millthorpe to discover who has it in for the chocolate shop owner whose quality chocolates have created a wave of food poisoning. (I’m sure that doesn’t really happen in Millthorpe, by the way!)

Ha! You never know… Please tell us about the wonderful tales you’ll be bringing to the Millthorpe Pop-Up from far and wide.

2018 is a big year for me, as I have two books coming out.

Melt is my fourth adult novel. It’s a romantic comedy about climate change set in Antarctica – yes, you heard it right! It’s the story of Summer, a TV production melt coverassistant who is shanghaied into impersonating a science superstar in Antarctica. Her liaison officer in Antarctica, climate scientist Lucas Nilsson, isn’t at all happy about playing babysitter. Baffled by Lucas’s explanations of ice monitoring, glacial retreat and sea temperatures, Summer must attempt to master the science to keep her job. Thrust into a world she doesn’t understand, she relies on soap opera plotlines to help her through. The novel features a killer seal, a crazed politician and a sultry night in a snow cave. I had a lot of fun writing it.

Paris Syndrome is my first Young Adult novel. It is the story of Happy, a seventeen-year-old girl, who has just moved to Brisbane. She dreams about living in Paris with her best friend Rosie after they finish Year Twelve. But Rosie hasn’t been terribly reliable lately. When Happy wins a French essay competition, her social life starts looking up. She meets the eccentric Professor Tanaka and her gardener Alex who recruit Happy in their fight against Paris Syndrome. This is an ailment that can afflict over-zealous and idealistic fans of Paris. ‘Paris Syndrome’ is a coming of age story about finding your place in the world, dealing with grief and falling in love with someone unexpected.

In addition to these two, my previous novels Liar Bird, Sex, Lies and Bonsai and Arkie’s Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing will also be making their way to Millthorpe.

What’s your favourite Australian story – be it a novel, a film, or legend? And why do you love it?

It’s hard to choose just one, but Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko springs to mind. As the name suggests, it is set in my local area.  It’s about an Aboriginal woman who uses her divorce settlement to buy a block of farmland. She sees this as her own way of reclaiming Bundjalung country and returning it to health.

I love the book for its cheeky humour and its insights into Aboriginal culture. Melissa uses Bundjalung words throughout the novel and this adds richness to the story. The difficulty of maintaining culture and links to land is a central theme.

Mullumbimby can be enjoyed simply as a well-told yarn, but it offers a window into the living Bundjalung culture and meaning of Country which I found both moving and enlightening. It’s also a page turner – highly recommended.

Describe the view from your storytelling window today.

Today I have just moved offices as my son, who has been living at home, set sail for Sydney. My new desk has a view past some bangalow palms to the sea and Broken Head. There has been some nice wildlife action today. A water dragon jumped off the roof onto the deck outside my door and the noisy mynas and blue-faced honeyeaters are splashing around in the birdbath. Luckily, I have learnt to focus on the task at hand and not be too distracted by attention-seeking wildlife. Except for the butcher bird. The butcher bird is particularly charismatic.

Wonderful! Now, if you were to write the Great Australian Novel, where might you begin?

Oh dear, that sounds like a lot of pressure. I think I’d begin by having a cup of tea. I’d then decide to write a Perfectly Enjoyable Australian Novel instead.

Nice answer. And since this Q&A has been all rather exhausting, too, time for a cup of tea immediately. Fortunately, Millthorpe has plenty of options, from country pub to hatted restaurant, and several gorgeous cafes. So what’s your yen? Coffee and cake? Beer and chips? Coq au vin and Pinot Grigio?  And while we’re here, which Australian author would you like to invite to your table?

There’s nothing that makes me feel more festive than champagne and cheese. I’m sure Millthorpe can deliver on that beautifully. And I’d like to share that with you, Kim Kelly, because you’ve so kindly brought my books to Millthorpe and you’d be sure to fill me in on all the juicy local gossip.

Awww. And cheers to that! Thanks for bringing your story love to Millthorpe, Lisa.

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Find out more about Lisa Walker here.

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MEET THE AUTHOR IN MILLTHORPE

AD LONG

Our Millthorpe Pop-Up is a celebration of Australian storytelling, our books all gathering together in a little gold-rush era village with stories whispering from every wild colonial verandah post. So Ad, how has your Australianness, or your experience of Australia, inspired or influenced your creative explorations?

Seafurrers is the third history book I’ve illustrated (after Girt and True Girt, David Hunt’s ‘unauthorised’ histories of Australia). My grandfather Gavin Long was Australia’s official war historian for WW2… so I’m sorta following in his footsteps, in a slap-dash, unofficial way. That’s pretty Oz, to my way of thinking.

Indeedy it is – and she’ll be right, mate. Now, if you were to create a story of Millthorpe through images, with its many layers of history – from the Wiradjuri wars to boutique stores – what might your sketches tell us?

The style I use for my ‘historical illustrations’ involves sourcing old photos and illustrations, then cobbling them together with other elements (including my own cartoon drawings) to create an image that documents a moment that has otherwise escaped illustration. The pictures are whimsical, and very clearly ‘fake’.  I would be looking for a comical or intriguing story about Millthorpe, and looking to commemorate it… with an extra flourish.

I want to see that Millthorpe ‘history’. Maybe you could take some inspiration from the Central West’s famous roadside haybale art – we’re pretty good at comedy out here. In the meantime, please tell us about the wonderful book you’ll be bringing to the Millthorpe Pop-Up.

Oz coverSeafurrers has just been published (by the Experiment, in the US, and Affirm Press in Australia). As the book blurb says, it’s a cat’s-eye view of maritime history. With words by Phillippa Sandal, we remember the bold seafarers of yore—from Magellan to Shackleton—for their extraordinary exploits: new lands discovered, storms weathered, and battles won. But somehow history has neglected the stalwart, hardworking species who made it all possible . . . yes, the noble cat! That’s what I’m looking to share with the world… but I’ll probably bring a few copies of the Girt books too.

What’s your favourite Australian story – be it a novel, a film, or legend? Or even a painting? And why do you love it?

The ridiculous legend of Lassiter’s Reef lives on, and invites comical reinterpretation.

Oh yes, please! And please, describe the view from your studio window today.

The butt end of a few buildings that are about to be demolished and replaced with towering flats.  It won’t be sticking around to enjoy that new view!

Noice. If you were to write the Great Australian Novel – or draw it! – where might you begin?

Elsewhere. In Asia. I have a new novel under consideration by a publisher that features an Australian protagonist but starts in India. And that’s just the beginning. Australia’s future is very much as a part of Asia, and it surprises me that we reflect that so little in our art and storytelling.

Good point. Now, that was all very exhausting, wasn’t it? Time for a cup of tea. Fortunately, Millthorpe has plenty of options, from country pub to hatted restaurant, and several gorgeous cafes. So what’s your yen? Coffee and cake? Beer and chips? Coq au vin and Pinot Grigio?  And while we’re here, which Australian author or artist would you like to invite to your table?

All of the above, thanks.

Can I choose a dead artist and author? Emily Kame Kngwarreye was Australia’s only truly great artist, on an international playing field, and a genuine visionary. Applying the same rules to writers, I guess Colleen McCullough was our most successful international writer… and something makes me think those two old girls would be interesting to sit down to lunch with.

My goodness, there’d probably be a lot of sharp chat and laughter at that table. And cheers to that! Thanks for bringing your story love to Millthorpe, Ad.

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Find out more about Ad Long and Seafurrers here.

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It’s the sweetest treat to welcome Alissa Callen as guest blogger here today. Alissa’s latest novel, The Red Dirt Road, will feature in the Millthorpe Pop-Up stables of authors gathering in town May 24-27. Here, Alissa shares the inspiration she finds living in this rolling countryside…

FLAVOURS OF THE CENTRAL WEST

Real life has a way of wriggling into my words much like how our Jack Russell squeezes through the half-open kitchen door. My new release, The Red Dirt Road, is very much woven from the scents, sights and sounds of my everyday rural life in central western New South Wales. So while Woodlea, the town of windmills, is fictitious, the landscape surrounding the town and the experiences of the local community are grounded in reality.

The plot for The Red Dirt Road owes its genesis to a past Central West spring when all it did was rain. Paddocks were saturated, mushrooms grew on lawns, water tanks overflowed and long-necked turtles were a common sight on the back road from Dubbo to Cumnock. There really was a tractor and a ute bogged at a front farm gate for weeks and a large round hay bale that bobbed along in the flooded river that submerged our pumps. The idea for the bluestone homestead and stables where Dr Fliss runs to when in search of a sanctuary came from a friend’s farm at Molong. I also visited the Cumnock and Molong cemeteries, and the Molong hospital, in the name of research.

The inspiration behind The Long Paddock stemmed from the mobs of cattle grazing on the roadside verges between Molong and Yeoval one parched summer. Yarn bombers had decorated the trees in Dubbo’s main street and the colours and textures soon found their way into my story. After attending the Orange rodeo and Molong Campdraft, not only did I find myself with a bull-rider hero, but also a misunderstood bull who was determined to take centre stage. The karst caves at Borenore provided me with a real-life cave for my plot, while the mini-tornado that ripped through the outskirts of Dubbo gave me a natural disaster. The Macquarie Matrons ball in a cotton gin inspired Woodlea’s own charity ball and the 2828 dinner at Gulargambone contributed to the idea for a fund-raising dinner.

In The Round Yard (out February 2019) the old alpaca café at Narromine features, along with the excitement of a local picnic race day, as well as the small hall festival held at Toongi Hall. I also enjoyed adding a historical element. The aviation museum at Narromine contains a fascinating snapshot of Central Western history. During the Second World War there was a secret squadron who trained here for a mission that couldn’t be talked about until after the Official Secrets Act was lifted in 1975.

For the books Beneath Outback Skies and Down Outback Roads, even though the fictitious town of Glenalla lies further west, elements of the Central West again feature. The Molong Cobb & Co station appears as well as the murals at Eugowra. The flame-bright poplars of the Central West in autumn also colour the pages along with the air-brushed blue of the skies over Mount Canobolas.

It isn’t only physical aspects of the Central West that sneak into my stories. I also like to thread in local issues that may also affect other rural communities. From the threat of feral dogs, to the importance of rural mental health, to the regeneration of small town streetscapes and to the dwindling lack of services, all are touched upon in my fiction. Concern has also grown over the management and future of the travelling stock routes and this became an issue I wanted to explore along with the prevalence of rural crime and illegal trespassing and hunting.

Every drive around the Central West brings with it more inspiration, curiosity and questions. I hope the beauty and uniqueness of where we are lucky enough to live continues to flavour my fiction for many more books to come.

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MEET THE AUTHOR IN MILLTHORPE

PAMELA COOK

Our Millthorpe Pop-Up is a celebration of Australian writing, our books all gathering together in a little gold-rush era village with stories whispering from every wild colonial verandah post. So tell us, Pamela, how has your Australianness, or your experience of Australia, inspired or influenced your storytelling explorations?

My novels are all set in rural Australia. Spending a lot of time in the country as a kid (even though I lived in the suburbs of Sydney) had a huge impact on me. I developed a great love of open spaces, the coast and country towns which has stayed with me into adulthood. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to lots of areas in rural New South Wales with my daughters attending horse events, and have had a lifelong love affair with the south coast. Now we live on a property just south of Sydney and I get to sit on my veranda and be inspired by the bush, birds and the occasional goanna while I write.

If you were to set a tale in Millthorpe, with its many layers of history – from the Wiradjuri wars to boutique stores – what sort of a tale might you tell?

Funny you should ask! My current manuscript is set in a fictional town ‘very similar’ to Millthorpe. I wanted somewhere not too far from Sydney but far enough to be a bit of a chore to get to for a quick getaway. Also, somewhere with gorgeous heritage buildings and a thriving arts community. It’s the story of a woman has to confront a disturbing part of her past when she becomes foster mother to her childhood friend’s ten-year-old daughter.

That sounds fascinating – you’ll have to come back and launch it here! But for now, please tell us about the wonderful tales you’ll be bringing to the Millthorpe Pop-Up from far and wide.

My novels all feature strong women dealing with difficult family relationships, a 9780733636851confronting issue from their past and a complicated problem in their present. The first three, Blackwattle Lake, Essie’s Way and Close To Home are all set in fictional towns on the south coast of New South Wales, while the fourth, The Crossroads, is set in outback Queensland. I love immersing myself in the settings I choose and my stories usually include some reference to horses. There’s also a thread of romance woven through the pages and a hopeful ending to leave my readers smiling (although you may need a few tissues along the way).

What’s your favourite Australian story – be it a novel, a film, or legend? And why do you love it?

Too hard to stick to just one! The Man From Snowy River is the first one that comes to mind – the whole horse thing, the courage, the setting and the rollicking rhythm of Banjo Paterson’s ballad never gets old. My all time favourite Australian novel is Cloudstreet. Winton’s depiction of the Lamb and Pickles families is total genius. That scene where Quick is out in the boat fishing and looking at the stars gives me goosebumps every time. The characters, the setting, the language are all pure magic!

Lovely! Describe the view from your storytelling window today.

I’m looking out at the peeling trunks of gumtrees, a patchy grass paddock where our horses are picking and a cheeky magpie I nicknamed Buddy when he kept turning up every day after we moved in. Our dogs, Spencer and Luna, the groodles, and Bridie, an old staffy, are lazing on the veranda. Koda the crazy cat (who thinks she’s a dog) is lurking nearby and our goats Sven and Elsa are patiently waiting for dinner.

If you were to write the Great Australian Novel, where might you begin?

Right here in my own backyard.

Of course! Must be time for cuppa, hmm? Fortunately, Millthorpe has plenty of options, from country pub to hatted restaurant, and several gorgeous cafes. So what’s your yen? Coffee and cake? Beer and chips? Coq au vin and Pinot Grigio?  And while we’re here, which Australian author would you like to invite to your table?

The café for morning tea, pub for lunch and the hatted restaurant for dinner. It all sounds too good to pass up! We are so spoilt for choice when it comes to wonderful Aussie authors. My writing idol is Tim Winton but I’d be far too nervous to eat if he were at the table so I think I’d invite a bunch of my favourite author buddies so we could talk about our favourite books and compare notes on our writing journeys.

Well, cheers to that! Thanks for bringing your story love to Millthorpe, Pamela.

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 Find out more about Pamela Cook here.

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MEET THE AUTHOR IN MILLTHORPE

LINDA VISMAN

Our Millthorpe Pop-Up is a celebration of Australian writing, our books all gathering together in a little gold-rush era village with stories whispering from every wild colonial verandah post. So tell us, Linda, how has your Australianness, or your experience of Australia, inspired or influenced your storytelling explorations?

I was born in England and came to Australia in 1954 at age five with my parents and three siblings; another brother was born here. For me looking back, it was the best thing my parents could have done for us kids. We lived in a rural area too, which was great. My mother hadn’t wanted to leave her home, her mother, and the things she was familiar with, but Dad was an adventurer in many ways. Poverty and three cases of polio in the family made life quite difficult during my high school years.

I have always loved reading, and Mum often bewailed how often I’d be absorbed in a book when I was supposed to be doing my jobs. Until high school, my book reading was almost entirely England based, and my fumbling attempts at writing mimicked Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. However, in my Catholic primary school, we received the School Magazine every month, and I developed an interest in Aussie stories. Added to that were the Australian poems we learned by heart, which stirred in me an appreciation for the country itself; I began to identify more with Dorothea McKellar’s “sunburnt country” than with the “field and coppice” of my birth.

I loved the Illawarra region where we lived, the mountains to the west, the lake at our back fence, but going to teach in the Central West of NSW gave me new versions of the country to appreciate. The many places I have lived and the many miles I have travelled over this land over the past sixty-five years have taught me much about this land and the effect it has on people and their outlook, both Indigenous and immigrant.

For over fifty of those years I didn’t write – apart from essays for my mature-age BA and Grad Dip, and official educational submissions and reports – although Mum always said my letters were like novels. Then as I turned fifty-seven, with a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from and a supportive husband to encourage me, the creative writing floodgates opened.

Many of my poems and short stories are grounded in this wonderfully varied country. My so-far-unpublished chapter books are set in the Central Australian outback, my novels in the dairying country and bush of 1950s and 60s eastern NSW, and my life stories are fully engaged with this country, especially those that deal with my time teaching in remote indigenous communities of the Northern Territory.

As they are for visual arts, the light and colour, the openness and variety of this continent are an amazing stimulus for writing.

If you were to set a tale in Millthorpe, with its many layers of history – from the Wiradjuri wars to boutique stores – what sort of a tale might you tell?

When I lived and worked in Dubbo, I was made welcome among the Wiradjuri adults from whom I learned such a lot as I taught them General Skills at TAFE. The stories of their childhoods and growth into adults created in me an interest in Indigenous culture and their history after European settlement. I would love to tell a story from a hundred or so years ago about a friendship between youngsters from both cultures.

What a beautiful idea, Linda. Now, please tell us about the wonderful tales you’ll be bringing to the Millthorpe Pop-Up from far and wide.

My second, recently released Australian young adult novel, Thursday’s Child, “brilliantly written” according to its first reviewer, is set in 1960-61 Australia. It is the linda coverstory of a young teenage girl, Tori, who struggles to achieve her ambitions in a male-dominated society. She faces difficulties that seem insurmountable, but is determined to do whatever is necessary to achieve her goal.

My first young adult novel, Ben’s Challenge, set in the late 1950s, is about a boy’s struggle to come to terms with the loss of his father and to find the person responsible for his death. The book tells a story of tolerance and mateship, discovery and adventure.

I also have many other tales to tell, short stories and poems based on my years in remote Northern Territory communities.

What’s your favourite Australian story – be it a novel, a film, or legend? And why do you love it?

I love many Australian authors and books, from the twentieth century through to present days. As a young teenager, I loved the books by Ivan Southall and Colin Thiele. For some reason, I missed out on Norman Lindsay, Ethel Turner, May Gibbs and many other well-known Aussie children’s authors – probably because, given my background, I read a lot of books by English authors. In high school I read several Aussie books like Patrick White’s Tree of Man, Frank Dalby Davison’s Man Shy, and Vance Palmer’s The Passage, because they were part of the English curriculum.

In my twenties and thirties, I read Xavier Herbert’s Capricornia, Marcus Clarke’s For the Term of His Natural Life, Frank Hardy’s Power Without Glory, CJ Koch’s The Year of Living Dangerously, Thomas Kenneally’s The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, AB Facey’s A Fortunate Life and others, but It’s really only in my later life that I have caught up with Miles Franklin, Ruth Park, Robert Drewe, Tim Winton and Peter Carey.

I love Ruth Park’s time-travelling Playing Beatie-Bow, a great novel for kids that blends history and the present (1970s). It seems that my love of history, and for children’s and young adults’ books has followed me through life. I am also now reading and enjoying contemporary authors like Jackie French, Kaz Delaney and Kim Kelly.

A big favourite of mine is Kate Grenville’s The Secret River, and also the story behind the writing of it, Searching for the Secret River. Grenville tells the story of settlement along the Hawkesbury River, partly based on her ancestor after whom Wiseman’s Ferry was named. She deals honestly with the associated killings and destruction of Aboriginal life – unwelcome facts of history that many prefer to gloss over. The story is real and well told, the characters, their moral choices and the outcomes of those choices clearly defined.

Describe the view from your storytelling window today.

I have often written my rough drafts away from home – in parks, by the lake or even in cafes – just to get away from the distractions of life, household tasks and the internet. But these days I am writing at the desk in my study more frequently than I once did.

I need only turn my head sideways a little to see through the big picture window into our side yard and the street that runs up the hill. Through the trees, I see several houses, a couple of boats on trailers, and the cars and trucks that occasionally pass by in our fairly quiet neighbourhood.

It’s the trees I love most, and we have lots of them on our block. They are mostly spotted gums that rise straight and tall above a few shrubs, the native garden and the lawn. It has been dry for far too long, and dead leaves litter the browned-off grass. Our struggling jacaranda and the neighbour’s Japanese maple add a softer green to the palette. Patches of shade, sunshine-dappled, reduce the intensity of the sun’s heat. Beyond the nearby houses are more trees, and I am thankful that not everyone wants to make this lovely community into the bare city suburb from which they came.

If you were to write the Great Australian Novel, where might you begin?

I would just begin to write and hope it would be good enough.

I’m sure it would be, Linda. And cheers to that! Thanks for bringing your story love to Millthorpe.

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Find out more about Linda here.

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MEET THE AUTHOR IN MILLTHORPE

NATALIE LOVETT

Our Millthorpe Pop-Up is a celebration of Australian storytelling, our books all gathering together in a little gold-rush era village with stories whispering from every wild colonial verandah post.

Welcome, Natalie! Now, if you were to create a story of Millthorpe, with its many layers of history – from the Wiradjuri wars to boutique stores – what might you tell us about the place?

I really enjoy historical fiction. I like a story being interwoven among the history of a place as the backdrop. I’d most likely want to write about the establishment of the town, the early settlers and developing a potato farming industry in the area. I’d focus on two primary families. I’d have one succeeding and one struggling to survive and who knows, I might even throw a little romance between the families and their eldest children?

Please tell us about the wonderful book you’ll be bringing to the Millthorpe Pop-Up.

Lexie’s Village – A New Kind of Family came about after I’d had my egg and sperm donor child, Alexis, at age forty-seven. When she was turning one and I’d been unsuccessful giving her a sibling myself, I still had so many embryos remaining – LexiesVillage_Cover_HighRestwenty-four to be exact. I decided I’d donate them to other struggling Australians but would stipulate they stay in touch to ensure my daughter would know her siblings, as she grew up.

What ensued was a rollercoaster ride that was surreal at times and I knew I had to document it. I’d been offered TV media coverage and when I saw the response from people to our very special story, I knew I had to write about it in more detail than what had been conveyed in the ‘Australian Story’ and ‘The Project’ episodes.

There was a lot of interest in what happened afterwards: who were the people that became recipients and who had been successful and how many babies were in Lexie’s Village now. There was also a fair bit of misunderstanding around exactly what I was doing, with quite a bit of judgement without all the facts. I wanted to get the full story out there for people to read before judging. I also wanted to build awareness for embryo donation and to help break down any barriers or potential future discrimination associated with donor children.

Some say it takes a village to raise a child. Through love, hope and determination, through joyous successes and agonising setbacks, we have formed a close‑knit community that is choosing to make that village a new kind of family. We share all of this in the book and the sequel, Lexie’s Village – The Family Tree, which will be coming out in late 2018.

What’s your favourite Australian story – be it a novel, a film, or legend? Or even an inspirational person?

A B Facey’s A Fortunate Life. It’s is an autobiography, chronicling Facey’s early life, his experiences in the Gallipoli campaign of World War One and his return to civilian life. He talks of his extraordinary life of hardship, loss, friendship and love and is the type of story that inspires me, an everyday Australian, being extraordinary.

Describe the view from your writing window today.

I’m actually not in my home office today. I’m sitting at the dining table, as landscapers have taken over the back half of the house. They are frantically trying to finish off the work before Lexie’s fourth birthday this weekend. There is hammering, dirt and crap everywhere and I’m trying to concentrate on work and not freak out about how much I still have to do to for the party. No-one wants to disappoint a bunch of four-year-olds!

If you were to write the Great Australian Novel where might you begin?

I think any great novel, be it Australian or any nationality, needs to start from a meaningful and sincere place. If you’re passionate and believe in what you’re writing, I find it writes itself, versus taking on something that you think might be a best seller but you’re not connected to it or passionate about it. Being true to yourself and not worrying about what people will think is pivotal.

Hear, hear! And now it must be time for tea. Fortunately, Millthorpe has plenty of options, from country pub to hatted restaurant, and several gorgeous cafes. So what’s your yen? Coffee and cake? Beer and chips? Coq au vin and Pinot Grigio?  And while we’re here, which Australian author would you like to invite to your table?

I’m looking forward to the chance to enjoy many of the amazing wares Millthorpe has to offer, however, if pushed to pick just one, I always love a good Devonshire tea when I get out of the city.

In terms of Australian authors, I’m pretty psyched to be working on a pop-up book store with some wonderful Australian Authors, such as Kim Kelly. The chance to get to spend some quality time with them over the weekend, is just one of the appeals to doing this.

Well, cheers to that! Thanks for bringing your story love to Millthorpe, Natalie.

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Find out more about Natalie and Lexie’s Village here.

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MEET THE AUTHOR IN MILLTHORPE

LORENA CARRINGTON

Our Millthorpe Pop-Up is a celebration of Australian writing, our books all gathering together in a little gold-rush era village with stories whispering from every wild colonial verandah post. So tell us, Lorena, how has your Australianness, or your experience of Australia, inspired or influenced your illustration explorations?

My local landscape (around Castlemaine, Victoria) has been vital to my illustration process. I’ve written more extensively about it here, but essentially, details of the landscape are what make every one of my illustrations. I photograph leaves, sticks, feathers, bones that I find in my garden and the surrounding bush, and piece them together in Photoshop to build up montaged photographic illustrations.

I mostly illustrate fairy tales, myths and folktales, and these are predominantly European; but my local landscape makes up every single one. In Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women, our collection of tales retold and illustrated by two Australian women and published by an Australian publisher, I felt it important to let the Australian landscape be a strong part of the illustrations. I didn’t hide the fact that the deep-dark forests were populated by Eucalyptus and native ferns and fungi.

Please tell us about the wonderful tales you’ll be bringing to the Millthorpe Pop-Up from far and wide.

VASILISA THE WISE AND OTHER TALES OF BRAVE YOUNG WOMEN v2 (1)Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women is a powerful collection of fairy tales where girls and women set out on their own adventures, fight their own fights, and rescue a handsome prince or two along the way. Retold by Kate Forsyth, they are tales that have long existed, but were silenced and pushed to the wayside to make room for the more popular “Disney” tales. We’re bringing them back.

What’s your favourite Australian story – be it a novel, a film, or legend? And why do you love it?

I can’t resist Australian children’s books – some from my youth, some from my daughters’: The Enchanted Forest, Possum Magic, The Eleventh Hour, Where is the Green Sheep, Diary of a Wombat, The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek… They’ll always be a comfort to read, especially to somebody else.

What a beautiful thought, Lorena. Now, describe the view from your storytelling window today.

Not glamourous, I’m afraid. I have a high window above my computer that looks up into a cobwebbed veranda. Hanging from a beam is a bird cage we bought years ago for a fancy dress party – with the bottom cut out of it, so it could be worn like a helmet!

If you were to write the Great Australian Novel, where might you begin?

From an illustrator’s point of view I would love to see more illustrated novels! Once popular, but now virtually never heard of. So if anyone has a great Australian novel they’d like illustrated, I’m your gal.

Fabulous! I might have to give that some thought. In the meantime, let’s take a tasty break. Fortunately, Millthorpe has plenty of options, from country pub to hatted restaurant, and several gorgeous cafes. So what’s your yen? Coffee and cake? Beer and chips? Coq au vin and Pinot Grigio?  And while we’re here, which Australian author would you like to invite to your table?

Cold champagne and a fiery curry for me please. I was lucky enough to have Kate Forsyth, Cate Kennedy, Carmel Bird, Martine Murray and Juliet O’Conor around our dinner table about a year ago. I don’t think I could ask for more. And yes, there was plenty of champagne!

What an excellent table – and cheers to that! Thanks for bringing your story love to Millthorpe.

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Find out more about Lorena Carrington here

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MEET THE AUTHOR IN MILLTHORPE

ALISSA CALLEN

Our Millthorpe Pop-Up is a celebration of Australian writing, our books all gathering together in a little gold-rush era village with stories whispering from every wild colonial verandah post. So, Alissa, how has your Australianness, or your experience of Australia, inspired or influenced your storytelling explorations?

In my case its rural Australia that has shaped my storytelling. I’ve always lived in regional or remote areas so it was only natural my stories played themselves out against a bush backdrop. I now live near Dubbo, red earth country, and the physical and community landscape always finds its way into my books.

If you were to set a tale in Millthorpe, with its many layers of history – from the Wiradjuri wars to boutique stores – what sort of a tale might you tell?

Millthorpe is so multi-nuanced, a walk along Pym Street always brings with it curiosity and questions. My hypothetical tale would be a romance (of course) plus a story that would pay homage to the pioneering past. There is something inspirational and courageous about carving out a new life in an unknown land.

Please tell us about the wonderful tales you’ll be bringing to the Millthorpe Pop-Up from far and wide.

9781489246738For my latest release, The Red Dirt Road, I’ve loved revisiting the small town community of Woodlea (the town of windmills) that features in The Long Paddock. Hewitt, the strong and silent pickup rider, proves the perfect match for no-nonsense Dr Fliss. Edna, the town gossip, as well as Reggie, the misunderstood carrot-obsessed bull, again make an appearance along with a cast of new and familiar characters and animals. Even though Woodlea is fictitious, the small close-knit town does bear a resemblance to the Central West town of Molong.

Lovely! Now, what’s your favourite Australian story – be it a novel, a film, or legend? And why do you love it?

The Silver Brumby books by Elyne Mitchell remain my all-time favourite Australian books. Iconic, evocative and magical, they still transport me to the secret valley in the Snowy Mountains no matter how many times I read them.

Describe the view from your storytelling window today.

Unfortunately the view in front of me is of a bookshelf (my desk is fixed to the wall) but behind me my home office door opens onto our country garden. I have three dogs asleep beyond the door, cockatoos dressing the branches of the jacaranda tree in white and a mini pony sleeping beneath the cedar trees.

How beautiful. And I think this means it’s time for a cup of tea, don’t you? Fortunately, Millthorpe has plenty of options, from country pub to hatted restaurant, and several gorgeous cafes. So what’s your yen? Coffee and cake? Beer and chips? Coq au vin and Pinot Grigio?  And while we’re here, which Australian author would you like to invite to your table?

I can’t go past a pot of English breakfast tea and scones (which have to be gluten free these days) smothered in raspberry jam and cream. As for who would invite to my table, I couldn’t just invite one author. We are so lucky to have such a breadth of talent and depth of generosity amongst our Australian authors and I’m humbled to be part of such a community.

Well, cheers to that! Thanks for bringing your story love to Millthorpe, Alissa.

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Find out more about Alissa Callen here.