Kim Kelly

Australian Author

Month: April, 2018

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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.

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It’s such a lovely pleasure to welcome author Lisa Walker onto the blog today. Lisa’s latest novel, Melt, will be released in May, a sparkling story of love, climate change and finding out who we truly are, set in glorious Antarctica – and I adored it. Here, Lisa gives us a glimpse of all that inspired her to take us there…

CONJURING ANTARCTICA

I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot, but I’ve never made it to Antarctica. It’s exerted a mysterious attraction, but has remained elusive. Sometimes I think that the places we don’t see are more powerful than the ones we do. They maintain an almost mythical status, like Narnia or Hobbiton.

In writing about Antarctica, I think it helped that I’ve spent a lot of time in snowy places. I could visualise the hardships and the beauty of living in that environment. I’ve done many different jobs in my life – bar tender, reef guide, ranger, but the one that always gets people’s attention is the igloo building instructor. Yes, it’s true. And what is more, I did this in Australia. I led snow survival courses in which we built – and slept in – igloos and snow caves. Igloo building is quite a job. A snow cave can be whipped up in a couple of hours, but an igloo takes more commitment and preferably a team of willing builders. Sleeping in one is warmer than you would expect, and rather lovely. At night, a candle will light up the whole igloo and during the day a beautiful blue glow comes through the snow. In Melt I set my protagonist, Summer, the job of building an igloo all by herself, which she finds extremely challenging.

Over the two years or so it took me to write Melt, I immersed myself in Antarctic experiences. I stood in a blizzard at the Antarctic Centre in Christchurch and visited the Antarctic Explorers exhibition at Christchurch Museum, as well as the one in Hobart. I studied up on penguins and seals. And I also listened to scientist Chris Turney talk about the history of Antarctica at the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Chris wrote an account of the 1912 season in Antarctica which saw no less than five expeditions set out on a journey of scientific discovery. Famously, of course, the Norwegian team led by Amundsen won the race to the South Pole, with the British expedition led by Scott getting there one month later and perishing on the return journey. Also on the move were a German team, a Japanese team and an Australian team, led by Mawson.

Antarctica, Chris told us, didn’t even begin to be explored until 1820. Before that, it was just shown as ‘unexplored territory’ on the map.  Venturing down there, then, was the equivalent of space travel – a voyage into the complete unknown. The explorers gnawed on huskies, they spent the winter on a ship bound by ice, they were blown off their feet in blizzards… And despite all that, they brought back data which changed the face of science.

Antarctica has inspired some truly great lines. Who can forget these: ‘I am just going outside and may be some time,’ (Oates); ‘Food lies ahead, death stalks us from behind,’ (Shackleton); or ‘Great God! This is an awful place,’ (Scott).  And then there is my protagonist Summer, who channels these great explorers on her first broadcast from Antarctica. ‘Notwithstanding the potential for peril, we are launching into an adventure that seems likely to surpass all my former experiences…’ Antarctica brings out the orator in us all.

Writing Melt was an immersive experience. I’ve spent so much time thinking about Antarctica, it almost feels like I’ve been there. That pleasure, however, is still to come.

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Copies of Melt will be available at the Millthorpe Pop-Up, 24-27 May.

Find out more about Lisa Walker here.

LADY BIRD & THE FOX

 

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What happens when a hardworking farm girl and a spoilt rich-boy gambler are mistaken for bushrangers on the road to the goldrush? At a breakneck gallop through wild colonial Australia, Lady Bird & The Fox untangles a tale of true identity and blind bigotry, of two headstrong opposites thrown together by fate, their lives entwined by a quest to get back home – and the irresistible forces of love.

PAPERBACK

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EBOOK

All the major ebook retailers can be found here.

Praise for Lady Bird & The Fox

Lady Bird & The Fox is a marvel of a novel…It’s a story that will stay with me forever.’ –  Wendy James, The Golden Child

Kelly is a masterful creator of character and voice. Reminiscent of Mark Twain’s dry humour…’ – Julian Leatherdale, Palace of Tears

Lady Bird & The Fox is a completely unique tale. It’s a fast-paced, deeply evocative story of life, love and adventure in early Australia. I read it in one sitting, loved every single word.’ Kelly Rimmer, Before I Let You Go

Lady Bird & The Fox is brilliant. Thought provoking, funny – as in, actually laugh out loud funny – historically accurate, meticulously researched, and crafted with impeccable inference.’ – Theresa Smith, Australian Women Writers

Praise for Kim Kelly

‘colourful, evocative and energetic’ – Sydney Morning Herald

‘impressive research’ – Daily Telegraph

‘Why can’t more people write like this?’ – The Age

F&L hi-res

 

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MEET THE AUTHOR IN MILLTHORPE

KELLY RIMMER

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. Now, Kelly, 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?

My book A Mother’s Confession is set in a fabulously quirky, fictional village called ‘Milton Falls’, which is located somewhere near both Orange and Bathurst…sound familiar? That particular story is an exploration of some pretty intense issues and the plot is driven by the blessings and complications of small-town living. For all of these reasons, it just didn’t feel right to name a real place for the setting, but in my mind as I was writing, ‘Milton Falls’ looked a lot like our lovely Millthorpe. So…I think I have already done this, although perhaps in a roundabout way!

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

I’ll only be travelling from my home in Orange, but the story I’ll be bringing is set half a world away in Alabama in the US. Here’s a little taste of my new book, Before I Let You Go.

ANZ_BILYG-Cover_Final (002)As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced to turn to her leather-bound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears…

As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a successful doctor and happily engaged. Annie is an addict – a thief, a liar and unable to remain clean. When Annie’s newborn baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?

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

I have a very soft spot for the novel Playing Beatie Bow, by Ruth Park. I read it when I was a child and was so absorbed in the story it felt like I’d fallen back into the 1800’s myself. Perhaps that book even made a permanent connection in my mind between that setting and great storytelling, because I love to take a retreat to The Rocks when I’m working on a first draft. My novels are generally set in the modern era, and not always set here in Australia, but there’s just something inspiring about getting to work in a place steeped in so much history.

How lovely. And what’s the view from your storytelling window today?

In the real world, I’m looking out through my window towards some stunning gum trees in the distance and a cluster of wattles just behind my back fence. But right beside that window is the window I’ve been spending far more time staring at today, and that’s my current manuscript on my monitor – today it’s got me staring back 1938, to a tiny village in Lesser Poland…where the opening scenes to my 2019 novel are set.

Can’t wait to find out all about this new novel. Now, if you were to write the Great Australian Novel, where might you begin?

One of the wonderful things about this country is that you could traverse a dozen or more environs and still not capture the breadth of it. If I were to write the ‘Great Australian Novel’, it would have to be an epic saga that spanned the inner-city and the suburbs and grasslands and mountains and rainforest and beaches and…well, you get the idea! But now that I think about it, I’d probably start the story in The Rocks…

Of course! After all that travelling, it’s 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 would you like to invite to your table?

Well…this might seem an odd answer to this question, but I’d love to sit down with the madcap children’s fiction duo Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. Firstly, because their books inspired my son’s love of reading so I’d love to buy them a drink and say a heartfelt thanks – and secondly, because I’ve been reading their crazy tales with my kids for a few years now and I just reckon they’d be great fun to chat to!

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

Kelly Rimmer official author photo - Bree Bain Photography photo credit (002) Find out more about Kelly Rimmer here.