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My most sustained attempt to quit writing forever was in the mid-nineties. I’d completed a novel that was greeted with indifference by publishers and was courting self-pity. I’d been writing for two decades, experimenting with scripts, comedy skits and short stories for adults and children, but had met with little success. The sensible course of […]
Writers love to evoke music when eulogising their work. They talk of the “rhythm of language.” They want their prose to “sing”. They crave musical fluidity. Compiling a comprehensive bibliography of fiction influenced by music would be daunting. It would range from the breathless descriptions of jazz in Kerouac to the turgid treatises on classical […]
After deciding my novel, Earworm, would be a tale told by a love song, I set about conceiving the voice of my narrator. I wanted something urgent, funny and non-human. The language needed to be rhythmical and awash with musical allusion and imagery. The vocabulary should reference sounds and musical jargon. My narrator would indulge […]
In 1876, Mark Twain published a short comic piece entitled A Literary Nightmare (also known as Punch, Brothers, Punch!). In this fictionalised memoir, Twain describes reading a jaunty popular poem in a newspaper which then lodges in his head. The predominance of the repetitive rhythms and rhymes shred his concentration, rendering him incapable of writing. […]
Several decades ago, at Adelaide’s Writers Week, I was dragooned into constructing a ramp for Dorothy Hewett. I’d spent the afternoon imbibing with an acquaintance called Joe Public (there are many embellishments in this story, but Joe’s name isn’t one of them). Joe’s fashion sense blended hobo haute couture with dire dentistry while I was […]
By February next year, I will hopefully have my first book, After the Party, out in the world. I still find it hard to believe and, occasionally, I look at my signed contract with Harlequin to confirm that it’s true. When friends ask what it’s about, I give them my elevator pitch. ‘It’s about a […]
In my head, there are two types of writers. The first type I consider to be the ‘born’ writer. They come into the world with a sense of destiny about their writerly future. They sit at the computer (or, more romantically, with pen and paper in hand) and the words pour out. Ideas and characters […]
In my last blog post, I wrote about the phenomenon of children ‘birthing’ writers and how the ups and downs of motherhood prompted me to once again ‘pick up a pen’ after decades of not writing creatively at all. In this post, I want to talk about births of a different kind – the birth […]
As a child, I was obsessed with two things – ballet and reading. If I wasn’t flinging myself about the living room doing re-enactments of Swan Lake, I had my nose buried in a book. ‘Ballet Shoes’ by Noel Streatfield was (and remains) my favourite book…
I was born in Sydney. My parents moved us to Adelaide before I could walk. Our east-coast roots meant that despite growing up in an Aussie Rules town, I was raised on a steady diet of rugby. When I started school, a kid in a Crows scarf was asked which team I barracked for. “The […]
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