13 November 2008

Joanne Horniman - author guest post #1

Joanne Horniman has been a kitchen hand, a waitress, an editor, a teacher and a screen printer. She now writes full-time in a shed overlooking Hanging Rock Creek near Lismore, northern New South Wales (perfectly positioned 'between the rainforest and the sea'). Oh, envy...

Her novels include Mahalia, Little Wing and A Charm of Powerful Trouble, and most recently, My Candlelight Novel - a "quietly breathtaking" story told by Sophie O'Farrell.
It's the follow up to the wonderful novel Secret Scribbled Notebooks as told by Sophie's sister Kate.

Here in the House, we are endlessly fascinated by where and how authors work. And how their surroundings infiltrate their writing. So we asked Jo (who once, to our extreme gratification, included a little glimpse of what we claim as the Onion office in one of her novels) to tell us something about where she writes - take it away, Jo:

You don't need to go there

I don’t seem to be able to stop writing about Lismore. I’ve been living outside it for about 30 years, and my favourite house is this one, down on the riverbank.

It probably has a real name, it certainly has a history, but I know none of it. It’s the house I call ‘Samarkand’ in Candlelight Novel and Secret Scribbled Notebooks, and a glimpse of the exterior is all I know.

I know that I could ask someone if I could go inside (I think it’s been divided up into flats – it’s not a boarding-house), but I don’t want to. I don’t want the actuality of it to spoil what I imagine.

It’s better that the real place remains unknown to me, apart from a few tantalising glimpses as I go past. That way I can make it whatever I want it to be, inhabit it with the people of my imagination. In fiction, I think you can do too much ‘research’. There’s a point where the imagination needs to take over. You don’t really need to go there.

Thanks Jo

(NB you can find out more about Joanne and her novels here - if you haven't had the pleasure of reading any of them yet - well, you're in for a treat.)

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