Thursday, November 11, 2010

Interview with Kirsty Eagar

Photo Sourced from Author's Website
Photo Credit: Carol Gibbons
Kirsty Eagar, author of Raw Blue, was kind enough to respond to my query about doing an interview in regards to her book, life, synaesthesia and writing as a whole. A big thanks to Kirsty for her approachability and enthusiasm!

In other news, the 2010 Inky awards ceremony will be held on Thursday November 25 at 10.30am at the Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library of Victoria.

There they'll be announcing the winners of the Gold Inky, Silver Inky and Creative Reading Prize, as well as hearing from last year's winner Randa Abdel-Fattah. There will also be cake! So come along...I'm so excited about meeting everyone!

BC: Hi Kirsty. Firstly, was Raw Blue the kind of novel you imagined would be your first published book, and what aspects of your life inspired it?

KE: No and yes. I wasn't sure what it was and where it belonged (in a market sense). Prior to that I'd written two adult fiction manuscripts that didn't get anywhere, and Raw Blue was what happened when I stopped thinking about getting published. But from the beginning, that book had its own energy, so it felt like all was right with the universe when I found out it was getting published, and that my publisher wanted to put it out first (another book was accepted at the same time). In the broadest sense, I wrote it because I felt grateful. Like everyone, I've had shit happen in my life and could have gone either way as a result. The specific aspects from my own life that I wanted to incorporate were surfing and what it's like to work in kitchens (hard work and badly paid).   

BC: The way you evoke Australia's surfing culture is, in my eyes, intensely vivid. Did this come about due to your own experiences of surfing, or was it more of your own imagining?

KE: My experiences, but as viewed through the eyes of Carly (the main character). The break I surf at fascinates me. I live there now, so I'm seeing the place at all times of the day and night. Which is good.

BC: It's quite evident these days that writers are made into much more public incarnations than their earlier cousins. How comfortable are you with this role in comparison to your writerish solitude?

KE: I find it difficult. I guess I'm never sure if it's adding value for the audience. I don't think it does when writers are just droning on about "their novel" - snore. I don't mind talking about the process though, because I draw a lot from other people's processes, particularly artists and athletes. And I like doing workshops, because then you're allowed to be excited, and it's not about you, it's about the doing. The best thing is talking to readers who for whatever reason have clicked with something you've written. Usually it's a snippet that you didn't think twice about.     

BC: Congratulations on Raw Blue winning the 2010 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Young Adult fiction! (What a glorious mouthful!)  So what do you feel is next on the horizon for Kirsty Eagar?

KE: Thank you! Promise not to snore, but I'm working on a novel called Night Beach. If I was going to make up a label for it, I'd call it sea gothic. Not a booming genre.    

BC: I was particularly intrigued by the character of Danny. Where did you first learn about synaesthesia?
KE: Okay, here's where I drone on about process. When I started writing the story, all I really knew about Danny was that he saw people in colours. I have no idea why, as I had never heard of anything like that before, but it was my story, so if I believed it of him, well, I figured I'd make it work somehow. Carly was always going to be blue, (and as the draft went on, I realised her particular kind of blue might be linked to rage, or anger, which is why Shane, the surf psycho, is a similar blue).
But then, after I'd started, I read an article about synaesthesia completely by chance and realised it was exactly the type of thing I'd envisioned Danny having (although his variation of the condition - colours from people - is apparently quite rare). So then I got all scholarly and looked into it.
Online content about the condition changed rapidly in the few years between my first draft and final edit. When I first looked around, I found these wonderful descriptions from people riffing about their sensory charges. One guy said his wife gave him tobacco smoke and velvet curtains, all this lovely colour and texture. I never could find that again. Now, the web content seems to be from more organised sources. 

BC: For those who haven't yet read Raw Blue, could you describe it to us in just six words?

KE: It's about letting go and Living. (The capital is important).

BC: Lastly, if you had the ability to implant a recording of your voice within the head of every young, aspiring writer, what would you say?

KE: Look, I was going to say work hard, and don't beat yourself up when it's not perfect. But I can be a terrible slacker, and I get crippled by the fact that my attempts are crap. So I don't know. Maybe the most important thing is to keep returning to it. This will be easier if you write about the thing that's gotten under your skin; people, places and situations that fascinate you; the things that you want to hold on to; the things you need to let go of. Write, write and write. Keep a journal of your process so that when doubt bites you next time around, you'll have proof that you've gotten through it before. Don't give up: success can mean a lot of different things, and failure can be the making of you. Although it doesn't matter what other people think, the right ones will tell you to get back to work, so listen to them. Make writing your Plan A. Forget Plan B. And by that I don't mean quitting your job or uni and no longer doing other things. I mean, arrange your life so that you can write. Make it your discipline. Invest in it - your time, your heart, your patience. And you will be so, so glad, because it will give you more than you ever dreamed of. 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome interview - good job, Broede! I will post a link to it in my weekly news round up this Thursday!



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