As I begin the second draft of my first novel, a strange sense of ending and beginning intertwines. I feel both a mourning for the old manuscript—battered and scribbled on, dog-eared and well-thumbed—and something else I haven’t felt for a long time: hope. I feel hopeful once again that this book of mine might yet live to see a library shelf or to lie bookmarked on someone’s bedside table.
Saturday 14 November, 2015
Five minutes after walking out of Waiheke Literary Festival’s session Writing About War, I read the news about Paris: the executions, the stampede outside the Bataclan theatre, the fear and the chaos. It felt somehow meaningful that I’d spent the previous 90 minutes listening to two New Zealand historians—Dr Mary Paul and Christopher Pugsley— discuss war writing and its attempt, as Pugsley said, to ‘make order out of the chaos of war’.
‘The Girl Who Stole Stockings’ is the true story of Susannah Noon, a 12-year-old girl who, in 1810, was sentenced to transportation to Australia for seven years. It is the fascinating story of the women on the convict ship, Friends, and Susannah’s eventual life on a whaling station in New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds, before the arrival of the country’s first organised colonists.
This book is a unique portrait of early New Zealand life, written in a readable and compelling style, and with wonderful colour photographs.
Here, I interview author, Elsbeth Hardie, about the joy of unraveling historical mysteries and singing like Barbra Streisand. I am incredibly grateful Elsbeth unraveled this particular mystery, because Elsbeth is my aunt, and Susannah Noon my 4x great grandmother.
Available from leading booksellers in New Zealand and Australia. Online orders at www.friendsconvictship.com RRP NZ$39.99
Kristin Duncombe is an American writer, psychotherapist and consultant who lives in Geneva with her Argentinian husband and two children. Her award-winning book Trailing: A Memoir chronicles her experience of becoming a “trailing spouse” and following her Médecins Sans Frontières husband to the frontlines of disaster and disease in East Africa. One critic writes of Trailing: “A perfect novel for ex-pats, or for any woman who is seeking a sense of purpose”. Hello just about all of us.
In a month long two-way email interview with award winning Melbourne author Alec Patric, I uncover writing craft inspiration and a mutual love of beautifully crafted guitars. Patric is the author of Black Rock White City (2015), acclaimed novella Bruno Kramzer (2013), Las Vegas for Vegans (2012) and The Rattler & Other Stories (2011).
Caroline Barron: Tomorrow is Saturday, the beginning of the school holidays. We’re heading off as a family to Lake Rotoiti, which is in the middle of the North Island. Maori legend has it that a young warrior was hunting for delicacies for his pregnant wife when his dog ran off chasing a Kiwi through the forest. When the dog returned a few hours later, wet and sicking up half-digested fish, the warrior realised there must be a lake nearby and searched the forest until he found Lake Rotoiti (and Lake Rotorua). So, tomorrow, I have no work commitments and it’s looking like the perfect day.
Saturday, no work commitments; how does the perfect day look?
This week I got to meet—in real life!—two friends made through blogging and novel research: Dr. Aleisha Ward and Jonathan Burgess, both who have been incredible sources of information about U.S. and New Zealand bands during World War Two (remember, Evelyn’s U.S. boyfriend is a trumpeter in the 43rd Division). You’ll get to meet Jonathan another time (that’s an invite to write a guest post, Jonathan). But today I have the pleasure of introducing you to lovewordsmusic’s first-ever guest blogger, Aleisha Ward, who tells us about her fascinating research journey against a background of the 2010/2011 Christchurch earthquakes.
I am delighted to announce that yours truly is the new columnist for North & South magazine! For my overseas readers, North & South is ‘New Zealand’s best-read monthly current affairs and lifestyle magazine’ (Bauer Media website) and they’ve won more than 200 journalism awards to prove it. In addition to being a fantastic read, there are three inspiring women (and great writers) at the helm—Virginia Larson, Joanna Wane and Donna Chisholm.
My column is called ‘The Heart of the Matter’ and each month I interview a high-profile New Zealander, opening with a short bio and explanation of why this person at this time. The series’ point of difference is that I reveal the private person behind the public gaze, through a set of humanising questions that remain the same or similar each issue.
Throughout the journey of researching and writing my novel, I have been fascinated, countless times, by the life lessons I uncover—or that uncover themselves to me—in the unlikeliest of places. My latest is the bizarre and fabulous advice of New Zealand’s 1940s design and style guru, architect D. E. Barry Martin (I discovered him while trying to figure out what the inside of Evelyn’s home would have looked like). Hiding within the pages of his quaint tome Modern Decoration and Furnishing: Complete Guide to Planning and Buying for All Interiors (1947, Reed NZ) are the answers to creating a peaceful New Age.
One of the settings in my book is Victoria Park (Auckland, New Zealand) during World War II. Now a peaceful green-space for Aucklanders to enjoy, back in 1942 it was developed for the U.S. Marines who had arrived to protect us from a possible Japanese invasion (and for R & R after the terror of Pacific battles e.g. Guadalcanal). Towards the end of the U.S. presence in New Zealand (most U.S troops had departed by mid-1944), the camp was taken over by the U.S. Army. Continue reading