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.
‘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