Join me in wishing Melbourne author Lorraine Campbell a very warm welcome to my blog and to congratulate her on the release of her latest book The Butterfly Enigma, a book I enjoyed enormously. Thanks for participating and sharing with us a little of your story Lorraine.
When I was a child… I absolutely loved to read. Long after lights out, I would pull the bedcovers over my head and read by torch light. All the children’s classics, Enid Blyton, Grimm’s Fairytales, Folktales of Scotland (some of which were really scary!) Then on to my brother’s bookshelf. Boy’s Own Annual – stories with titles like “Rockfist Rogan of the RAF” – and all the Biggles books. I can still name most of the fighter aircraft of WWI and WWII – from the Sopwith Camel to the Messerschmitt 109. Perhaps that’s where the seeds of writing about that time in history were sown!
Lessons I learned as a court reporter…That if you’re lucky enough to have had a normal childhood, with parents who loved you, then never cease to be grateful for that. Working in the courts, you see such terrible things. What can happen to young people who aren’t so lucky. Who suffer all forms of abuse and neglect. I always think, in another life, that could have been me.
My favourite book of 2015… is Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling.) The best by far in the series. This one is much more character driven and less weighed down by too many red herrings and unnecessary detail. As a writer of historical fiction, I also want to mention The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth. A clever blending of fact and fiction and underpinned by meticulous research. This one is a real page turner, full of action and suspense. I won’t spoil the ending – save to say it’s an absolute corker!
Research…is one is one of the best parts of writing historical fiction. I sometimes think I could spend my life doing research. You find yourself going down all sorts of different paths and byways, endlessly fascinated by what you’re discovering. If you want to write authentic historical fiction, you need to be familiar with every aspect of daily life. What your characters wore, what they ate, how they got around. One week you might be researching the medals and uniforms of the German Army. The next week you’re reading up on French fashions of the 1930s and those outrageous creations of Elsa Schiaparelli: gloves that ballooned out to the elbows, hats in the shape of a shoe. And then, of course, the most exciting aspect of research: travelling to all the places I was writing about. Walking in the footsteps of my characters. When I was researching Resisting the Enemy, breaking the budget and splurging on three nights at the Hotel Scribe in Paris. Chatting up the desk clerk, learning all about its history, photos of how it looked during the War. More importantly for my plot, where the exits were located. How they were accessed.
The cover of The Butterfly Enigma… is a painting that was given to me many years ago. We decided to use it because it seemed to fit the story so well. Beautiful… mysterious. Even the little hair ties look like butterflies – an image which is central to Lena’s connection with her past.
I love Melbourne because… the opera house and the theatres are always full. I love the beautiful tree-lined boulevards, the trams, the State Library with its iconic dome, the cosmopolitan foodie culture, the quirky outdoor cafés that abound in all the suburbs, the crazy weather: as one visitor said recently, it’s perfectly feasible in Melbourne to get sunstroke and hyperthermia in one day. And no matter what suburb you live in, you’re always within easy driving distance of the beach.
The best thing about being a writer…is being able to inhabit two different worlds. The everyday one and the parallel universe of your imagination. When you become immersed in your writing, you get lost in that alternative world and you start living it. This is where the magic happens. You become your character. Bringing a character to life is one of the most rewarding parts of being a writer.
My favourite car is… a mimosa yellow Triumph TR6 sports car, one of the last series ever made. It had a hard top, soft top, and tonneau cover. I really loved that car. I drove it for about 20 years, and it nearly broke my heart to sell it. My only consolation was that it was going to a good home – a mad Triumph and classic car enthusiast who promised to love and cherish it forever.
A typical day for me…starts with an early morning run – in one of the local parks, or along the beach front. That’s my number one priority before I do anything else. Writing is such a sedentary occupation, and for me maintaining a fit and healthy body is an important part of the whole writing process. Then a hearty breakfast to keep me going during the day. Sometimes when I’m writing I can sit at the computer for six hours straight and suddenly realise I’ve forgotten to have lunch.
My next book is… just in my head. It’s all there, ideas swirling around, a couple of characters taking shape. At the moment I’m caught up with all the pre-release marketing aspects of The Butterfly Enigma. But as soon as I get some free time, I’ll be able to put words down on the page.
Thanks for sharing Lorraine – love the car!