Feature Spotlight with Posie Graeme-Evans
Describe yourself in one word:
What is your background with regard to writing?
My mother was a novelist and her first novel was published when she was 23 by Hutchison in London. Writing was always just normal in our house, it was just what you did (my brother Alex is also a writer, by the way: he’s an historian). And though I spent a looooong time in film and tv, I always knew, one day, I’d write books
When did you first begin writing with a view of embarking on a career as a published author?
Really pretty late I was in my mid 40s when I began and my first novel, “The Innocent” was published in my early 50s. However, I’d been saving that story up in my head ever since I left University (I was certainly inspired by a charismatic teacher, Prof Ralph Elliott, the great medievalist). And by the time I was ready to write the novel, Anne de Bohun and Edward Plantagenet’s story just poured out onto the page.
Wild Wood is an intense story transcending time and place that serves to show that we are more than simply our physicality in this lifetime. What sparked this concept for you?
Being more than just the physical is pretty much what I believe, and have since I was very small. It’s not a fashionable point of view since it’s impossible to prove other planes of existence/other lives exist outside linear time in our reductionist world and yet, and yet… I just keep trying to plumb that mystery because I think it is mysterious. And extraordinary. If it’s true, nothing at all is what it seems.
We see monumental development in Jesse throughout the novel; if made to choose though, what one character trait will most endear her to your readers?
I hope they’ll think she’s brave. I do : )
What was your biggest challenge in writing Wild Wood?
The fact that the first voice I heard in my head was that of a man from so long ago. Now, that was a challenge – writing half the book from a man’s point of view. Also, the entire story is pretty high-concept, as they’d say in Hollywood, and I just had to keep flogging myself to get it right : ) (or, as right as I thought I could. Honestly, I never, ever want to give the manuscript to the publishers. One more draft, anyone? Just a polish?)
The depth of detail included in Wild Wood is inspiring; in particular what kind of research was involved in the planning of the novel? Was there anything surprising that you learned during the research process?
Ah, research. Sometimes I think the joys of research are why I write!
Actually, I’m not one of those lucky people who is most drawn to planning (the way I write is very wasteful and time consuming as a result.) However the months of relentless discipline and the endless stages – story outline, scene breakdown, first draft, second draft etc etc – that go into writing even one script for a TV drama series is, I think, the reason I don’t go that road with my books. And so, to bring the story home, to get it on that page, I go to the ground. That is, I find the locations. I just stand there, and look and try to feel.
That’s what I bring back to my office, those feelings – plus thousands of photographs. There’s always a seed that starts the story running but… physical places, weather, buildings, portraits, clothes of the time – and thank you, Mr Google and actual physical books for the facts in some times – all eventually coalesce as the characters start to declare themselves. In some ways, writing for me is like watching a film play out as my fingers put the letters on the page.
And the biggest surprise, staying this last January in an C11th Priory Guesthouse for pilgrims on their way to St David’s in Wales, was that I heard a ghost. I really did. And, back in Australia, found validation by accident (she’s been known of for hundreds of years!)
What’s next for you? Once Wild Wood is launched and I can think properly again : ) I’ll take my head back into the next novel, The Outer Sea. Early days yet, but I’m enjoying the experience of writing it. And then, there’s the little matter of a new TV drama series I’m developing in New Zealand….
A new novel from Australia’s most beloved storyteller
Jesse Marley calls herself a realist; she’s all about the here and now.
But in the month before Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding in 1981, all her certainties are blown aside by events she cannot control. First she finds out she’s adopted. Then she’s run down by a motorbike.
In a London hospital, temporarily unable to speak, she uses her left hand to write. But Jesse’s right-handed. And as if her fingers have a will of their own, she begins to draw places she’s never seen, people from another time—a castle, a man in medieval armour. And a woman’s face.
Rory Brandon, Jesse’s neurologist, is intrigued. Maybe his patient’s head trauma has brought out latent abilities. But wait. He knows the castle. He’s been there.
So begins an extraordinary journey across borders and beyond time, one that takes Jesse to Hundredfield, a stronghold built a thousand years ago by a brutal Norman warlord and passed down to the noble Dieudonné family, a clan honored and burdened with the task of protecting England’s dangerous northern border in the fourteenth century.
Jesse holds the key to the castle’s many secrets and its connection to the mystical legend of the Lady of the Forest. Somehow Hundredfield, with its history of darkness and light, of bloody battles won and lost, will help Jesse find her true lineage.
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About the Author:
Posie is the author of five novels, most recently The Island House. She has worked in the Australian film and television industry for the last thirty years as creator and producer of hundreds of primetime television programs, including ‘McLeods Daughters’ and ‘Hi-5’. She lives in Tasmania with her husband and creative partner, Andrew Blaxland.