All through university years, I used to come up to Melbourne, go to Pizza Napoli with my friends and then to a movie.
First and foremost, I’m an oral storyteller – I’ll make a poetic choice over a grammatical choice every single time.
I am very fortunate in that I have spent pretty much my whole life being a writer, and before I was a writer, I was a storyteller.
I believe excellent fantasy reflects us all, and yes, it can use those myths that underpin societies, our subconscious yearnings and longings, and perhaps our barren spirituality.
I do see, in some younger writers, elements and things that I have used – and I am very touched and flattered because I am part of a tapestry that is being absorbed by authors.
I don’t believe in fairies floating around, and I don’t believe in telepathy, but there are things I want to say that just simple real-life stories don’t let me say.
I have never forgotten the almost mystical power over an audience a storyteller has, when the story is deep and links you.
I wrote my first full book when I was fourteen, and that was ‘Obernewtyn.’ It was also the first book I had published. It was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to, and it was short listed for Children’s Book of the Year in the older readers category in Australia.
If fantasy is done well, it has both serious content in a literary fashion and is a really good read as well – and children and young adults won’t suffer anything else.
If you look at the body of any writers’ work, you can figure out the questions that animate them. I think that is what real writers do. They don’t tell people how to live or what to think. They write in order to try to answer their own deepest questions.
Isn’t that what writing is about? The constant attempt to understand the world?
Once upon a time, if you wanted to talk about the notion of child abandonment, of a mother not being a good mother, that’s built into the mother who sends the babes into the woods, and they use the bits of bread or stones to come home again.
The best books arise from some ultimate question in the author.
The best fantasy does not offer an answer to our lives, it is an offering that acknowledges enough of the truth to resonate and add to the understanding about the human condition.
The first audience that you have when writing a book is you.
The thing is, fairytales were once a very gritty way for people to dialogue about aspects of life.
What’s gratifying is that it’s my books that are being read and reread until they’re battered over the years. I love that.