Alexandra Cameron, author of Rachael’s Gift
Tell us about your latest creation:
Rachael’s Gift begins when talented artist, fourteen-year-old Rachael, accuses her teacher of sexual misconduct, but the principal has suspicions that she is lying. Her father, Wolfe, is worried about his daughter’s odd behaviour but her mother, Camille, will not hear a bad word against her. A fraught investigation ensues, culminating in a showdown on the other side of the world in Paris. The story is about ambition, art, talent, truth, how we pass unresolved issues from one generation to the next and a mother’s uncompromising love for her daughter.
I was born in Sydney. We lived in Paddington until we moved to Mackay in North Queensland. When I was eight we moved to a small town in country NSW called Currabubula where I attended the local school where there were forty-eight children from kindergarten to sixth grade all in one big classroom. We then lived in Willoughby, Vaucluse and Randwick. I spent a year in Paris and then moved to London. After several moves back and forth, I currently live in London but I still call Australia home!
When you were a kid, what did you want to become? An author?:
When I was a kid I had a long list of things I wanted to do when I grew up: one of them was to be an author but I also wanted to be an architect, a photographer, a fashion designer and an inventor. This was also when I was eight.
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:
That would have to be my one-year-old son, Hamish… Seriously, I have only written one novel so far, so that would be Rachael’s Gift.
Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:
Currently I hot desk it around the house. My mac has been moved to the bedroom because the spare room is occupied. There is usually a large window I can stare out of, which helps with the daydreaming up of ideas. I am ordered and I am also chaotic. It’s a case of sliding from one end to the other. There is usually a pile of books on my desk from which I am taking inspiration.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:
I like to catch up on something I have not read but should have – currently its Nabokov and then I might have something that is new and has caught my interest. This was Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Because he totally gets what being a kid is all about.
Later, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It’s a perfect story that inspires me to be a better person.
If you were a literary character, who would you be?:
Anne of Green Gables
I love that she’s a fighter and a writer and a hopeless romantic.
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:
Spare time? I run around after my one year old. Sleep
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:
Tomato pasta. Oooh champagne on special occasions.
Who is your hero? Why?:
My mum. She is an incredibly strong person who brought up five children (without help) amongst other adversities. I don’t know how she did it. I struggle with just one! She read to me everyday when I was growing up.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:
The biggest challenge will be keeping kids interested in reading and books when there are so many other distractions for short attention spans. If kids grow up loving books they will always read, but they have to be encouraged early on.