Felicity Pulman, author of A Ring Through Time
Tell us about your latest creation…
A Ring Through Time is a ghostly romance set on Norfolk Island with a timeslip back to the brutal Second Penal Colony. Alice and Cormac are two star-crossed lovers whose ill-fated romance will haunt the future unless Allie can solve a family mystery and lay the ghosts of the past to rest.
Where are you from / where do you call home?
I was born in Zimbabwe but have lived in Sydney for more than 40 years. Home is close to the beach and to the bush and I love them both.
I’ve written stories from the time I learned how to write – but never considered it a career option, it was just something I did – while dreaming about being a famous musician, or a brilliant surgeon – always something wonderful – until real life intruded! I was 40 by the time I started to take my writing seriously – a bit of a slow developer!
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?
I always love what I’m writing about; it becomes my whole world. I always find it hard to let go at the end, and I have to wait to fall in love all over again with the new book and its characters. I give every book my absolute best shot – and I hope I’m getting better with practice!
Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?
I’ve colonised a spare bedroom for my study and its crammed with books (mostly for research purposes, my fiction lives elsewhere.) I have two filing cabinets + cupboards and shelves jammed with old mss, photo albums (for research) papers, etc etc. I also have an altar decorated with semi-precious stones and objects that hold special significance for me. And a CD player. There’s a lovely view out of one window, but once I’m writing I might as well be living in a cupboard!
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?
Because many of my books have a basis in history (medieval and Australian) I read historical fiction and non fiction. I’m also a crime addict and I love family sagas too. Standout Aus. authors for me include Helen Garner, Marcus Zusak’s Book Thief and Geraldine Brooks.
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?
In my day there was little choice other than Enid Blyton. I so loved The Magic Faraway Tree that I think I’m still writing versions of it!
If you were a literary character, who would you be?
Lisbeth Salander – I envy her strength, her courage, her freedom – but I might like to temper her prickles with the knowledge and caring of a Brother Cadfael.
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?
I bush walk, body surf and snorkel at home and in exotic places like Indonesia, Fiji, Mozambique, Vanuatu and the Galapagos Islands. I’ve swum with manta rays, seals and penguins – it’s a magical world underwater.
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?
Smoked salmon and avocado accompanied by a glass or two of chardonnay (not trendy I know, but I’m now old enough to please myself!)
Who is your hero? Why?
I admire people who perfect their craft and use it for the benefit of others as opposed to their own self-glorification – someone like Victor Chang, for example.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?
For authors (and probably publishers and booksellers too) I think the challenge will be to adapt to changing technology and new ways of telling stories. I hope the book per se will never die – but once people become used to reading and interacting with stories on line and using different aps, then it might well be said that ‘the author is dead’.