Posted by: Lisa Hill | February 23, 2014

Meet an Aussie Author: Amanda Curtin

Amanda Curtin pic 1Amanda Curtin has been one of my favourite authors ever since I discovered her brilliant debut novel, The Sinkings published by UWA in 2008.  (Read my review here and a Sensational Snippet here). Her second novel, Elemental (2013) establishes Curtin as one of Australia’s best contemporary authors, and I expect to see it on shortlists everywhere.  (See my review here  and a Sensational Snippet here.)  I haven’t read Amanda’s short fiction collection, Inherited (2011) but it’s been rated 4 ½ stars at GoodReads where there are glowing reviews by Magdalena Ball and Annabel Smith so I have no hesitation in recommending it too.

Amanda has a PhD in Writing and is an Accredited Editor with the Institute of Professional Editors.  The Perth Writers Festival is well under way as I write this, and Amanda is participating in four sessions including one called Writing the Past.  Her expertise can be seen on her blog, where she generously shares all kinds of ideas about the process of writing, most recently in a series called Reasons to Love a Novel.  She has been granted writing residencies in Australia, Scotland, Ireland and the United States,  and she’s lectured in writing and editing at Edith Cowan University and presented workshops and master classes for writers.  Fortunately for her devoted readers, she finds time to write her own novels as well.

Amanda Curtin desk

Amanda’s desk

Amanda lives with her husband and an opinionated Siamese cat in an old house in an old suburb of Perth that used to be a general store.   Her studio in the back yard used to be the shop – and if you click on it to enlarge it, you can see all kinds of fascinating bits and pieces that hint at what’s on the writer’s mind.  There’s a map, old B&W photos, some tantalising purple sticky notes, and the cover photo from Elemental on the door.  I wish my desk were as tidy as that!

Busy as she is, Amanda found time to participate in Meet an Aussie Author – and here are her answers to my questions:

1. I was born… in the wrong place: Perth, Western Australia, one of the hottest places on earth. I should have been born in Scotland or Ireland or Tasmania.

2. When I was a child I wrote… my will, inspired by Amy in Little Women, in breathlessly sentimental, melodramatic prose on a sheet of kitchen paper (to make it look like parchment).

3. The person who encouraged/inspired/mentored me to write is/was… an early writing group consisting of Annabel Smith, Danielle Wood, Donna Mazza and Carmel Macdonald Grahame, and my academic supervisor, Richard Rossiter.

Amanda Curtin duck4. I write in…  my backyard studio—a tranquil space, except on the odd occasion when a duck lands on the tin roof!

5. I write when… I can. And I’m usually most productive in the afternoon or late at night, when I’ve been carrying images in my head for a while.

6. Research is… addictive, utterly absorbing, essential to how I create. My favourite kind of research comes from travelling, experiencing the places I am writing about.

7. I keep my published work/s in… a special bookshelf in the house, alongside precious copies of the works of my writer friends.

8. On the day my first book was published, I… felt the presence of Little Jock (from The Sinkings) at the launch, lurking in the shadows, in the vicinity of the wine.

9. At the moment, I’m writing… two novellas, one set in Paris and the other in Australia.

10. When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I…  make tea, or I walk—circuit-breakers. But often I keep trying different things, scribbling on the page, until something cracks and the light gets in.

I can’t wait to see that novella set in Paris … I suppose that means a research trip, Amanda?

Amanda blogs at Looking up, looking down, and you can buy her books by clicking on the links to Fishpond below.

Thanks for participating, Amanda:)

Publications:
Elemental (novel), UWA Publishing, 2013
Inherited (short fiction), UWA Publishing, 2011
The Sinkings (novel), UWA Publishing, 2008

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Responses

  1. Lovely to “meet” Amanda, and how nice to have an insight into her workplace! I loved The Sinkings but have yet to read Elemental, although it has been on my wish list for some time.

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    • Hello sharkell—nice to meet you! (and it’s lovely to hear you loved The Sinkings) :-)

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  2. Amanda has been getting lots of rave reviews for these books as part of the AWWC. I am hoping to get to her books myself one of these days!

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    • Thank you, Marg. I hope you enjoy them :-)

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  3. Amazing to get a peek of Amanda’s office, just to see where this genius of a writer works is a great privilege. Bright n’ cosy, and the clock which has a lovely face, roman numerals, is in a prominent position in relationship to her desk. Mmmm…tick…tick…tick…

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    • I like the colour scheme: blue has always been my favourite colour:)

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  4. A very interesting article. I love the slideshow and the writer’s desk. I am not sure that my relatives in Perth would know anything about Amanda or the Perth Festival! I had a look at the website and it looks really good.

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