Posted by: Lisa Hill | June 22, 2016

Meet an Aussie Author: Mark O’Flynn

Photo credit:Suzanne Smith

Photo credit:Suzanne Smith

Readers who joined in the conversation about The Last Days of Ava Langdon earlier in June will be pleased to see that thanks to Sally Belford from UQP, Mark O’Flynn is joining us for Meet an Aussie Author and we have an answer to the question raised in discussion too:)

Born in Melbourne but now living in the Blue Mountains, Mark O’Flynn is a notable Aussie author.  He has published:

His short stories, articles, reviews, and poems have appeared in Australian Book Review, The Bulletin, The Good Weekend, Heat, Island, Overland, Westerly, Meanjin, Southerly, New Australian Stories, and Picador New Writing,

Here are Mark’s answers to my questions, with the bonus answer about Ava Langdon below:)  I love the shout out to Mrs Burgess, Mark’s teacher…

1.   I was born ... in Melbourne
2.  When I was a child I wrote … pastiches of old Doctor Who episodes.
3.  The person who encouraged/inspired/mentored me to write was … Mrs. Burgess, my old HSC Literature teacher, although she doesn’t know that she did this.
4.  I write in …  my study in the Blue Mountains, although anywhere will do.
5.  I write when …  I have a pen in my hand and an idea in my head, usually after my siesta.
6.  Research is … over rated.
7.  I keep my published works in … a book shelf
8.  On the day my first book was published, I … rode to the publisher’s house to pick it up.
9.  At the moment, I’m writing … an adventure story
10.When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I … often go for a walk.

I had one extra question for Mark:  When I read The Last Days, I felt that Ava had ambiguous sexuality, but fellow bloggers Sue from Whispering Gums and Bill from The Australian Legend had read The Pea Pickers (as I also have) and thought that Eve Langley (on whom Ava is based) was definitely heterosexual.  So although Ava is not Eve, was there anything in Mark’s research for the novel that led him to any conclusions about Eve’s sexuality that channelled  into the character of Ava?

A: My reading of Eve Langley was that she was confused about her sexuality, which leads me to what I thought was an interesting ambiguity. What is clearer is that she was profoundly romantic, and yearned for this capital R Romance in her life in whatever form it came. A yearning that was thwarted more often than not. One of these nostalgic yearnings was for the romance of her past and the people who lived with her there. Her sister figures greatly in this. To love is what was important, not the gender of the person. She was also a great one for swooning. If this is slightly contradictory then I quite like that. It suggests an interesting dichotomy in the character.

Check out this interview at Spineless Wonders too.

Many thanks again to Sally Belford from UQP, for facilitating Mark’s participation.

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  1. Thanks for asking him, still for now I’ll stick with my own reading. Eve was definitely looking for love, yet at times she sent away both Blue, her sister, and Macca, her (platonic) lover. As she got older – mid twenties – she loved and slept with other men. But why she married is a mystery, perhaps because he was the one who was most ambivalent about loving her.


    • Ah, the mysteries of the human heart, eh?


      • Tonight I am babysitting at geology daughter’s. She has her own copy of PP and I have just read Lucy Frost’s Introduction – she makes a compelling case for Steve’s repressed lesbian sexuality. I might have to read PP again. (A&R Classics, 1994)


        • Well, that’s a bit of synchronicity!


  2. I love these little insights into the worlds of others! I’ll get myself a copy of ‘White Light’ I think. Thanks Lisa.


    • Lovely! I’m going to chase up his other novels, I’ve decided…


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