Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 21, 2016

Meet an Aussie Author: Jacinta Halloran

Photo credit: Mish Mackay

Photo credit: Mish Mackay

I first discovered the writing of Jacinta Halloran when I found her debut novel Dissection (2008) in a bookshop.  I thought it was an outstanding novel (see my review and a Sensational Snippet) so I was prepared to be perhaps disappointed by the follow-up, but Pilgrimage (2012) turned out to be great reading too.  (See my review for that one too). When along came The Science of Appearances in 2016 (see my review), it was time to find out more about the author of these absorbing novels.

I was a bit hesitant about asking Jacinta to participate in Meet an Aussie Author, because as well as being a GP here in Melbourne, she is also involved in initiatives for the Stella Prize (see her profile at Scribe Publications) but somehow she has generously found time to answer my questions!

  1. I was born … the oldest of six. You’d think my bossiness skills would be better honed than they are.
  2. When I was a child I wrote…far less often than I read. I devoured fiction – Alan Garner, EM Nesbit, CS Lewis – but didn’t entertain the possibility of becoming a writer until much later in life.
  3. The person who encouraged/inspired/mentored me to write was…my year 9 English teacher. She told me I could do anything I set my mind to. I’ll never forget it.
  4. I write in…  a white-walled upstairs room at Glenfern, a National Trust house in East St Kilda.
  5. I write in … the mornings, with coffee and silence.
  6. Research … doesn’t feel like work – in fact it feels a lot like play – but it’s crucial. The Science of Appearances wouldn’t have existed without it.
  7. I keep my published works … scattered around the house. There’s probably a dusty copy of Dissection under a bed.
  8. On the day my first book was published… I felt like a fraud. But the day I received my first publishing contract was one of the happiest of my life.
  9. At the moment, I’m writing … my fourth novel. (‘Writing’ being code for mucking around with a few words in defiant capitals in an exercise book.)
  10. When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I … go to my phone for a stickybeak at whatever. (I’m not particularly proud of that but I might as well be honest. And I’ll break the habit . . . soon.) And I now trust that the phrase will come when it’s ready.

jacinta-halloran-studio There are some intriguing objects shown here in Jacinta’s studio.  A set of Russian dolls, a mini Christmas tree, some maps, and – unless I am mistaken – some images from the art of Shaun Tan.  Maybe from his picture book, Rules of Summer.  On the wall, some unusual small masks with huge black eyes.  Just miscellaneous objects, or clues to her next book?  We shall have to wait and see!

Jacinta’s latest novel is available from Fishpond: The Science of Appearances and good bookshops everywhere.

Thanks for participating Jacinta!

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  1. Following on from earlier discussions, perhaps you should ask the author how many early novels they wrote and discarded/got rejected. Miles Franklin for instance had her 2nd and 3rd novels rejected, the next two of indifferent quality were published and the two after that, from memory, rejected.


    • Hmm, it’s a tempting idea, but … maybe that would be something an author might want to keep private? Perhaps I could think of a way to reframe the question along the lines of ‘the most discouraging setback I experienced was…’ and then the author could offer that info if they wanted to?


      • You’re right. Politeness not one of my strong points!


        • Not at all, you’ve asked a question that many people would want answered. And speaking as a reader, it’s a question that I wish more writers would think about. When I’ve been approached to review a first book self-published at Amazon, on the rare occasions when I’ve succumbed to the pressure, I’ve too often found that the author is doing what Michael Heyward describes, writing to get something off the chest. But without a skilled editor the result is not writing to create a satisfying book. Of course there may be a genius who can write a great book without rewriting or editing, or doing the practice novels, but they must be rare…


  2. Enjoyed the interview Lisa – but oh dear, that desk is too scarily tidy. I’m impressed by anyone who can keep a desk like that. I never can (and never have)!


    • LOL You will never see a photo on my desk online for everyone to see either!

      Liked by 1 person

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