Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 19, 2018

Meet an Aussie Author: Sarah Myles

As you’ll know if you read my recent review of The Wolf Hour, I have been a fan of Sarah Myles since I read her first novel Transplanted (Hodder Headline, 2002). It’s a stunning novel and I really do recommend that you try to get hold of a copy if you can.  It won’t be easy because my search of all the libraries in Victoria got nowhere, but if you are really quick, Brotherhood Books has a copy on the day I am writing this, and Abebooks has copies from The Grisly Wife in Beechworth, and Grant’s Bookshop in Sandringham.

Anyway, I was so pleased to find that after a gap of 16 years, there is another novel for me to enjoy, that I asked Sarah if she would participate in Meet an Aussie Author, and I was delighted when she agreed!

Sarah Myles began to write fiction after graduating in literature from Monash University, and studying at the University of Western Australia. She has trained and worked as a nurse; travelled through Europe, The Americas and Africa; and worked as a freelance reviewer, mentor and editor. These days she divides her time between writing and family, living in inner Melbourne and on the west coast of Victoria.

And the catalyst for those travels?  A map on a primary classroom wall… and you read more about that on Sarah’s website.

Here are Sarah’s answers to my questions:

1. I was born … in Gippsland and raised on a farm until the proposed freeway went through and we were encouraged to move.

2.When I was a child I wrote… lines, “I will not skip class or smoke in my school uniform” at least five hundred times or until the lunchtime detention was finished. Beautiful writing and ideas that questioned were things I admired in others, all the while being enraptured by the stories being told.

3.The people who encouraged/inspired/mentored me to write are… everyone I have ever read, with Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Janet Frame, Mary Shelley, Patrick White, Toni Morrison, taking an early role in showing me how the reward is in the work.

4. I write in… my study mostly, but I can pack up and become nomadic at very short notice.

5. I write…  usually in the mornings, frequently at the wolf hour*—that waking-sleep, questioning-time in the small hours before dawn.

6. Research is…. like a journey where I get lost in a dark forest or a luminescent cave only to find some treasure I had not anticipated.

7. I keep my published works in … my unruly bookshelves

8. On the day my first book was published, I… was grateful

9. At the moment, I’m writing… what might be two books, although I’m not sure which one will take precedence. The first is an older work partly abandoned and yet not because I cannot forget the characters, the other is a completely new story set in the middle of the ocean—my other great love.

10. When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I … go for a long walk, pull out some weeds or read. Conversations and wine are wonderful too.

And here’s a postscript that answers our questions about the title of the book:

I couldn’t help noting your online conversation and I thought I’d just quickly add here that there are no wolves in Australia either. Less a literal than an allegorical title, it refers to the time/“the hour” when we come face to face with ourselves.

In many sources people refer to ‘the hour of the wolf’ as the time between midnight and dawn—and specifically the time when out of the greyness all you can hear is the sound of your own heart, a glimpse caught at a small waking moment in mid-evolution when you discover something about yourself you did not expect or perhaps cannot accept.

In my novel, my characters face uncomfortable truths about themselves and each other, and I was deeply curious to see what they might do in a moment of crisis. Would they surprise themselves or would they be disappointed by their actions? And how then would they reconcile these feelings?

Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

You can buy The Wolf Hour from Fishpond: The Wolf Hour: A Novel of Africa, and good bookstores everywhere.


Responses

  1. Ah, and there is the answer to our question!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well that’s a very apt title! I’m glad we know now!

    Like

  3. I’ve managed to reserve an e-version of this book at my library – I’m looking forward to reading it

    Like

    • Let me know what you think of it:)

      Like


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