Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 6, 2020

Meet an Aussie Author: Rosalie Ham


Photo credit: Mercedeh Makoul

After months of lockdown, today I ventured into a real bricks-and-mortar bookshop.  With a wonderful home delivery service, Benn’s Books in Bentleigh have kept me well supplied with books to read but, as we booklovers all know, there is nothing — nothing! — like actually being in a bookshop.  (I was amused that though I have been a good customer for years and years, they took a moment to recognise me with my mask on!)

I was there on a mission to collect my copy of Sienna Brown’s Master of My Fate (which has been shortlisted for the ARA Historical Fiction prize) and to choose a couple of Christmas books for small neighbours, but of course I browsed the New Fiction shelf, just in case there was anything I’d missed in the catalogues and newsletters that come my way.  And I wouldn’t have been the only one pleased to see Rosalie Ham’s just-released sequel to her best-selling The Dressmaker there on the shelf!

I am pleased to bring you this profile of Rosalie Ham in my Meet an Aussie Author series, and my thanks go to Clare Keighery, publicity manager at Macmillan, for her assistance in contacting Rosalie.

Rosalie Ham is a Melbourne writer and teacher. I’ve read everything she’s written, starting with her debut novel, The Dressmaker, (2000) which was adapted to film in 2015 and starred Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving and Liam Hemsworth, then Summer at Mt Hope (2005), and two more, reviewed here on the blog, There Should Be More Dancing (2011) and The Year of the Farmer (2018).  (You might remember that I posted about to a Booroondara Library author event about that one…)


These are Rosalie’s answer’s to my questions:

  1. I was born….in Jerilderie, population 800, hence, my interest in what everyone else is doing, my ability to form an opinion about it and keep it to myself…or not.
  2. When I was a child…there was no TV, so my imagination is mine, it’s not formed by someone else’s interpretation.
  3. The person who encouraged / inspired / mentored me … …was actually many people who said things that I clung to. In the end, it was me who sat down and started writing.
  4. I write … firstly, in isolation. I take off to a motel, or similar, and get the synopsis down. Then I do the best I can.
  5. I write …whenever I’m alone and my imagination is floodlit and pulsing.
  6. Research is… essential, absorbing, enlightening, enriching…and most of it of no real use. But it’s huge fun.
  7. I keep my published works in … my office, on a (small) shelf. It’s rare anyone’s invited into my office.
  8. On the day my first book was published, I … drove 150ks to the nearest book shop and bought a copy. They told me I’d sold three copies. I’d never felt more elated.
  9. At the moment, I’m writing…nothing. I’ve given myself a month off so I’m cleaning out the shed and researching new lawn mowers.
  10. When I‘m stuck for an idea / word / phrase, I … read writers I’m jealous of. That usually does the trick.

I wonder which writers they are?

Thanks for participating Rosalie!

You can buy The Dressmaker’s Secret from Pan Macmillan or good bookstores everywhere.



  1. I loved the Dressmaker. I see our library borrow box has 3 audible books of hers and all of her books digitally. I have put her on my list. I love listening to audible books at night before I sleep. A fun interview.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I loved it too, and also enjoyed the film, a rare example of being as good as the book, IMO. Part of it is nostalgia, I think, I grew up in the 50s and my mother was stunning in those beautiful dresses. By the time I was old enough to frock up myself, dresses had gone short and shapeless.


      • I grew up in 50s too. My mother had those dresses too. I love the clothes of the 40s and 50s. 🤠🌷🐧

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy Rosalie’s novels. I’ve been really looking forward to this return to The Dressmaker!


    • Such interesting characters!


  3. Thank you, I enjoyed reading :)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read The Dressmaker, a very long time ago. Perhaps when I finally make to Gen 5 (?) I will have another look. Doesn’t it make you mad that after 100 years of movies we still have to have foreign actors as leads.


    • Oh, I don’t think so. I think it’s great that our actors can go overseas to make (and direct) films and make a splash anywhere in the world, and this film with four lead Australian actors with an international profile shows that we don’t need a sheltered workshop approach to casting.


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