This month, if you live in Australia we are offering you the chance to win 12 BOOKS in our latest and greatest giveaway!!
In addition to copies of our latest novels we have each added to the pile one book that inspired our work. Alongside Shallow Breath, I’ve chosen The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony. While writing Shallow Breath I read many books on animal behaviours and human–animal bonds, but The Elephant Whisperer stood out amongst the others for a number of reasons. It is a fantastic story – all the better because it is true – of how Anthony rescued a traumatised herd of elephants and rehabilitated them on his private conservation reserve in South Africa. Anthony recounts the great lengths he went to in order to ensure the herd’s safety, and how he managed to form a unique bond with these elephants, after they had witnessed humans slaughter the rest of their herd. I wasn’t just moved by the story, I was also impressed by how Anthony managed to combine realism with idealism when discussing conservation. This delicate line is one my characters struggle with in Shallow Breath, and it is an issue I came across again and again when studying the environmental and animal rights movements. Anthony’s work helped me to develop my own fictional herd of elephants, and my character, Kate, who loves them – and it also proved great food for thought as I considered some of the broader themes of conservation and interspecies relationships found in Shallow Breath. As I finished writing the novel in March 2012, I discovered that Anthony had died suddenly when he was about to begin promoting his new book, The Last Rhinos. I am so thankful he found time to write these books amongst all his other dedicated work to saving the magnificent animals of Africa.
Unless we can allow not only elephants but all wild animals their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.
Enter the giveaway:
Annabel Smith on The Autograph Man: wry, conversational, irreverent and cavalier … exactly the tone I was hoping to convey in the novel I was writing …
Emma Chapman on The Yellow Wallpaper: It is a beautiful, short text, which says an astonishing amount.
Dawn Barker on We Need To Talk About Kevin: I saw by the huge success of We Need To Talk About Kevin that lots of people are willing to read things that make them feel emotional or uncomfortable.
Natasha Lester on The Year of Magical Thinking: Grief as an emotion can, if poorly handled, simply become too depressing for the reader, or it can become melodramatic, and thus not ring true. Didion’s book does neither of these things and perhaps that is why I turned to it when I began writing.
Amanda Curtin on Tirra Lirra by the River: And this is where I owe my debt to the late Jessica Anderson. I think it was Tirra Lirra by the River that taught me what I needed to know to create a distinctive voice for the first three parts of Elemental…