It’s an honour and a pleasure to welcome Favel Parrett to my blog this month. I’m sure that every single person who read Favel’s debut novel Past the Shallows has been eagerly awaiting her next publication.  Past the Shallows (shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, and winner of numerous other accolades) was set in a remote part of Tasmania, and for When the Night Comes Favel went a few degrees further, to Antarctica, to immerse herself in a book which is fast acquiring as many accolades as its predecessor. Congratulations, Favel, and welcome!


Favel Parrett 1WHEN THE NIGHT COMES is your latest novel – what inspired you to write it?

It sounds strange – but I was inspired by a Danish ship called Nella Dan. I loved her as a kid and I love her even more now. I wanted to bring her back, bring her home. I wanted people to remember her.

 You won the Antarctic Arts Fellowship and travelled to Antarctica during your research for WHEN THE NIGHT COMES. What has stayed with you most from that experience?

Getting to be a sailor – an old dream come true. I love being at sea. I sleep so well and wake excited every day. I love everything about sailing the southern ocean. I would do it for the rest of my life, if I could.

Sometimes novels evolve as they are written. Now that WHEN THE NIGHT COMES is finished, how does it compare to the book you envisioned when you began working on it?

I never have a plot – a story arc – a strategic plan. I just write scenes from character as they come. It’s a jumble, a puzzle, a mystery for me to solve.

Tasmania features in both your books – do you have a special connection to the place, and why do you think it sparks your imagination?

I never meant to write about Tasmania. It just keeps coming up – for better or worse, part of me is stuck there. I am fascinated, scared, and both love and hate the place. It’s where I grew up – an island that I was desperate to leave, but desperate to stay at the same time.

When the Night ComesCan you tell us one of the things you love about being a writer?

Sometimes I hate everything about being a writer. Sometimes I love it absolutely. I like when I work something out that I didn’t know about my book or my characters. I get satisfaction from problem solving.

When you hit a roadblock in your writing, how do you get going again?

I think, as writers, we just have to keep turning up. We just have to keep reading, keep thinking, keep trying. We have to give our work space and time and 100%.

What else are you feeling passionate about at the moment?

So many things… dogs, live music, ships, sea birds, surfing, growing veges in my back garden, sharks…

I love book recommendations. Tell me about one book you’ve loved in the last year?

Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke.  Just so so so so so good!

Finally, where can people go to find out more about you and your books?

Thank you again, Favel, and wishing When the Night Comes a safe and steady passage into the world.

If you would like to win a copy of When the Night Comes, all you have to do is make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter, and leave a comment below telling us which place or places in the world you think make(s) a brilliant setting for a novel. This competition closes 25 September 2014 at 11.59 pm, and the winner will be notified the following day.


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Annabel Smith
September 1, 2014 9:32 pm

I try to plan my novel’s settings around places I’d like to visit, in the hope that I might be able to write off a holiday as research, hence, setting my next novel in chile – although the trip hasn’t materialised as yet! I love books set in places I am never likely to visit as it allows me to experience a place I otherwise never would – and Antarctica is perhaps the best example of this. I’ve heard so many people recommend Foreign Soil but I haven’t got round to reading it yet. Thanks for the interview, Favel and… Read more »

September 2, 2014 2:27 am

After recently reading and enjoying Luna Tango and because of the musical Evita I would love to read something set in Argentina. Putting When the Night Comes on my TBR. Nice interview :-)

Lisa Collyer
Lisa Collyer
September 2, 2014 7:48 am

sounds intriguing the way you write without a plot. I like the idea that the story is taking you on a journey as much as you are taking the readers on one. I’ve just returned from Cambodia recently and would love to read a fiction set there.

Brenda Telford
Brenda Telford
September 2, 2014 12:13 pm

Uluru in the NT would be a great place for a plot! Creepy, eerie but beautiful!

Louise Allan
September 2, 2014 1:13 pm

Beautiful interview, Sara and Favel. I hail from Tassie, too, and I completely understand the love-hate relationship with it. It can be as kind as it is green, but also as cruel as it is rugged. I’m about half-way through ‘When the Night Comes’ and loving it—about to head back to it now! I’m looking forward to meeting Favel at the Bookcaffé later this month.

Kris Williams
Kris Williams
September 2, 2014 5:02 pm

I would like to see a new novel set in the Galapagos Islands.

September 3, 2014 12:18 pm

a rainforest

Cheryl Moulton
Cheryl Moulton
September 3, 2014 12:59 pm

Great interview and review, I love that Favel Parret says that she was from Tasmania and that it was somewhere that she couldn’t wait to leave and yet didn’t really want to. I have been in the same position (leaving my home state with mixed feelings) I think that I would love to set a story line in Samoa or perhaps Tahiti, not as a native obviously but perhaps as an expat who has moved there for a ‘sea’ change or as a result of work or family. I am always interested in learning about each countries customs and cultures,… Read more »

Maria P
Maria P
September 8, 2014 8:48 am

In a small medieval village somewhere in Sicily. Most of the villages are mysterious and steeped in culture and history. I love Sicily!

September 9, 2014 5:57 pm

hi Sara

Great interview.
I would love to read a story that started in Watamu (a village north of Mombasa, Kenya) and somehow travel through Africa and end in Venice! Maybe a prehistoric story!

Jodie D
Jodie D
September 22, 2014 10:37 pm

I love stories set in Italy. So such variance from a busy city to magnificent country sides. Each promising different experiences and opportunities…..

Josephine LIttle
September 25, 2014 8:48 am

I had the great fortunate of seeing Favel at the Literary lounge in Mt Lawley last night. I have to say I was charmed by her! So many great stories about her research for this book. For a setting … I can’t go past the image of a rainforest behind my childhood home in a little place called Corrimal (suburb of Wollongong) … I don’t recall the name of the rainforest, I will have to research it I think! My mother would take us for these long walks though the tree ferns and staghorns. It was where I really learned… Read more »