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!
WHEN 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.
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.