Writers On Reading: Jennifer Scoullar On The Books that Inspire Her

Today I welcome Rural Fiction author Jennifer Scoullar to the blog.

Jen Scoullar

 

 

Jennifer is a fellow horse lover, a subject she has written about in Brumby’s Run.

Jenny is also a keen environmentalist and her latest book Billabong Bend tackles the issue of conservation.

BB High Res cover

For riverine farmer Nina Moore, the rare marshland flanking the beautiful Bunyip River is the most precious place on Earth. Her dream is to buy Billabong Bend and protect it forever, but she’s not the only one with designs on the land. When her childhood sweetheart Ric Bonelli returns home, old feelings are rekindled and Nina dares to hope of a future for them both on the river. But a tragic death divides loyalties, tears apart their fledgling romance and turns her dream into a nightmare. Will Nina win the battle for Billabong Bend? Or will the man she once loved destroy the wild wetlands she holds so close to her heart?

Billabong Bend is a star-crossed love story which sets Nina, a floodplains grazier, and Ric, a traditional cotton farmer, on a heart-rending collision course amid the beauty of New South Wales’ northern riverlands.

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Thanks to Jennifer for visiting Flying Pony and good luck with Billabong Bend.

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1. Which books do you most vividly remember from your childhood?

I loved Enid Blyton when I was very little, but after that it was horse books all the way. The Follyfoot Farm series by English writer Monica Dickens for example, and the Green Grass Of Wyoming Series by American writer Mary O’Hara. But my all-time favourite was the home-grown Silver Brumby series by Elyne Mitchell. With her evocative descriptions of wildlife and landscapes, she is still a favourite today. I also loved Jack London and the science fiction books of Isaac Asimov and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

2. Who are your three most favourite fictional book characters? Tell us what you love about each of them.

Interestingly, they’re all from children’s books:

Thowra from the Silver Brumby series – A beautiful, almost magical brumby stallion who has the intelligence and courage to protect his herd and make fools of the humans trying to capture him. My horse hero!

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter –  starts as a bit of a know-it-all, but blossoms into a sharp-witted beauty, and is the glue that holds the brave band of friends together. I love her steadfast loyalty and sheer intelligence. My nerd-girl hero!

Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web. She teaches that strength, compassion, bravery, love, and courage are the basis of true strength. My spider hero!

 

3. Who is your favourite literary villain? Why?

Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. Because he was my first ‘bad boy’ crush.

 

4.  If you could invite any five writers to a cosy dinner party who would you ask and why?

Charles Dickens would be my first choice, hands down.  What a master story-teller! Nobody draws characters better or with more humanity. I love his warmth of feeling, his sentimentality and his ability to draw the reader in emotionally. I love the way he sets a scene, painting a vibrant picture by  evoking the sights, sounds and smells of old London. But most of all I love the courage he showed by engaging with social issues, attacking an exposing injustice wherever he saw it. He has inspired me to tackle issues,particularly environmental ones,  in my own writing.

Elyne Mitchell, so I could ask her to tell me stories of the high-country.

Miles Franklin, so I could thank her for the trailblazing lead she took when it came to recognition for Australian women writers.

George Orwell, because he’s one of the greatest modern minds.

Rachel Carson. Because she is mother and founder of the contemporary  environmental movement, an advocate of nature and environmental ethics, a wonderful writer  and a true inspiration!

 

5. What book has made you laugh out loud?

One For The Money by Janet Ivanovich

 

6. What book, or scene from a book, has made you cry?

The death scene of the red cow in the final chapter of Frank Dalby Davison’s Manshy

 

7. Where and when do you do most of your reading?

 Anywhere and everywhere. Bed would have to be my favourite place.

 

8. Is there a genre of book you’d never read? Why?

 Horror, because I’m squeamish and don’t like violence or cruelty.

 

9. Can you give us a mini-review of a book you’ve recently read and enjoyed?

The Swan Book by Alexis Wright

This is a dystopian novel set in a future where Aboriginals still live under the intervention.  It follows the life of a mute young woman named Oblivia, who lives in a displaced swamp community filled with rusting boats and thousands of black swans. It follows her life through to her marriage to the first Aboriginal  president of Australia.

The environment has been terribly altered by climate change. From the animal plagues, unpredictable weather, decaying cities and climate refugees, nothing in the Australian setting seems familiar anymore. It is a disturbing, sometimes difficult but always poetic and deeply memorable novel. A love story between Oblivia, the swans and the land.

 

10. What are the top three books in your TBR pile?

 All the books I’m planning to read next relate somehow to the new novel I’m writing. They are Killers Of Eden by Tom Mead, The Dolphins Of Pern by Anne McCaffrey and Shark by David Owen.

 

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Connect with Jennifer:

Twitter       @JenScoullar

Facebook  Jennifer Scoullar – Author

Google+    Jennifer Scoullar

 

3 Comments

  1. Nice blog post, Jennifer. I, too, cut my reading teeth on Enid Blyton & Jack London, and I adore Janet Evanovitch. Billabong Pond sounds wonderful. I was going to buy it, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on amazon.com.

    Reply
  2. Hi Jennifer and Pamela,

    Your childhood reading list sounds almost identical to mine, Jennifer! I loved all of the books you mentioned, except for the science fictions titles. I’m looking forward to reading Billabong Bend.

    Reply
  3. Maureen, I don’t think my book are available in Canada (is that where you are?) Booktopia sells print versions but the postage is probably expensive. And Heather, isn’t that funny! And now we’re both writing our own versions of our childhood favourites … :)

    Reply

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  1. Meet My Main Character Blog Tour | Flying Pony - […] « Writers On Reading: Jennifer Scoullar On The Books that Inspire Her […]
  2. Meet My Main Character Blog Tour | Pamela Cook - […] the last couple of months I’ve been featuring Australian Rural Fiction writers in the Writers On Reading Series but this week …

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