I’ve had a great response to last week’s post about Rural Fiction writing in Australia – thanks to all those who dropped by, commented and shared. Kicking off my series on Rural Fiction Writers On Reading this week is my stable mate at Hachette, Charlotte Nash.
Charlotte had huge success last year with her debut novel Ryder’s Ridge and has followed up with what I’m sure will be another winner, Iron Junction released yesterday
Overwhelmed by her family’s expectations, Dr Beth Harding leaves Sydney behind and takes a locum job in the mining town of Iron Junction. With tensions in the mine running high, and feeling like an outsider, Beth is soon convinced the move was a huge mistake. That is, until she meets Will, who could make the difference between her leaving or staying.
For Will Walker, working on his father’s cattle farm was never the life he wanted. Instead, he s traded a broad-brim for a hard hat and headed out to the mines. Iron Junction seems like just another gig in the long road that s taking him further from home. But in the independent, fly-in, fly-out life, he hadn’t counted on meeting Beth on an isolated Pilbara road.
Finding each other forces Will to face his past, just as Beth confronts her future. With so much at stake, will they be brave enough to love each other despite everything that stands in their way?
1. Which books do you most vividly remember from your childhood?
Black Beauty, which my father read to me. Patricia Leitch’s Jinny series and Elyne Mitchell’s Silver Brumby series. I was a little horse mad, as you can see. I also remember John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat, although I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not! I didn’t understand the sentiment until I was older, but I understood my mother loved it, which made me want to understand it.
2. Who are your three most favourite fictional book characters? Tell us what you love about each of them.
Gah … only three…
All right, in no particularly order … number one would be Rupert Campbell-Black from Jilly Cooper’s Rutshire Chronicles. A classic cad, but the long arc of his character is fascinating, as is the ability to love him and loathe him simultaneously. He entered my reading early in my teenage years, and the impression has never left.
Another early memory is Jinny (from the above-mentioned Patricia Leitch series) – a favourite character from my childhood reading. She had such adventures and her horse had a thread of Celtic magic that brought delicious fantasy into the edges of the story. Her family moved to the mysterious Scottish moors (which seemed magical rather than bleak), and I think I fancied I’d like such a move, and I imagined that my own horse and I had the same adventures Jinny did. She also had to rely on herself much of the time, which made a deep imprint on me – she had courage and stood up for what she loved, even when she was different to the other children around her.
Finally, I’d pick Y.T. from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, who has stuck with me as a no-nonsense, independent female character whose arc was unusual and not what I expected. In citing these three, I acknowledge the multitude of omissions.
3. Who is your favourite literary villain? Why?
I’m going to stray into graphic novel territory and say Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) from Watchmen. The complexity of his character and motives is clever and intriguing. The boundary between villain and anti-hero at play, as I would argue is true of Rorschach from the same story.
4. If you could invite any five writers to a cosy dinner party who would you ask and why?
- Neal Stephenson, because I think his fiction is amazing.
- Kim Stanley Robinson, because I find him such an interesting person, and such a keen observer of the real way of things in his fiction.
- Jilly Cooper, because I grew up with her stories and I think she’d be wickedly funny in person.
- John Ajvide Lindqvist, because I saw him at BWF in 2007(?) and he was both funny and fascinating.
- Michael Crichton, because I can’t forget a writer whose work I followed for such a long time. Sadly, he’s no longer with us, but his stories and ideas will always be with me.
5. What book has made you laugh out loud?
My writer friend Rebekah Turner’s Chaos series (Chaos Born, Chaos Bound) always makes me laugh out loud. They’re contemporary fantasies with a sassy anti-heroine who’s always in scrapes, and with bawdy and wicked sense of humour. The situations and one-liners tickle my funny bone.
6. What book, or scene from a book, has made you cry?
Most recently, ‘The Lark and the River’ from Kim Wilkins’ The Year of Ancient Ghosts. It’s actually pretty hard to get me to cry, and that story hits the bittersweet spot perfectly.
7. Where and when do you do most of your reading?
My reading for pleasure these days is either before bed at night, or in long blocks on weekends or holidays. However, if I’m onto a really good book, I have been known to sneak time whenever I can to just read a few more pages.
8. Is there a genre of book you’d never read? Why?
The question might be moot … I’ve already read just about every genre I can think of, and I don’t judge books on the basis of their genre label. I’m more the kind of person who will avoid certain themes in fiction – for instance, I don’t usually want to read depressing real-world stories of abuse and neglect (enough of that in real life; I read to be uplifted), and I’m over medieval high fantasy for the moment. Having said that, a recommendation is often enough to start me on something I might have otherwise avoided.
9. Can you give us a mini-review of a book you’ve recently read and enjoyed?
I read Salvage by Jason Nahrung when I was on a retreat late last year, trying to finish my next manuscript. It’s superb at capturing emotional conflict between people, and has that intriguing juxtaposition of gothic vibe in an Australian setting. It’s also a quick read, great for when you keep reading it in favour of other things you should be doing!
10. What are the top three books in your TBR pile?
I hesitate to add here that the TBR pile is quite fluid, but here’s the top three things in it. I just finished a book, so one of them is going to be picked up next.
Three by Ted Dekker
Ilium by Dan Simmons
Wool by Hugh Howey
Thanks to Charlotte for visiting Flying Pony.
You can connect with Charlotte here:
And happy reading!