Posts Tagged ‘Kate Morton’

Here’s some last-minute recommendations from chez Bongers for gifts for the family this festive season.

Hubba Hubby recommends Melina Marchetta’s The Piper’s Son (also one of my picks for 2010). Despite him being a non-fiction kind of guy, I packed it into his bag when he went surfing in the Maldives and was delighted to get this email from Singapore Airport on his way home:

‘Absolutely loved MMs Piper’s Son. I never read those sort of books. Reminded me of Somerset Maugham The Razors Edge. I found the book really moving, warm, believable. The characters were wonderful. Best part of my holiday!’

Our eleven-year-old was whisked away by his namesake, Tall Jake, the sinister Master of Ceremonies, into the horrifying comic book world of Malice. After reading the first volume of Chris Wooding’s part-novel, part-comic duology, he has put the sequel Havoc on the top of his Christmas list this year. Recommended for 10-13 year old boys.

Series fiction is always a winner for keeping kids occupied over the long hot summer holidays, but mine have already consumed the mega-hit trilogies for 2010, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series.

We had to go back in time to find something ‘new’ for Miss Thirteen, who happily discovered Uglies, Scott Westerfield’s dystopian series where everyone is compulsorily operated on and made beautiful on their sixteenth birthday and radical politics is opting to keep your own face.  She is hoping to find Pretties in her Xmas stocking, and with two more in the series, Specials and Extras, she’ll have beach reading well into the New Year.

For the Nanas, it’s hard to go past Kate Morton’s latest romantic thriller  The Distant Hours and Malla Nunn’s stylish crime thriller set in South Africa, A Beautiful Place to Die.

Our eighteen year old has decided she wants to read Caroline Overington’s compulsive page-turner I came to say goodbye. An engaging read that draws the reader into the other Australia where family triumphs over the adversity of poverty, mental illness, abuse, and abandonment.

For those hard-to-buy-for twenty-something young men in your life, get a copy of Simon Groth and Sean Sennett’s Off the Record: 25 years of Music Street Press. This must-have Indie anthology features best-of band interviews over the past quarter century.

That’s my Xmas shopping done – so, what books are you ordering from Santa this Christmas?

Writers love the aha moment, the shriek of eureka, the epiphany-producing breakthrough, the gravity of the apocryphal apple falling on one’s head.

The exquisite flash of revelation and insight afforded by a creative leap, the illumination of a new connection that is so bright and shiny and real that it has the power to bridge a divide and pull your protagonist through.

It can bubble up like a what-about-a-water-bottle in the bath, shock you into wakefulness at three in the morning, spring fully formed into your mind on a run or while pushing a trolley down an aisle.

But it can not and does not come out of the blue. The flash of creative inspiration is not randomly bestowed by a capricious muse.

It is the result of the thousands of hours of deliberate practice that you devote to your calling. Not just the writing, but the related pursuits of reading, day-dreaming and thinking critically about your work.

Melina Marchetta says she listens to her characters, sometimes for months, before putting pen to paper. Markus Zusak says that it’s hard to believe that when he spends half the day staring into space, he’s actually working. Kate Morton calls it the ‘cauldron’ phase – when you are working, but not actually writing.

The headlong rush to publish makes some writers afraid to marinate their work and let the ingredients meld and simmer in the creative juices.

Don’t be afraid.

Prepare your mind. Research and read widely, visit a gallery, listen to music, stare at the stars, and trust the unconscious to do its job. Make those new connections. You might be surprised at what bubbles to the surface.

‘Chance favours the prepared mind’ Louis Pasteur