Today’s spotlight post features author Anthea Hodgson. Anthea discusses her debut novel The Drifter, which is available now from all good book retailers. Welcome to Talking Books Blog Anthea!
What was the most difficult aspect to write in The Drifter?
The manuscript was written in five weeks. Even though it’s about death – it flew out of me in a burst of joy. I grew up in the country, and I love the landscape of the bush and the community there, and I have a deep respect and affection for the wonderful relationship between the girls – the generation of women who are still friends to my mother, and the generation of farming men who treated my father with such kindness and respect as he succumbed to alzheimers. I found writing about the country a pleasure, like going home. The only difficult aspect of The Drifter is how intensely personal it feels to me now. It holds within it my memories, my friends, my family, beloved pets and my farm, and now it is going out into the world without me!
Which character was the most challenging to write?
All of the characters in The Drifter came easily to me because I know them. (well, apart from Henry – he started out as Jason Statham and ended up as Chris Hemsworth) For the most part they were inspired by the farming people I grew up with, the committee women who run rural towns, my loyal and lovely friends from school, and the free spirits I was never brave enough to be. The most difficult character to write was my father, who is throughout the book, and not in it at all, because I couldn’t write about him well enough to capture him, as the gentle, intelligent, hardworking man he was. There was too much to say about Dad to give him a walk on role, so I just dedicated the whole book to him – and he deserves it. The message of The Drifter is that you never really lose the people you love – because you can take them with you – and I take my Dad with me, every day.
What are your stand out reads and why?
I have always been an avid reader; I still treasure my copy of Enid Blyton’s Folk of The Faraway Tree, given to me as a very young girl by our shearers cook.
I remained an enthusiastic reader at school in Perth during the many weekends in the boarding house reading everything in the library including the classics such as Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre; all the best friends of a bookish girl.
Within Australian writing I have so many I love, but I have to say Barbara Hannay, Fiona McIntosh, Natasha Lester, Fiona Palmer and Rachael Johns are all favourite reads for me!
What inspired you to become an author?
My love of books and stories, my fascination with people – and the wall to wall glamour.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m writing another novel set in the town of Windstorm, focusing on one of my favourite characters from The Drifter, Deirdre, and her duty bound granddaughter, Teddy. At the moment it’s called The Cowgirl, but that’s likely to change. I wanted to write a bookend to The Drifter; so, where I brought the drifter home, I want to set the Cowgirl free.
About The Drifter by Anthea Hodgeson
Cate Christie is a party girl, unable to commit to anything, until she is involved in a tragic accident that changes everything. To escape her guilt and her parents’ bitter disapproval, Cate leaves Perth for her aunt Ida’s isolated farm in country Western Australia.
Henry is a drifter, a young swagman-like character who wanders onto the Christie family property and takes up residence in a disused shed. With secrets of his own, the last thing he wants is to get tangled up in Cate and Ida’s lives.
Against their own better judgement, the fates of Cate and Henry and Ida inexorably intertwine and they learn to face the realities of life, death and letting go.
A witty, charming and moving debut rural romance about what makes a good death and, more importantly, what makes a good life.
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About Author Anthea Hodgson
Anthea Hodgson is a country girl from the WA wheatbelt. She worked as a radio producer in WA, NSW and Queensland before returning to WA, where she lives with her husband and two children.
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