This week’s Inheritance Books are from Aussie novelist and fellow ChocLiteer, Janet Gover. She writes contemporary romance and hosts a mean kitchen party.
Hi Janet, welcome to Inheritance Books. I’ve got some Caramello Koalas, just for you. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi – it’s really nice here on Inheritance Books. I feel right at home surrounded by lots of battered and much loved old books. I’m a wandering Aussie. I grew up in a small bush town in Queensland. There were only 15 buildings in the town (and a couple of those were sheds) – so I spent a lot of time riding my horses and reading books. My Dad was a voracious reader and he pointed me at a wide range of books – everything from Sci Fi to spy thrillers and classics and comedies. My Mum loved romance – so she sent me in that direction. I still read a wide range of books, but I write romance and women’s fiction because I love stories with heart. Stories about real people and the way they overcome the problems life throws at us all. I was a journalist for a long time – then started writing fiction. At first I wrote short stories and then turned to novels. My latest novel is Flight To Coorah Creek, which like a lot of my work, is set in the Australian outback. It’s the first of a series of books set in the small town of Coorah creek. The town reminds me a lot of the place where I grew up – a little remote and sometimes a little lonely but full of the most interesting and sometimes weird characters… not to mention strong, bronzed Aussie outback men.
Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
My parents introduced me to so many wonderful books…. Am I cheating if I pick an author rather than a single book? My most treasured possessions include some gorgeous if somewhat battered books by Rudyard Kipling. There’s the Just So Stories, The Jungle Book – and a wonderful collection of beautifully illustrated animal stores. They may be children’s stories, but they still capture me every time I open the books. Some are scary are some are adventures. Some are morality tales and some deal with difficult subjects like cruelty. But all are wonderfully imaginative and I always felt he was talking directly to me… Hear and attend and listen; for this befell and behappened and became and was, Oh My Best Beloved, when the tame animals were wild… I think these were the stories that set me on the path to becoming a writer. My old cloth bound copies have the most wonderful illustrations as well – but as I am hopeless at drawing, all I can do is admire those.
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
Now this is a hard question – there are so many great books. I think I’d have to go for a children’s book again, but one that an adult will appreciate, because I think it’s important that we never lose the sense of adventure and the curiosity and the sense of wonder that we have as children. I think sometimes we need reminding of that. So I sentence future generations to regular readings of Neil Gaiman’s children’s books – but in particular The Graveyard Book. It’s about a boy called Nobody who goes to live in a graveyard after his parents are murdered. That sounds depressing – but it’s not. It’s wonderful – on so many levels. Strangely enough, just a few minutes ago I discovered that Gaiman says that he was trying to write something like The Jungle Book, set in a graveyard. I did not know that when I read the book, or started writing this, but that explains a lot about why I love it so much. It took Gaiman twenty years to write The Graveyard Book because he wanted to get it “right”. He did. He got it so very right. The huge pile of awards the book has won is testament to that – as is the wonder that I feel every time I open it to meet Bod… a boy raised by ghosts.
I haven’t read Jungle Book in years. I enjoyed it, but it was difficult to reconcile it with the dancing animals of the Disney version (which I adored as a child). The Graveyard Book, on the other hand, I loved. I can’t wait until my kids are old enough for me to read it to them. In the meantime, they have to put up with Blueberry Girl instead.
Thank you so much for dropping by, Janet. All the best to your latest book.