Our Writer of the Week is June Davies. June’s serial, “The River Runs Deep”, begins in the June 26 issue.
You’ve written many serials for the “Friend”. Where is this one in terms of favourite ones?
“The River Runs Deep” is my present favourite. Being the most recent, I still feel very close to its characters and places. Also, the serial is about to appear in the “Friend”, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the story and the artwork you’ve chosen. That’s always such a special moment.
What motivated you to write “The River Runs Deep”?
Sometimes, I can pin down precisely what motivated a given story, however, with “The River Runs Deep”, it was more a gradual coming together of different bits and pieces . . . the Sinclairs and their homestead at Pipers Creek, the town itself, the riverboat Missouri Belle.
I remember mentioning, while we were working on “The Mystery Of Macgregor’s Cove”, some ideas for another serial – a Western. You liked the notion of our doing a Western . . . By and by, we packed our saddlebags and, with a few yee-haws and giddy-ups, hit the trail for Deep River.
To me, you are a great character writer. How challenging is it to bring characters to life on the page, and are there some who are easier to write than others?
I’ve never thought about this before, and am trying to unpick what happens when I begin a new story. Somehow, the characters are just there. In whatever place they belong. I watch them moving about, doing things, talking to other characters. But I never see their faces. I hear their voices.
It’s not as though I’ve created them; I’m more a witness. Scribbling down whatever they’re saying, thinking, doing and feeling. Generally, I find characters are pretty unpredictable. You never know what they’ll get up to next.
From our previous conversations, you often refer to coastal walks and nature. Do you base story locations on those places already familiar to you, even if it’s sights and sounds?
I’m sure my best “writing” is done while I’m out walking. Often during walks, when I’m not thinking about stories at all, ideas or threads or solutions to tricky bits drift into my thoughts. They’re usually good’uns, too.
Walking connects you with landscape and the natural world in a very special way; you’re drawn in and become a part of it all. While I rarely base story locations on actual places, those places certainly do inspire landscapes, sights and sounds in my stories.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what one book would you like to own? And no “build your own boat” books allowed!
Oh, I wouldn’t have chosen a boat-building book anyhow. If I was any good with boats, I probably wouldn’t have ended up stranded on a desert island. I am very happy eating plants, though. How about an encyclopaedia of native plants so I can avoid the poisonous ones?
There might be fields, woodland and fresh water lakes with fruit, vegetables, nuts, berries, mushrooms and salady things growing all over this island. I might find big leaves to write my stories on, with twigs for pens and berry-juice ink. I’ve always liked living near the sea, too, so reckon I’ll feel quite homey here on my island . . . (Ed note: you are fiction through and through.)
Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?
Ideally, a hardback ruled notebook, with my trusty marbly-green fountain pen and a big bottle of blue ink in my room overlooking the garden.
P.S., What’s your one top tip for an aspiring Writer Of The Week?
“Write from the heart” was the top tip you once gave me, Alan – it’s spot-on. Thank you.
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