Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
Tasmanian born and bred, I am descended from both convicts and commandants. I was raised with one foot in Hobart Town and the other in the wilds of Runnymede, my farming district. Princes Street Primary school was my early childhood world where favourite games were playing ‘horses’ under the willows and chasing boys to punch them or kiss them or both. My high school was Fahan School – an all girls’ school where my love of literature and my loathing for brown stockings and chunky beige undies was fostered.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At twelve I wanted to be a vet or a writer, because I loved stories and animals. At eighteen I wanted to be a farmer and a writer because I loved stories and animals. At thirty I wanted to be a farmer, writer and a mother because I loved animals, loved writing and my biological clock was going ‘boing’!
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I used to believe that I did not deserve to have the best in life and that I was fat and ‘fugly’. Thank God I’ve my belief system has transcended to the best of places now!
Miles Franklin’s My Brilliant Career pushed me forward enormously to become a writer as did a school trip to listen to Les Murray speak and read poetry. The Australian movie scene also captured my desire to write about the world. The Man From Snowy River rushed my teenage brain away on adolescent fantasies and triggered a torrent of stories in my head.
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
I always had a dream to write a novel ‘oneday’. I had always written short stories successfully so I wanted to challenge myself ‘to see if I could’ write a novel. And I did!
6. Please tell us about your latest book… The Girl and the Ghost-Grey Mare
This is a very special book for me as it is a celebration of my love for writing. It’s also been a nice holiday away from my niche in rural novel writing. The Girl and the Ghost-Grey Mare is very personal as writing in short story form has been my private playtime away from my fiction work. The stories are very eclectic; some are funny, some romantic, and some black. All of them mean a lot to me.
(BBGuru: Publisher synopsis – Collected short stories from the bestselling author of The Cattleman’s Daughter
A diary farmer’s daughter searches for love in a city pub, a grieving widow heals her heart and her community, a cheated wife finds the ultimate revenge.
From Australia’s favourite rural storyteller comes this highly anticipated collection of short fiction. It features stories full of warmth and heart and humour, and with characters as diverse and colourful as the Australian countryside itself.
Laugh and smile your way through this collection, which includes the favourites ‘The Girl and the Ghost-Gare Mare‘ and ‘The Evolution of Sadie Smith‘, as well as some new stories never published in book form. So sit back and enjoy the special ‘Treasure’ take on the world.)
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
A sense that all my characters find their inner strength from a source within themselves, and that my readers can do the same. I also want people to expand their minds about our agricultural industry and where we are headed… I want everyone to support sustainable farming as it is our food source, our nation’s security and holds the key to answering the problem of carbon emissions. The health of rural Australia is supremely important to us all.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
I mostly admire women writers who are mothers as well. If you can raise a family, run a house, then write a book and run a writing business after supporting everyone else then you are a champion. My writer friends in Hobart who are superwomen and mums are Heather Rose, Katherine Lomer, Katherine Scholes and Danielle Wood. Utterly amazing women.
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
To live an extraordinary life and provide an extraordinary one for my children, too. I want to travel the world with my kids and my books and to enjoy extreme fun! I want to be the ‘rock chick of rural literature’ and shake conventions out of the tree! I want to build a Rachael Treasure empire of farming and writing so that I can give back to my rural industry and other writers in the form of support and education.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
To work on your writing everyday. Believe in yourself . Listen to your intuition and not the naysayers. Just get on with it, ‘Cowgirl up!’ and use plenty of ‘bum glue’ on your desk chair.
Rachael, thank you for playing.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.