Launceston visit

October 17th, 2010

I’m just back from a weekend in Launceston (Northern Tassie) where I spoke and signed books at Fullers Bookshop.

The window of Fullers Bookshop

Launceston is a city that has kept a lot of its old buildings, and Fullers fits right in. It has a small window and from the outside it looks like the sort of place that you find by accident and turns out to be run by gnomes. (I didn’t see any, but that doesn’t prove a thing.) One of the people who came to the signing was a friend I used to go to school with many many many years ago, which was rather nice.

The grounds at the Cataract Gorge

I was born in Launceston and lived there until I was fourteen, so it’s a place that crops up a lot in my dreams. Here’s one of my favourite places, the Cataract Gorge, which is almost in the middle of the city. There are peacocks and a suspension bridge, and, further up the gorge, a very old power station with big cogged wheels, that looks like something out of a steam punk novel.

I drove home this morning, down the Midlands Highway, which we used to drive down nearly every school holiday when I was a kid, on visits to my father’s family in Hobart.

Two old soldiers at the Spring Festival

My father was a born storyteller, and he kept us entertained pointing out real things (the Halfway House, the Disappearing House) and totally made up things (the house where the three little pigs lived). Today I went via Oatlands which was having its Spring Festival. The wind was bitterly cold, but the sun was shining, the sheepdogs were working and the mill wheels were turning.

Did I mention that Tasmania is an exceptionally beautiful place?

Back to work tomorrow. I just have to finish off the copy-edit for Book 2, City of Lies, then I can get back to the third book, Path of Beasts.

7 thoughts on “Launceston visit

  1. Nina says:

    Hi as you probably know my name is Nina and I am 11. I just finished reading your book a couple of weeks ago. I think it was awesome and I am now basing my school project on you. I was crestfallen when I read that you have been to launceston and I did not get my book signed. Could you please answer some questions for me? Ow and when will you be coming back to launceston? I am amazed that you had so many jobs. You are my role model and some day I want to be just like you.

    1. Lian says:

      Hi Nina, thanks for your very nice comments. I’m really glad you like the book, and am sorry I didn’t get to meet you when I was in Launceston. I’m not sure when I will be up there again – it won’t be until next year, because I’m going to India in a few weeks and that will more or less fill up the rest of 2010. And yes, I’d be happy to answer some questions for you.

  2. Nina says:

    Thanks. What did you have to no to wright The Museum of theives? What were you trying to tell your readers when you wrote Museum of theives? I hope you enjoy India I have never been there but my friend Grace has and she said it was awesome. I think that your kitten Miss Mouse is so cute I have 3 kitens liing at home they are all black and white but i used to have a tabby with white paws amed mittens but she is dead now. The ones at home are named Boo shmiggle nad Max.

    1. Lian says:

      Hi Nina, I like the names of your cats. Here are my answers to your questions.

      I had to know a number of things to write Museum of Thieves. Firstly I had to know certain writing skills, like how to create a strong story that will make people want to keep reading, and how to write interesting characters, and how to write dialogue. Secondly, I had to know certain information. Like what an old-fashioned army camp might have looked like, and what happens if you’re caught in a hurricane. And how to camouflage yourself. And how to pick someone’s pocket, and how to pick a lock. So I did quite a bit of research, but I also used things that I have learned in my long life and many jobs.

      I think the main thing I was trying to tell my readers was that wildness is important, and so is risk. Humans spend a lot of time trying to tame the world and make it safe. But the world would be a dreadfully flat and boring place if all the wildness and danger disappeared. As soon as you tuck your head in and try to control everything, like the people of Jewel are doing, you lose something important. The Museum of Dunt might contain danger, but it also contains a great sense of the flow and excitement of life, and it seems that you can’t have one without the other.

      As for risk, children need to learn their strengths, and the only way they can do that is to be allowed to do things for themselves, and take risks and make mistakes. If children are kept completely safe all the time, like the children of Jewel, they never learn how to face danger courageously, and how to measure that danger against their own strengths so that they know whether to stand or run away. They don’t learn to take care of themselves and make wise decisions. In other words, they never really grow up!

  3. Nina says:

    thankyou so much you really saved my project. I will let you know if I need any more questions answered.

  4. Nina says:

    When were you born?

    1. Lian says:

      I was born in 1951.

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