Jane Rawson’s first novel, ‘A Wrong turn at the Office of Unmade Lists’ was published in June by Transit Lounge and has received rave reviews since its release. Steven Amsterdam described the novel as ‘a free-range and funny apocalyptic time-space road trip’. Dave Graney said it was ‘film-like, dream-like, life-like. Funny, and charming.’
With these glowing reviews who wouldn’t want to sit down and get to know the mastermind behind this novel. Colour Box Studio spoke to the delightful Jane Rawson about her novel and what we can expect from her book reading and signing taking place on the 6th of August as part of the Colour Box Studio event ‘PRESENT PRESENT PRESENT’.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m a word worker and pretty much always have been – writing and editing have been the core of most of my paid work. These days I’m the environment and energy editor at The Conversation (http://theconversation.edu.au). When I’m not working I read obsessively – almost always fiction – knit, play clarinet, drink a bit too much and hang out with my husband and cats.
Describe your writing style.
High-speed. I write in frenzied bursts, without a lot of thought. I try to just disappear into a story and not be too analytical about it. I lack craft. The result is usually odd, imaginative and otherworldly, but I hope with characters who are empathetic.
How did you come to it?
Just by writing, really. And reading. And realizing I’m low on discipline and can’t write in a calm and sustained fashion.
Tell us about your past projects and what has been your most treasured piece of work?
Hm. I’ve been writing pretty solidly (not for work) since 1996, so there have been a few! What I most enjoy is flicking through old files on my computer (I tend to transfer everything each time I get a new computer) and finding old, forgotten, lightly fictionalized versions of things that actually happened to me. Great memory-bumpers, but also excellent fodder for new stories.
Where did you grow up and has it influenced your style?
Canberra, and maybe. There’s not much to do in Canberra, and for me at least a lot of time was spent coming up with creative projects with my friends. I was encouraged to imagine, and to create my own worlds. Of course, there’s also a fair bit of pot in Canberra.
What is your current project?
I’m writing a historical novel set in Port Adelaide in the late 19th century.
Who or what was your inspiration?
My great-great-grandfather, who was stuck on a wrecked ship just off the coast of South Australia for eight days in 1859.
Where do you feel most creative?
It happens at the oddest times. Usually when I don’t have a pen on me. Often during a toilet break at the pub. I try not to wait for it though, and to write regardless of how I feel. Of course, the more I write, the more ideas I have.
What will you be working on next?
I’ve got an idea for a short story and another novel idea; I have to find some time to get started on them, once the shipwreck story is done.
What can visitors to expect to see from you at ‘Present Present Present’ on the 6th of August?
Blushing and nervous giggling. Also, I will answer some questions about what Footscray will look like in the future, and read a little something about how much worse Melbourne Central will be in 2030 than it is now.
Where can we see more of your work?
Jane Rawson’s novel ‘A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists’ is available at the Colour Box Studio Pop Up Book Shop until 31 August. Jane will be doing a book reading and signing on 6 August from 6pm at Colour Box Studio as part of the “PRESENT PRESENT PRESENT” event.