Favel Parrett is an writer based in Victoria, Australia. Her first novel, Past the Shallows, was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary award 2012 and also won the Dobbie Literary Prize and Newcomer of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards. Her second novel, When the Night Comes, was released in August.
Did you grow up in a bookish house? What was your early relationship with books?
My house was not bookish at all, but I was read to at night. Wind in the Willows was my first big love. I still have the version that was read to me.
When did you begin writing in a serious way, and what motivated that?
I did some writing when I was a teenager, but it wasn’t until I was around 30 that I decided to go back to school and try Professional Writing and Editing at TAFE. I never finished the diploma, but I somehow managed to finish a novel.
It’s such a long road to publication. I was lucky in a few key ways along the journey. Firstly I got into the Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development Program, which is run in conjunction with Hachette Australia. I wasn’t offered a book contract after that, but I was given a great deal of help with how to make my manuscript better. I then was given an Australian Society of Authors Mentorship. This put me in touch with editor Julia Styles, who helped make my manuscript ready to be sent to publishers. And after much work and luck, Hachette Australia eventually took Past the Shallows on.
It’s a big love story really. I am deeply in love with a ship that sailed for 26 years on the Southern Ocean. She was called Nella Dan. Most people in Hobart remember her. I became lost in memories after I found some photographs of her, and I began writing soon after. I never imagined it would become a novel, but somehow it did.
What are your writing habits?
When I’m with a book, I try to write most days. I try to use the morning energy as much as possible and sit with the writing from about 7 – till 230 ish. But then some days I’ll surf and read or do something else. Mostly though, it’s about putting in the consistent time. Boring but the reality.
What do you do when you feel creatively stuck?
Do some walking or exercise. Go and sit in the bush or a park or by the water.
What are you working on now?
Not much really. I’m reading and writing small bits and pieces. I feel a bit empty. Time to fill up creatively.
What’s your favourite book by an Australian female author?
I really love – The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen. What a book!
Reviews of Favel’s books
Annabel Smith is the author of interactive digital novel/app The Ark; Whisky Charlie Foxtrot; and A New Map of the Universe, which was shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Book Awards. She has had short fiction and commentary published in Westerly and Southerly, holds a PhD in Writing from Edith Cowan University and is on the editorial board of Margaret River Press.