20 February, 2012

Blog post at David Fickling Books

Over at the DFB Story blog, I talk about how Sea Hearts/Brides began. This post is illustrated with some wonderful collages by Sydney artist Deborah Kelly—even if you don't read my words, you'll want to nip down to the end of the post and click through to her gallery to see the larger versions.

17 February, 2012

Everyone came to the Sydney Sea Hearts launch!

Neighbours, friends, workmates, fellow writers, sons and tweeps showed up for the Sydney launch of Sea Hearts at Kinokuniya last night. They're shown at left, listening intently to my reading.

Melina Marchetta did the honours, flattering me mightily and then drawing me out on all matters selkie-related, with a bit of process-porn thrown in. Then we broke a bottle of champagne against the bow of the good ship Sea Hearts and drank to her long and glorious voyaging.

It was a grand night. Big thanks to the Alien Onions for the flowers, and to Allen & Unwin, and Allyx and her Kino crew, for all the organisation, including the equipment for the continuous selkie-scrapbook slideshow.

Great reviews for Sea Hearts/Brides!

They've been pouring in, these reviews! Perhaps my favourite is
  • this one, which looks at the novel's feminism:
    It goes without saying that I want to see defiant, empowered, happy and successful women represented in fiction. But making it all about individuals overcoming society’s sexism can draw attention away from the fact that the system needs to change. This is why I also want scarred Misskaellas and passive sea-wives in my feminist fiction...
  • Over at Furious Vaginas, Krissy Kneen calls it "an assured novel told by a writer at the top of her game". :)
  • Tracy at a blogload of books says,
    The prose is mesmerising and seductive, the plot is gripping, the setting claustrophobic. I cried through much of this novel. ...If I had had this novel when I was thirteen or fourteen, it would be one of those which would have defined and shaped my reading life. With plenty to say about gender, about what it means to be a woman, I hope Sea Hearts finds itself in the hands of many young women.
  • I am a Hot Read over at Sugarscape!
  • Then there's

14 February, 2012

Because it's a day for hearts of all kinds...

@ErnurA put this lovely photo up on Twitter: "My Valentine's Day gift to me—coffee, chocolate and a captivating novel to read."

12 February, 2012

Sydneysiders: Launch ahoy!

Melina Marchetta will launch Sea Hearts at Kinokuniya this Thursday at 6.30 p.m.! Right about here:

I hope you can come. If you can, and will, please let Kinokuniya know, so that we can get a rough idea of the numbers to expect. Call them (9262-7996) or tell them in person at their Information Counter (shown here with (a) happy customer and (b) strategically placed poster and stacks of signed Lanagan books).

11 February, 2012

Selkies scrapbooks

Here's the first of three scrapbooks (link is to the Flickr set) I made when I was writing Sea Hearts/The Brides of Rollrock Island.

Here's the second scrapbook.

And here's the third.

And here's all three of them in the one set.

Updated: Wendy Orr mentions the scrapbooks, and talks about visual aides-memoires, over at her blog.
But the best images of all are the ones that capture the mood you're looking for for this story, that lead you into the emotions that your characters are feeling. It can be the colours of a sunset, the expression on a face, the flip of a pony tail... there are no rules. You'll know when you find the images of the clues that'll help you dive deeper and focus more sharply in the world you've created.

10 February, 2012

Booktopia's Ten Terrifying Questions

Yes, some of these questions were terrifying. Or at least uncomfortable-making. But I put on a brave show.

08 February, 2012

NZ Listener review of Sea Hearts. Noice.

From Ann Packer:
What an extraordinary achievement is Margo Lanagan's Sea Hearts. The acclaimed Australian writer's second [read: seventeenth published :D] novel brings to utterly convincing life the selkie, that part-seal creature of Celtic myth, in a haunting realisation of an island community with a devastating secret at its heart. Her prose is achingly beautiful, bring to life the dumpy sea-witch Misskaella—whose ability to draw "mere-maids" out of seals keeps a whole generation in thrall—and evoking other voices, whether red-headed or bearing the dark locks of their selkie mothers, to contribute to the exquisitely constructed tale.

Blogging (and babbling) about town

A new book means a lot of guest posting on blogs. You can read more, more, MORE of me in the following places:I think that's all for the moment. There are more to come, though; I'll blog them as they're put online.

04 February, 2012

Hobart Book Shop Sea Hearts and Reign of Beasts launch

The Hobart launch went off in grand style. Hobart Book Shop proprietors Christopher Pearce and Janet Grecian were cheerful, cool-as-cucumber hosts of the event, and a good crowd turned out to hear Rowena Cory Daniells launch Tansy Rayner Roberts's Reign of Beasts, the third book in her Creature Court trilogy, and Richard Harland launch Sea Hearts. These photos were taken by Steven Dunbar.

1. Chris, Margo with the world-famous Hobart Book Shop bag, Tansy and Janet.
2. Rowena on the left, Richard launches the two books with a grand hurrah!
3. Launchers and launchees, calmer now, beaming with post-launch pride.

Sea Hearts Radio National interview, Friday

Michael Cathcart will be interviewing me live for Books and Arts Daily on Radio National next Friday. It'll be early in the program, so make sure you switch on right at 10 a.m.—although, of course, if you miss it you can listen later by accessing this page .

Adelaide Writers' Week honour

Every year, Adelaide Writers' Week is dedicated to an Australian writer. Past dedicatees include Judith Wright, A.D. Hope, Jessica Anderson, Colin Theile and Thomas Shapcott.

This year, to my very great pleasure and surprise, they've decided to dedicate Writers' Week to me. They've put up this seriously blush-worthy piece about me by Sean Williams on the Writers' Week website, by way introduction/invitation to the dedication interview/ceremony with Sean on Day One of the festival next month.

So if you're in Adelaide and even partway recovered from the previous night's festivities, please come down to the Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden at 9.30 a.m. and enjoy the spectacle.

(I'm tempted here to joke about crowns, robes and being carried around on people's shoulders, but the truth is, I'm a little too stunned by this whopping great piece of validation. But if anyone can break through my state of awed speechlessness, Sean can. It'll be a lovely event.)

First few online reviews of Sea Hearts/Brides

Things are looking very nice in the review department for the selkies book.
  • Florisiensis of Fantasy Book Review calls the novel "a dark, brooding and windswept tale of longing and despair in which Lanagan’ s writing is as beautiful is ever" and says that
    the best compliment I can give it is that had I have stumbled upon it and knew nothing of its publication date I would have guessed it to have been decades if not centuries old, such is its timeless nature. It is ... unlikely that many better will be published in the genre this year.
  • Danielle at Alpha Reader blog calls Sea Hearts "a divinely lyrical retelling of an old myth. ... Lanagan’s tale is fanciful and Gothic, hauntingly complex and utterly beautiful." And I'm fine with that, too. :)
  • Sarah at My Favourite Books says:
    This book is magic from the first page to the last. ...I was completely bewitched by this book. The night I finished it I dreamt of selkies all night long and woke up wishing I could read it again for the first time.
  • And over at We Love This Book (really, the names of these sites, it's just a pleasure to be featured on them!), Nicola Manning praises the "perfect dramatic pace" and continues:
    The Brides of Rollrock Island is written beautifully with great confidence and vigour, cleverly charting both the social and the emotional impact of the bewitching of the Rollrock men. Lanagan’s masterful storytelling will both warm your heart and tug at its strings; the inevitable and tragic fates of the selkies, the Rollrock men and their children will leave you fighting back the tears right down to the last page.
All of this is most satisfactory.