author of Only Daughter
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born and raised in Canberra, Australia in 1988. I was an incredibly shy kid, probably partly because I had a triple lisp. All the kids in the playground would try and make me say “she is a funny rabbit”, which came out as “the is a thunny wabbit”.
I moved to Melbourne when I was seventeen to go to the University of Melbourne and later RMIT.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
When I was twelve I wanted to be a full-time teacher, part-time writer OR an engineer. Turns out I actually had no idea what an engineer was.
At eighteen I wanted to be a screenwriter/director/artist/novelist/jeweller/producer/academic/I had no idea.
When I’m thirty I plan to be a full-time crazy cat woman, and spend my days weaving wool out of cat fur.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
That the world is a just and fair place.
4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?
I love portraits. Carol Jerrems is a big inspiration of mine, her photographs have an intensity and intimacy that I have always aspired to in my writing. I also love Alice Neel’s portraits. The way she manipulates line and colour to create an emotional understanding of her subjects is beautiful.
Alfred Hitchcock’s films have been a major influence, especially his 1940 adaptation of Daphne De Maurier’s novel Rebecca.
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, hy did you choose to write a novel?
I don’t just write novels. I paint pictures, sing songs, and take photographs. Unfortunately, I am terrible at all those things.
6. Please tell us about your latest novel…
Only Daughter begins when the unnamed narrator is caught shoplifting. Desperate, she claims to be Rebecca, to whom she bears an uncanny resemblance.
The novel is told in a split narrative, the other half set in 2003, where the real Bec Winter is in the middle of summer holidays. Working at McDonald’s, falling in love with someone she shouldn’t and hanging out in her best friend’s pool, she does not know that these long hot days are numbered. By the end of the week, she’ll be gone
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
I try and write non-judgemental portraits of good people that do really bad things. I’d love it if something I wrote gave someone more understanding in the flaws of the people around them.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
I aspire to write things that are both entertaining and socially important.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Write! Don’t worry if it’s bad, or fret that your friends and family will hate it. Just keep writing the work that is important to you, and don’t let anyone read it until that first draft is done.
Thank you for playing, Anna!
In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.
She'd been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen - blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched - though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.
Eleven years later she is replaced.