Welcome to this weeks Thursday Throng author interview, and in the hot seat this week is David Laing, the author of Forest Spirit. David originally hails from Scotland and migrated to Australia at the age of 7. He now lives in Tasmania and is a full-time writer. He’s recently completed his second book, ‘Forest Shadows‘ which is due to be published March, 2013. His third book, ‘Forest Secrets‘, has a planned publication date of mid 2013. He is working on an adult book, ‘The Quinine Factor‘. The Forest trilogy are children’s adventure stories perfect for introducing some of the concepts of bush life to a new generation.
This book is a children’s book and it covers two major themes, the first is loss and change, the second is self-reliance. The main character is a 12 year-old girl called Jars, who is uprooted from her home in the Northern Territories to Tasmania in the South. In the course of the book she discovers her own inner resilience and a strength of spirit which I hope will continue through the next two in the series. The story was as captivating for me, the adult reader, as I’m sure it would be for children as there is no hint of condescension to the reader by over explaining things. The characters are well-drawn and believable; the settings are beautifully presented, so well done in fact that I could imagine myself there. I’m looking forward to reading book number two.
I start each interview with the same question; so, David what’s one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you?
That I’ve never quite grown up. Author, Robin Friend, once hinted at my book launch that was the case and I must admit that my wife, Wendy, has alluded to the status of my maturity at times too. I suppose they’re close to the mark. For example, as a little boy, I used to tell tall stories — non grown up stuff. Like telling my mother that the wind blew the sleeve of my brand new coat off when it was really a barb wire fence that was the culprit. I also thought the sea, when I first saw it, was ‘ … an awfy big dub.’ (puddle.) Anyway, I guess I still think like that … in a not quite grown up way.
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
‘ … beautifully evocative. ‘ ‘ … skilfully sets the scene.’ ‘ … maintains the pace.’ ‘… inviting a greater understanding of Aboriginal culture.’ ‘Nan Chauncy’s beautiful, evocative story of Tasmania’s Aboriginal story, Tangara, come to mind through Laing’s subtle use of imagery and reference to ancient culture.’ ‘Found it hard to put down’
What did the worst review you ever had say about you and your work?
‘ … at times his prose needs a little polishing.’ ‘Some young readers hooked on the intriguing complexities of computer games may want more twists and thrilling action from a novel.’ They’re all the baddish reviews . More bad reviews for my next book, maybe!
Are the names of your characters important to you?
I agonise over names. Some text books advise looking through phone books and so on. I don’t. I find that the names come to me by some magical process … usually around five am just before I let the dog out. The sub-conscious is a wonderful thing, sometimes. The same goes for titles.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
For the aspiring writer, who want to be published by a mainstream publisher, in my view there is one main ingredient that you must adhere to. That is, tell the story in a simple, visual and sensory way that doesn’t indulge in overblown, pretty words – often termed literary –which used to be the norm in Dickens’ day. That is, long descriptive passages of scenes and situations are not, I believe, appreciated in today’s world of the quick fix.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration for my ‘Forest Spirit/Shadows/Secrets trilogy undoubtedly came from the smiling faces of all the Aboriginal children that I have taught. Plus their uncanny knowledge of the bush and all the wild creatures in it always amazed me. I used to take them walking in the Australian bush every day and if the truth was known, they always taught me far more than I taught them.
In other instances, inspiration comes from the unknown. For example, I have a contract to write an adult novel and as a result, it is always on my mind. That’s where the subconscious comes to play and where the magic begins. I find myself suddenly thinking of the characters that will soon be a part.
Where can I meet David online and find out about his books and writing?
David has his own website which you’ll find over at http://www.davidlaingauthor.com. He’s got a personal profile on Facebook at facebook.com/david.laing.142 and finally, you can meet him on the Authors Den as well.
If you’d like to grab yourself a copy of Forest Spirit then you can pick it up on Amazon in the UK here amazon.com/dp/0980495008 and on Amazon in the US here: amazon.com/dp/0980495008. You’ll also find my review on Goodreads here: goodreads.com/book/show/13793458-forest-spirit
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/