Showing posts with label Kate Forsyth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kate Forsyth. Show all posts

Jul 28, 2014

Snapshot 2014: Kate Forsyth

SnaphotLogo2014I’d like to welcome Kate Forsyth to kick off my run of 2014 Snapshot interviews and thank her for taking the time to answer my questions.


1. You are about to lead a writing workshop in the Cotswolds. What were the factors in choosing this location and what do you think taking writers out of their everyday surrounds can do?

When I was asked to run a writers retreat overseas, the organisers left it up to me to choose the setting. They already had a retreat in Paris, and they wanted something different ... something magical and full of history and romance and atmosphere. I thought about where I'd most like to go ... and the idea of Oxford & the Cotswolds came into my mind. I mentioned it to the organisers and they loved the idea! It took a while to find the perfect Cotswolds village - luckily for me, part of the research was to travel through the Cotswolds checking out pubs and restaurants and pretty little villages. I think we're found somewhere amazing in the beautiful old village of Broadway - it's called the Jewel of the Cotswolds.

I think travel is very important for writers. It shakes us up, gives us new perspectives and new ideas, and allows us a space of time in which to dream, imagine, and play. A writers' retreat amplifies this experience. My plan is to have a 3 hour class every morning, and to leave the participants free in the afternoons so they can write or  explore as they wish. The workshops will be all about finding new ways to think about writing; about opening up the imagination and the creative mind.


bitter-greens 2. I have loved your two most recent adult books, Bitter Greens and The Wilde Girl and I love hearing you talk about the adventures you have while researching. In this digital age with a lot of information at our fingertips, how important was it to be physically present in some of these locations?

For me, its very important. I can see what it looks like from a photo or website, but I cannot FEEL the place. Writing is all about what lies within. When I travel to a certain setting, I have been living inside my character's skin for months and so I stand there, feeling what they may feel ... it opens up the story to me in new and very interesting ways.


3. I note that you have a transmedia event called The Impossible Quest, being launched internationally in September. Can you tell us about the project and what you hope to achieve with it?

It's such an exciting project! Basically, I have written five fast-paced,action-packed, fantasy adventures - old-fashioned narratives in which the reader will hopefully be totally absorbed into the story. Separate to the stories but intimately linked to them is the website, which contains a locked vault where all sorts of treasures lie - games and quizzes and thousands of dollars worth of prizes ... the secret codes to unlock all this treasure are hidden within the books. The only way to find them is to read the stories closely ...


the-wild-girl 4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

'The Caller' by Juliet Marillier

'Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy' by Karen Foxlee

'Evergreen Falls'by Kimberley Freeman

'The Sequin Star' by Belinda Murrell (disclosure needed: she's my sister!)

'The Winter Bride'by Anne Gracie

and I'm now reading 'Burial Rites'by Hannah Kent


5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be writing/reading in five years from now?

The international publishing industry is changing fast and I think its important to be aware of the changes, and the opportunities they bring. The transmedia project 'The Impossible Quest' is an example of me and my publishers playing with new ways to publish books. I'd like to do more with new technologies, seeing how far we can push the boundaries - I have lots of ideas! However, I still think that readers want a totally immersive reading experience which new technologies can disrupt. So I'll be looking at ways to use new technologies to enrich the reading experience, but not to disturb it too much. I'll also be looking at ways of using new technologies to help in the marketing & promotion of books, to reach out to a global audience without having to spend half my life in airport lounges.


Kate H-S sml Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling  & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia's Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called 'one of the finest writers of this generation'. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world.

Her most recent book for adults is a historical novel called 'The Wild Girl', which tells the true, untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world's most famous fairy tales. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, 'The Wild Girl' is a story of love, war, heartbreak, and the redemptive power of storytelling, and was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013. 

You can read more about Kate at her official website:


This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and collating the links at SF Signal. You can follow interviews daily from the following:

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Apr 22, 2013

Norma K Hemming Nominations announced:

Hemming4 The wonderful Rowena Cory Daniells brings us the glad tidings.  There are 4 authors nominated and 6 books.  They are in no particular order:

The Norma K Hemming Award :

marks excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability:

  • in the form of science fiction and fantasy or related artwork or media.

  • produced either in Australia or by Australian citizens.

  • first published, released or presented in the calendar year preceding the year in which the award is given.


I have read 4 of the above titles and concur with the judges selections.  I haven’t read the Jo Spurrier (it’s in my non reviewing TBR pile) but I have heard some very good things.  I would have been severely (yes severely) perturbed if Rowena hadn’t made the list because there’s a whole lot of gender commentary wrapped up in some of the best gritty dark fantasy on the market.

For judges comments you can go here.

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Mar 11, 2013

Book Review – The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth

the-wild-girlThe Wild Girl is Kate Forsyth’s latest foray into the milieu of fairy tales.  I have been eagerly awaiting its publication since finding out it was in the works in my interview with her last year  It features the same attention to detail that fans of Bitter Greens enjoyed, that feeling of immersion in the past, created by a confident rendering of the tumultuous years surrounding Napoleon’s rise and fall.

Where the two books differ, however, is that The Wild Girlis a historical fiction, where Bitter Greens was a mix of historical fiction and the fantastique, skillfully weaving historical fiction with fairy tale.

Where they do share similarities (apart from Forsyth’s beautiful and subtle writing) is in the revealing of a woman obscured by history.  Forsyth brought to life the wonderful Charlotte-Rose de la Force in Bitter Greens and in The Wild Girl she gives us the life of Dortchen Wild. 

Dortchen who?

If you are not into history or perhaps even fairy tale scholarship then you probably didn’t know about Dortchen Wild, when even a mention of the Grimms these days will get you a blank look or a reference to the TV show, it’s perhaps not surprising.  Dortchen Wild was the girl next door to the Grimms, the source from which they gleaned about a quarter of their stories and later the wife of the brother Wilhelm.

The Wild Girl is Dortchen’s story, a story which parallels a number of fairy tales in both the misfortunes that beset her and her eventual triumph.  At 538 pages it is not a slight tome, but Forsyth’s skill as a storyteller makes the narrative a pleasure to read through, a joy of immersive reading.

I must give fair warning that what starts off as a nice dramatic historical, does take a darker turn, for some of the tale.  Some elements of the narrative will be confronting, despite the deftness and sensitivity Forsyth brings to bear on them.  Without spoiling it too much, let us say the tale All Kinds of Fur is one of those tales that parallels Dortchen’s life.

I emerged from this story feeling as though I had some sense of the woman and her times, that this could have been her life.

I hesitate to call The Wild Girl a romance, though of course we know from the beginning that Dortchen and Wilhelm get married and that outcome end stops the story. I’d call it a drama, if that would encourage male readers to pick it up.

Please do, pick it up that is. I think your reading life if not your wider existence will be enriched by the process.

This book was provided by the author at no cost to myself.


This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013.  Please check out this page for more great writing from Australian women.






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Jan 29, 2013

Book Release - The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth


Long time readers will remember my review of Bitter Greens last year and an accompanying audio interview I did with Kate Forsyth.

In that interview we briefly talked about the book Kate was writing about Dortchen Wild, the woman who gave the Brother’s Grimm a significant amount of their content.

The release date is set for mid march this year but I thought I would give you a little heads up.


The History:

Dortchen first met the Grimm brothers in 1805, when she was twelve. One of six sisters, Dortchen lived in the medieval quarter of Cassel, a town famous for its grand royal palace, its colossal statue of Herkules, and a fairytale castle of turrets and spires built as a love nest for the Prince-Elector's mistress. Dortchen was the same age as Lotte Grimm, the only girl in the Grimm family, and the two became best friends.

In 1806, Hesse-Cassel was invaded by the French. Napoleon created a new Kingdom of Westphalia, under the rule of his dissolute young brother Jérôme. The Grimm brothers began collecting fairytales that year, wanting to save the old stories told in spinning-circles and by the fire from the domination of French culture. Dortchen was the source of many of the tales in the Grimm brother's first collection of fairy tales, which was published in 1812, the year of Napoleon's disastrous march on Russia.

Dortchen's own father was cruel and autocratic, and he beat and abused her. He frowned on the friendship between his daughters and the poverty-stricken Grimm Brothers. Dortchen had to meet Wilhelm in secret to tell him her stories. All the other sisters married and moved away, but Dortchen had to stay home and care for her sick parents. Even after the death of her father, Dortchen and Wilhelm could not marry – the Grimm brothers were so poor they were surviving on a single meal a day.
After the overthrow of Napoleon and the eventual success of the fairytale collection, Dortchen and Wilhelm were at last able to marry. They lived happily ever after with Wilhelm's elder brother Jakob for the rest of their lives. [source]

What to expect

One thing that I really enjoyed with Bitter Greens was Kate’s attention to detail and the elements of history she was able to shine a light on – the events that seemed so unlikely that they must be fiction, which did in fact turn out to have a considerable basis in recorded history.

I expect we will see the same again - a great tale and an unearthing of another hidden female storyteller.


ISBN: 9781741668490

Published: 18/03/2013

Imprint: Vintage Australia

Extent: 560 pages

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Sep 24, 2012

The Writer & the Critic - Episode 23

PD*3141165This cast sees the return of Mondy and Kirstyn from a long break - they have secretly been duping us with a series of pre-recorded podcasts done around the time of Continuum.

In this episode they cover Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens (which I reviewed here) and Lavie Tidhar’s Osama,  along with the usual banter that we have come to love them for. 

You can play direct below or you can download it here.

They also give us a heads up on the ebooks they are going to be covering for the Writer and Critic eBook Extravaganza.

For detailed show notes go to the podbean site.

PS I also get a mention for the interview I did with Kate Forsyth so this episode comes with bonus Bookonaut.

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Apr 20, 2012

Galactic Chat interviews Kate Forsyth

GCLogoThe latest Galactic Chat is up featuring the wonderful Kate Forsyth.  Below are the show notes:

Sean interviews best selling and award-winning author of more than twenty books, Kate Forsyth,. They discuss Kate's latest book Bitter Greens - a wonderful book mixing the historical with the fantastic.  A retelling of the Rapunzel story, Bitter Greens gives life to the memory of Charlotte-rose de la Force, Rapunzel's original author, who has until now been largely lost to history.  The discussion also covers the sanitizing of fairy tales for modern audiences and the resurgence of the original darker tales.

Kate can be found at her website and sometimes on Twitter.

You can download the show here or stream from the embedded player below.



And while you are at it, why not check out the rest of the Galactic Chat range coming to you at the very reasonable price of nothing but our blood sweat and tears.


Only 2 days of my relentless panhandling left

I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference

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Mar 30, 2012

A Kate Forsyth Primer

I have just finished reading Kate Forsyth’s new book Bitter Greens, so when I get a spare minute to pen my thoughts I will be offering you, my dear readers, a review. 

In addition to this, all things going according to plan, I hope to also interview Kate for Galactic Chat.

So to whet your appetite I offer you a Random book talk interview where Kate talks about Bitter Greens.

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