Poet and writer Christine Paice was born and raised in the UK but now calls the delightfully named Willow Vale on NSW’s south coast home.
Christine has published two poetry collections, Mad Oaks andStaring At The Aral Sea and a children’s book, The Great Rock Whale. Her poem The Ministry of Going In won the prestigious national Josephine Ulrick Award for poetry in 2009 and in 2013, her poem The Quality of Light was shortlisted for the Blake Poetry Prize. In 2010, she became the University of Wollongong’s inaugural Janet Cosh Poet, resulting in the work, Collecting The Collector. As if that were not enough, Christine is a creative writing and poetry tutor, working with 8 to 12 year olds, young adults and adults.
In the past, Christine has written short fiction but has now produced her first full-length work, The Word Ghost. Christine joins The Hoopla to answer three quick questions.
As a child, which book(s) did you read time and time again?
We didn’t have a television when I was growing up so I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. One book I loved was Mrs Pepperpot To The Rescue, written by Norwegian author, Alf Prøysen. Mrs Pepperpot had to be a most ingenious woman as she regularly shrank to the size of a pepperpot at unexpected moments. I have always thought very fondly of Mrs Pepperpot as she coped with her wildly fluctuating sizes!
If you could invite any author from any period in history to dinner, who would you choose and why?
Well now this is easy, as I have just read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I would ask both Charlotte and Emily Bronte to my place for six o’clock. I’d make meatballs and spaghetti, open a bottle of red wine and have raspberry and lemongrass trifle for dessert. Charlotte would doze off in front of the fire while I talked to Emily about Heathcliff. ‘My dear, who inspired you to write about a man possessed of such ferocity? And the name, Heathcliff—and the unrelenting passion and cruelty? Do tell Emily, exactly what has been going on with you?’
Can you tell us a little about your novel and the inspiration behind it?
My novel is called The Word Ghost and it is the story of a 16 year old girl, Rebecca Budde, who moves to an isolated English village and meets a ghost living in her bedroom. Algernon Keats, the ghost, is a poet who died before he had a chance to write what he wanted to. He believes Rebecca can help him, but she is more interested in the artist she meets living opposite the pub in the manor house. Teenage years are always intense and passionate, full of either misery or joy. I wanted to write about the passions of love, and the poignancy of loss, wrapped in the beauty of poetry and the realities and fantasies of life for a girl in the wilds of England.
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