Q&A with Sonya Hartnett, author of Golden Boys, shortlisted for the 2015 ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year
How did the idea to write your book originate?
I wanted to write about certain feelings and memories from my own childhood – the freedom our bikes gave us, the silence of the streets, the worry about our warring parents, the boredom of church, the shut doors and empty gardens of the neighbourhood. I don’t think one ever really forgets these feelings, but I wanted them in print, just in case.
What’s your favourite thing about being a published author?
It’s hard to choose one thing. There are lots of good things, and a lot of bad things. Publishing has been my life. Without it, I probably wouldn’t have stayed in as many nice hotels.
What are some of the things you love about Australian bookstores?
If you’re lucky, you can jump on your bike and ride to one, and they are stocked to the gills with yum things from all around the world. Also, they smell nice.
What’s the most recent Australian book you loved?
I read Gideon Haigh’s new nonfiction Certain Admissions in proof a few weeks ago. It’s about a murder in Melbourne in 1949. It was interesting reading about this event with which I was completely unfamiliar, yet which galvanised a city I know well. It made me think about the recent past, that time that is gone, but only just.
If you could meet any Australian author, dead or alive, who would you like to meet?
Jack Marx, at a pub, with a publisher’s credit card on the bar.
What Australian book had the biggest impact on you as a child?
I read Ivan Southall’s Josh in my early teens. It was the first novel that showed me a landscape I recognised, and taught me that this landscape could be used as the setting for a book. The impact of that novel on my career is inestimable.
After readers have finished your book, which Australian book would you recommend they read next?
Animal People, by Charlotte Woods.