Kimberley Freeman is an established writer under the name Kim Wilkins. She is moving her writing talents out of the speculative fiction genre and focusing on commercial women's fiction. She published DUET in 2007, GOLD DUST in 2008 and WILDFLOWER HILL in 2010 under the pen-name Kimberley Freeman. Her latest book, LIGHTHOUSE BAY is our Book of the Week.
We are thrilled that Kimberley was able to join us today to answer a few questions.
You started your writing career as a writer of fantasy (as Kim Wilkins). What was the deciding factor in crossing over to commercial fiction?
I simply felt as though I'd said all I could say in fantasy at the time. Every idea I came up with sounded very familiar to me, so I decided I would leave that field fallow and try something else. I never suspected that Kimberley Freeman would do so well, and she has kept me busy ever since.
Do you have a preference for fantasy or commercial fiction?
No. I love stories as long as they're big and full of passion and adventure and strong women. It doesn't matter which genre.
Do you think there is prejudice against the romance novel?
Yes of course there is. It's the lowest rung on the genre ladder, which is completely ridiculous because there's nothing as important to our species than connecting to each other (not to mention falling in love and having babies: that's how we continue to exist). I think a lot of the prejudice against romance is prejudice against women's reading habits. These are stories about women's experiences of the world, for women, and mostly by women. I'm never dismissive of romance.
Much of Lighthouse Bay is set in 1901. Did you have to do much research to create the sense of time and place necessary for this book?
Yes I did. I love the historical research, and this time it was particularly fun because it was set locally (about 2 hours from my home). I spent a lot of time looking at old photographs and visiting historic buildings and reading old diaries.
The importance of family is an underlying theme in your book. Is this something you have discovered for yourself?
Again, it's all about how we are connected, isn't it. Family are the people you love and who love you even when times are tough. I am so grateful for my mother and my brother. They are a constant source of love and support for me.
How do you balance motherhood with writing?
Very badly, I imagine! My daughter once drew a picture of me, and it was the back of my head in front of a computer. I only have my children 50% of the time (their father has them the other 50%) so my time with them feels scarce and precious. I work very hard on the weeks they aren't with me, and when they are with me I make sure I'm at every school pick-up and I try very hard to turn off the computer so I can give them my full attention. Sometimes it's hard (for example when I'm wrtiting responses to interview questions quite late!).
Which novel inspired your own writing journey?
It was Gladys Malvern’s The Dancing Star, first published in 1944, an account of the life of Anna Pavlova, written for children. Like many little girls, I dreamed of being a ballet dancer but unfortunately I was very very bad at dancing and didn’t progress beyond the one disastrous Christmas concert. But it wasn’t the stuff about ballet that affected me so deeply, it was the stuff about work. According to the book, Anna Pavlova was obsessed with dancing. She practised all the time. She did it until her toes bled and she just. kept. going. This notion, that one could work so hard and push through barriers of extreme discomfort, really took hold of my imagination. From that moment on, I understood the incredible romance of work: diligent hours spent on something that mattered to make an outcome appear in the world.
What is next for you?
I'm going to write another Kimberley Freeman book over the summer (don't worry: summers are looooong in Brisbane). And then I'm going to have a little break.
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