Meeting a literary soulseeker who not only runs rings around you in the beautiful words department but happens to be forty years your junior had me recently trying to gather my dignity around me like a loosely fitted robe.
The occasion was a completely memorable red carpet book launch at my local library. Eleven year old Brisbane author Georgia Bowditch – who it can be reported wields her magic writing stick like Steve Smith is now once again wielding his cricket bat – that is to say with scene-stealing power, finesse and mad skill – was signing copies of her 40 000 plus word debut novel WOLFHEART – Moonlight’s Prophecy.
She agreed to speak to SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK. In return SWS agreed to grab the opportunity with both hands. With talent and an unmistakably severe intelligence like hers, it won’t be long before Georgia is showcasing the fruits of her imagination on much grander literary stages than this one.
And then the moment arrives…
A person from the publicity department appears and announces our author is finally about to make an appearance. All conversation stops and the orchestra (someone’s mobile ringtone HERE) begins to play. Every eye is directed to the top of the stairs.“Ladies and Gentlemen…. Georgia Bowditch”.
Wonderful to meet you Georgia. Can we begin with you letting us know what your new novel is about?
Moonlight and Wildfire are the alpha’s of a group of wolves called Spirit Pack. Without giving away spoilers, these two wolves must seize the reins of the group when an ominous and mystery-shrouded danger threatens to tear the pack apart.
Use four adjectives to describe how it feels to have earned the title ‘published novelist’ at the age of just eleven.
Surprising – strange – cool – stressful (people expect the next book).
Tell us a little about your public book launch and signing session held at Inala library.
I sat on a chair and answered some questions about my book and signed them.
Apart from inspired plotting and flowing prose, WOLFHEART: MOONLIGHT’S PROPHECY showcases your flair for dramatic and natural sounding dialogue.
“You thought I was nothing! Just like they did! Well you’re wrong. And I didn’t get to introduce myself before. I’m Luna. Pleasure to kill you.”
“You wouldn’t kill a goddess!” Ki whimpered, her two tails wavering.
“You’re not a goddess, and I would,” Lana growled. “I have my reasons.”
“I don’t see any reasons”, Hail murmured, “at all”. (p50)
Were you taught how to have characters exchange words in that climactic way or does it somehow just come naturally to you?
I have not had training for writing, but have done some drama classes.
** Editor’s note: Georgia has just recently gained entry into a author’s mentoring program run by the Australian Writer’s Centre. Way to go Georgia!
Did you do any research into wolves and wolf packs for the writing of the book?
Yes, to learn about how they live and communicate.
** Editor’s note: After having devoured the first half of the book myself, I can attest to the extent that literally every syllable of this heart-stoppingly authentic narrative is imbued – subtly and skillfully – with no less than a zoologist’s knowledge of wolves: from the way they move, forage, interact and stalk prey to the means by which hierarchical social orders are maintained and ownership of territory is asserted. And it’s all done not in an overbearing, information-dump sort-of-way but in a manner which compels the reader to go along for the ride and intuit “This feels real’.
There’s an old adage that books are not written they are re-written – meaning authors may go through many drafts of a sentence, paragraph or chapter before they are satisfied they have the right words. What was the editing process like for you?
For me it was exactly the same. I changed many words and many character names when I wrote the book.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Erin Hunter and Kathryn Lasky
Any plans for a follow-up to WOLFHEART: MOONLIGHT’S PROPHECY?
Yes, I am currently testing writing pieces for book number two.
When you Google your own name now what do you find?
The first thing I see is WOLFHEART, but I still see a few people who have the same name.
Have you ever heard of a movie, from ancient times, called DANCES WITH WOLVES?
Can’t say I have.
Georgia, would you be up for some...
Do you have a nickname?
** Editors note – How does ‘The Girl Who Cried Wolf‘ or just plain ‘Wolfie’ grab you? Ok you’re right. They probably wouldn’t grab me much either Georgia.
Name one thing you learnt in the last week.
I learned that Moon Bears exist.
How do you feel about putting pineapple on Pizza?
Don’t like it.
What’s your star sign?
** Editor’s Note: Good news Georgia! A little research on my part came up with the following about what amazing writers Taurians make –
TAURUS (April 20 – May 20)
You’ve been jotting down your thoughts since you were a small child; you’ve always loved poetry, fiction, and you’ve even dreamed of doing it professionally. Good thing for you because you happen to be very good at it.
You take your life’s experience and translate it into words effortlessly. You’re a natural storyteller and you are always able to wow people with your written expression. Hey, with William Shakespeare as one of your own, you come well represented!
Go HERE to get the complete astrological breakdown on which star signs make the best writers.
You are now Queen of your own country. What’s its name and where is it?
SPAGHETTI-LAND – on Earth.
Do you like your own handwriting? (And permit me to add, in all modesty Georgia, I’ve seen the complete gamut of children’s written script – from apparitions of mangled letter fragments that look like a chicken’s feet dipped in ink ran randomly across the page to motley sentence mishmashes that more resemble rare-dialect ancient hieroglyphics).
Last board game you played?
On Sundays I like to…
What’s your spy name?
Favorite ice-cream flavor?
Time suddenly slowed and with a puff of vanilla essence… she was gone. Georgia Bowditch had left the building – on a date with destiny and her next great writing adventure.
I removed my elbows from the table and sat a little straighter. In those brief moments, I’d met a young story weaver whose fantasy worlds are conjured faster than the weeds grow in my garden. In my midst was someone preparing to take on the world one magnificently-worded and intricately-plotted story at a time. Three huge fan cheers for you Georgia!
Ps. From a young imagination just setting out to a person at the other end of their writing journey…
American author Toni Morrison was a true colossus of the literary world. The author of eleven full length novels, she won the famed Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Five years later she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Among many other positions and accolades, she occupied the chair of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. During her lifetime she also penned two plays, four non-fiction books, five children’s books, numerous essays and worked as an editor on a great many other publications. She passed away last week at the age of 88.