Welcome Lisa Walker!
I am happy to welcome Lisa Walker as a part of my year long feature of Australian women writers. Born in Holland, Lisa spent the early part of her life in Fiji before moving to Brisbane as a teenager. She has worked as a barmaid on the Great Barrier Reef, an igloo builder and as a wilderness guide in the Snowy Mountains. Now she surfs, writes and works in community relations from her home on the north coast of NSW. Her radio play ‘Baddest Backpackers’ was produced for ABC Radio National in 2008 and she has won several short story awards. Lisa is the author of Liar Bird which was published by HarperCollins in January 2012 and Sex, Lies and Bonsais, which is scheduled for publication in January 2013.
Today, Lisa shares a little about Liar Bird and the inspiration behind this funny and engaging story and is offering Book’d Out readers the chance to win one of two signed copies of Liar Bird.
I first embarked on a serious quest to write a novel when my older son was in Year Three. This year he started university. So learning how to write a novel has taken about as long as training as a brain surgeon. ‘Liar Bird’ is actually the fourth novel I have written. I have a boy wizard fantasy and two feisty Gold Coast PI novels under the bed (as you do). Maybe they’ll make an appearance one day.
People often say you should write what you know. Unfortunately, I’m not always too good at taking advice. I’d been working as a community relations officer for the National Parks and Wildlife Service for seven years before it occurred to me that I was sitting on a mine of inspiration.
It didn’t hit me until one day I printed out a short story on the back of an old news release I’d written. The title of this release was Feral Pig Awareness Day. When I read out the story to my writing group they all started giggling and saying Happy Feral Pig Awareness Day. It was then that I realised – there were a lot of funny things that happened in my job. It didn’t stop at pigs. Magpies were funny too, and chickens and cane toads. In fact, the original title of this book was ‘Toading – a story of lies, lust and feral pests’. I don’t think it would have gone too far with that title.
I resisted writing it for a while, because it felt too close, and I was busy with my feisty Gold Coast PI, but the idea kept coming back to me. I recently had a look at my old computer file from August 2006 when I first jotted down a few thoughts about this book. It contains important questions to myself such as:
- Can a city PR girl reinvent herself?
- ‘Sea Change’ meets James Herriot? (does anyone else remember ‘All Creatures Great and Small?’)
And there were also a few lines such as: ‘If it wasn’t for the long-footed potoroo, I might never have heard of Beechville.’ That line is now the first sentence in ‘Liar Bird’.
‘Liar Bird’ is about small towns, about moving from the city to the country and about finding a place to call home. To some extent the novel is inspired by my own experience of moving from Sydney to the north coast in 1999. It is set in a small town near the Queensland border, which I imagined as being a bit like Woodenbong or Urbenville if anyone knows those places. Basically they’re one street towns.
When I moved up here one of the things I first noticed was that wildlife seems to play a major role in people’s lives. Whether it was the possum in the roof, the bandicoot digging up the lawn or the echidna wandering across the road – everyone had their wildlife story. In the book my protagonist, Cassandra forms a very close relationship with tree frog, finds a snake in the toilet and deals with a whole lot of other pesky critters. And of course she meets a ranger who has a very sexy way with maps…
Find Lisa Walker
Liar Bird is available to purchase at
Enter to Win
1 of two signed print editions of
Liar Bird by Lisa Walker
(Open to Australian Residents only)
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Entries close September 9th 2012
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