settings

March 19th, 2013 | Category: Uncategorized

Reynje at Wordchasing has dreamed up a lovely series, A YA Guide to Melbourne exploring novel settings. She correctly identifies Fitzroy as my setting for Six Impossible Things, but it’s an imaginary not-quite-Fitzroy. I refer to places like Gertrude Street, and the Edinburgh Gardens, but whereas for example the real Fitzroy Secondary College is glam, new, architect-designed, I wanted Dan’s fictional school to be good and grotty, a strong contrast to his old private school, helping to make a point about the important things in life being friends, family and community – not money.

Of course money is important if you can’t afford food and shelter, but if those two areas are sorted, money (stuff) is never what makes you happy. So Dan goes from a cashed-up lifestyle and into straitened circumstances, from a flash school to a run-down school. But it’s in his new life that he finds friends, self-reliance, and happiness.

One of the early inspirations for this story was the image of two terrace houses, side by side, identical from the outside, but completely different inside. One renovated, one run-down. One family with money, one with no money, and the fact that to the kids that doesn’t matter in the slightest. These are Dan’s and Estelle’s houses. And their interconnecting attic is where Dan finds Estelle’s diaries.

Dan’s house is imaginary – it only exists in my head and on the page, but these Melbourne terraces, one in Carlton and one in East Melbourne were vague inspirations.

Random fact: When I remember dreams, they always involve exploring very detailed interiors.

Small setting cheat in Six Impossible Things: When Dan doesn’t quite kiss Estelle they are in the cactus glasshouse at the Botanic Gardens. These days, all the spikes are behind glass. A few years ago they were free range, and that’s the way I needed them:

“…I’m somehow leaning against a large spiky beast that’s hooked into my jumper.
‘Ouch.’
‘It’s trying to eat you. Even though you’re quite obviously not an insect,’ says Estelle, attempting to unhook me…”

For me, setting helps to convey theme. And it’s fun to write – you’re free to combine bits and pieces from real life and make up anything you like until you have a collage that fits with the world in your mind. I’m looking forward to following Reynje’s series…

5 responses to “settings”

  1. ellie says:

    Hello, Ms. Wood! I came across your book Six Impossible Things at Good Reads, and wanted very much to read it. However, there seems to be no ebook version available on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or the other online sites. Sadly, I live overseas and shipping physical copies internationally is prohibitively expensive, so I hope you will consider publishing ebook versions eventually.

    Thank you for your time. 🙂

    • fiona says:

      Hi there, Ellie, thanks so much for getting in touch. I’m not sure I can be much help though. The books are both available in kindle version through Amazon and as iBooks through the iTunes store – but I’m not sure how accessible these are in other regions. The books will also be published in the US and Canada from 2014. Sorry I can’t be more help, but I hope you and the books manage to meet up some time soon! Take care.

  2. Rick says:

    Just spent the arvo reading _Six Impossible Things_ in one sitting, having thoroughly enjoyed _Wildlife_ a week ago. Lots of LOL moments, as well as occasional wet eyes. Special moment to see Lou and Fred meeting, after reading of their devastating parting in the 2nd novel. I’m a father of two YA girls and adolescent psychiatrist, and reading YA fiction gives me another perspective on my girls, and the teens I work with. Sybilla’s painful realisation of the malignant relationship with Holly was deftly described. The connecting characters between the two books are a special touch. Am looking forward to your next novel – maybe some more familiar faces?

    • fiona says:

      Thank you so much for this lovely feedback. I really appreciate it. There will be some familiar faces in the next novel, Cloudwish, which has as its central character Van Uoc, who is a very minor character in Wildlife – a friend of Michael’s. We also see more of Billy Gardiner, who might not be as mean as he seems.

  3. Gemma says:

    Hi Fiona, I am almost 15 and have read all three books, I started on cloud wish, then six impossible things then wildlife. I absolutely adore your books, the characters and most importantly the feelings that I get when reading them. Each book has changed my outlook on aspects of life and (especially with Wildlife) the way I view myself. I love your books, in their own little way they have changed me and I thank you for writing them, they are now a piece of me.

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