Sylvia Karakaltsas writes cracking historical novels – you can see my review of her fabulous and moving book A Perfect Stone here. I’m thrilled to have the chance to meet up with her, especially as we have discovered that we both live in Melbourne and can now be coffee mates!
Welcome, Sylvia. Can you tell us something about yourself that you think anyone who reads your book/s really ought to know?
I guess the main thing is that I write historical fiction and short stories. My short stories are not, however, historical. If anything they tend to be contemporary fiction based on current day observations.
The two historical fiction novels I have written are both set in 1948 so I guess you could say, I like 1948. It’s not so much the year that’s fascinating but the time just after the war when there was still so much turmoil in the world and I find it rich for stories.
I think you have a great grasp of the period. What is your favourite scene from your own writing? Why?
I don’t necessarily have a favourite scene as such but there are scenes which have moved me.. In Climbing the Coconut Tree, two Australians were murdered on a Pacific island and the funeral scene for me was quite emotional to write.
In A Perfect Stone, there are scenes where young children are killed and writing them moved me to tears. Putting myself right in the scene affects me so much that the scenes are, I think, very powerful.
If the author is moved, then the scene has power indeed. Now, if I told one of your characters (you get to choose which one) that they were imaginary, how would they respond?
I think Jim from A Perfect Stone would growl and tell me in no uncertain terms how ludicrous I am. After all he can be cantankerous. He’d probably then add that he liked my new haircut.
He definitely would! He’s such a character! Can you think of any books and/or writers who inspired you on your path to be an author? Can you tell us about that?
I’ve always loved reading. When I was a young girl, I devoured anything by Enid Blyton – who hasn’t? My goal had never been to be a writer, I had other things I wanted to do and the only constant was my love of reading.
I came to writing just over five years ago and dug into the books and the authors I had loved to study the art of writing. Inspiration came from Anthony Doer, Sonya Hartnett, Emily Bitto, Hannah Kent, Sophie Laguna and Nicole Hayes. Nicole in particular guided me with all three of my books I have the utmost admiration for her incredible skills.
That’s a great road for an author. Take yourself back ten years – what would you like to tell yourself?
Getting older is so much better than everyone said and that you never stop learning and growing.
How lovely to hear. What’s next for you in the world of writing?
I am well into my next novel. The character, Lucille, seems to be writing her own story despite me trying to send her in lots of directions. She pulls me right back where she wants to go and guess what, we’ve landed again in 1948. I just shake my head and wonder where she’ll take me next.
And finally:Who would you be if you were a fictional character – one of yours, or someone else’s?
I’d probably be Helen from my novel A Perfect Stone. Although she’s probably more tolerant and nicer to her father Jim than me.
There’s a lot of Helen in you, I think. Or maybe vice versa! Thank you so much for sharing with us on Last Word of the Week. Coffee next week?
S.C. Karakaltsas Links
Sylvia’s website: https://sckarakaltsas.wordpress.com/
A Perfect Stone: https://sckarakaltsas.com/my-books/a-perfect-stone/
Climbing the Coconut Tree: https://sckarakaltsas.com/my-books/climbing-the-coconut-tree/