This is a story about the people who live in an Edwardian (or Federation, as it’s called in Oz) terrace in Melbourne. I try and post 200 words a day. Bit like a cartoon strip or a soap opera. Or Tales of the City (Armistead Maupin’s wonderful series set in San Francisco). Tales of my city, Melbourne.
It was an exercise I started to get my writing going again. I endured some bad stuff in my life, and somehow I found I was unable to write. I thought to myself that if I could make myself do 100 to 200 words a day, come what may, the creative juices would start flowing again. The Artist’s Way, a book about how to unleash your inner creative genius, strongly recommends that you write three foolscap page in longhand about anything which comes into your head. By just writing, not letting your inner Critic sabotage your inner Creator, you allow Creation to burgeon. Majorca Flats would be my equivalent of three pages of scribbles.
So I started writing my hundred-and-fifty words a day. At first, it was hard to do. I used to do frequent word counts to see if I was anywhere near the limit. Now I really look forward to it every day. Now I have to do word counts because each post is too long, I’m enjoying myself so much. And as always happens, the characters have come alive to me, and have taken control. Part of my pleasure in writing Majorca Flats — in fact in any of my fiction — is that I don’t know what’s going to happen. Oh, I have a vague idea. But it’s just a changeable sketch. All the colouring, all the details are as yet undefined. When I’m in the grip of the Muse, even I don’t know what I’m going to write, how my characters are going to behave. In an interview here in Melbourne, Armistead Maupin said pretty much the same thing about his own writing. So I’m on the right track ….
Almost every day I post a new Majorca Flats episode. Those in the blog have an attached, more-or-less related image, and each blog post has a link to the next post and the one before. So if you want pretty pics (some of which, I warn you, are not safe for work) read the story via the blog. Every twenty episodes, I upload the latest chapter here, to this site.
My first ‘contemporary’ novel.
Like so many of my stories, the inspiration for it came in from somewhere odd. I read a newspaper story that David Beckham (the metrosexual soccer player, in case you didn’t know) likes to wear his wife’s thong undies. This sexy, straight man wears lace? So I wrote a short story about an ex Aussie (or Ozzie) rules footy player (Oz plays Ozzie rules football, soccer, and both rugby league and rugby union) who is straight (and wears his wife’s lacy thongs). He finds he has no friends when he’s no longer a football player. Except one. Who hates footy, and makes the mistake of falling in love with him.
The short story just kept on growing. I grew to like all the characters so much I simply had to explore their lives It’s become a novel. This novel has ended up exploring the issues of bisexuality, of how we can have two loves, how people manage that, and how denying part of your most profound self can be lead to sorrow and pain and loss, not just for you but all those round you. And of course, how love, the kind that seeketh not itself to please, is marvelous and healing and helps make all this work.
I also wanted to explore how sometimes love, physical — no sexual — can come from friendship, and how friendship can come from sex. Tom, the footy star, connects with Adam because they are friends first. Will connects with Sean because he picks him up in a bar. Only afterwards does their love expand and grow into something precious. Yet they both end up in the same place.
This was my third novel (though I hadn’t finished DemonThrong when I wrote it) It was my most confident novel to date. I knew more or less exactly how I was going to write it, I was confident about character and story development and dialogue, and it just flowed from my ‘pen’ taking only three months to write. I grew so fond of all the characters that when I’d finished it I felt a real sense of loss. Champagne was my ‘crossover’ novel. It is an urban fantasy, a story set in Melbourne, but also in a fantasy kingdom. It explores issues that fascinate me — how men grow up, how love varies with the person you love, yet is still love, how you can deeply wrong people and yet still turn away from the dark side. I got a blast writing this. I hope you get as much fun reading it.
This was the first novel I wrote. I learned a lot about writing while I wrote it.
I wanted to write about a world where love happened despite gender. I was sick of stories dominated by heterosexuals. But I also thought that in a world where the gender of your partner really didn’t matter, most people would be bisexual to some degree or another, that they would have a ceremony and and institution for same-sex marriage, and that they would have very different values to those we have. So to complete the switch, I made it a female-dominated society, where the duchesses and queens and empresses outrank their consorts.