Books, Where the Line Breaks

Q&A with Amanda Curtin

I recently had the great pleasure of taking part in a wonderful question and answer session with fellow Perth author Amanda Curtin, the author of two novels, Elemental and The Sinkings; a collection of short fiction, Inherited; and a work of narrative non-fiction, Kathleen O’Connor of Paris, which was also published by Fremantle Press.

Amanda asked me some wonderful questions all about the unique structure of my novel Where the Line Breaks, the ease with which fabricating references can very quickly lead to confusing fact and fiction, and how debut novels so often involve autobiographical elements.

Here’s a look at just one of the great questions Amanda asked me that I tried my best to answer:

AC: Writing a PhD requires many things, and obsession surely has to be one of them. That can be seen very clearly in Matthew’s work, but the more I read, the more I began to feel that this is actually a novel of obsession. Is it possible for you to talk about the other obsessions at work here without giving too much away?

MB: I’m glad you felt it wasn’t just Matt obsessing over the PhD, because I think Matt and Alan are both grappling with their own obsessions, based around their ideas of heroism and bravery and, on another level, masculinity. What the dual narratives allowed me to do was to tackle those themes from opposite sides, almost, so that Alan’s obsessions lead him, eventually, to a certain crucial point. Then Matt, with the weight of history, and the benefit of hindsight, moving away from it in time, is obsessed in his own way with living up to that point. I also wanted the book to explore this modern day obsession I think we all have with defining everything, breaking everything down to right or wrong, good or bad, black or white. Focusing on the various obsessions in the novel, and the tunnel vision it gives both Matt and Alan, was a really great way of confronting those ideas.

Click here to read the rest of the Q&A on Amanda’s website, which is packed full of wonderful Australian book reviews, interviews and much much more.

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