A great interview with Sarah Schmidt, author of See What I Have Done. This novel was my top pick in my latest Historical Fiction Round Up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge. It’s an excellent novel that still haunts me, even two weeks after finishing. I love how Sarah details the way Lizzie Borden ‘visited’ her through her dreams. What a unique source of inspiration!
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks,
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
Sarah Schmidt found out about axe murderess Lizzie Borden when a pamphlet fell out from between books at the second-hand bookshop where she was working. Consciously, she ignored the pamphlet – but Lizzie lurked in her subconscious and re-emerged in Sarah’s dreams. The librarian was compelled to write about Lizzie, and after 11 years See What I Have Done, Sarah’s debut novel based around the murder of Lizzie’s father and stepmother, came to be. We asked the author about reconciling fact with fiction, her terrifying research, and the time one of her siblings tricked Sarah into thinking that they had sustained a grievous injury.
The Lizzie Borden case has been heavily scrutinised for over a century. What about it was so compelling to you?
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