Today I am delighted to welcome Meg Bignell to Behind the Pen. Meg’s latest book, Welcome to Nowhere River, releases today and to celebrate, she’s sharing a few of her favourites with us. Over to you Meg, what is your favourite…and why…
Character from one of your books?
Susannah from The Sparkle Pages is my first love. She’s the one who first gave my voice a person and a life because her story was told in diary form. I made her say and do some of the inappropriate things I was thinking but couldn’t, so I owe her favouritism. Her mother Franny popped up unexpectedly in Welcome to Nowhere River in the form of Lucie. I think they are me in about twenty years. So they are favourites too.
Scene from one of your books?
Wow, these are really hard questions. I adore a ghost story so I was really invested in the ghost tour scene in Welcome to Nowhere River. And the St Margery’s meeting scenes are so fun to write. I love writing dialogue. But perhaps my favourite of all is the scene in The Sparkle Pages when Susannah gets chased by an emu. I laughed a lot writing that and laughing is my most favourite pastime.
Movie of all time?
Notting Hill. Closely followed by Love Actually and anything else written by Richard Curtis. I once wrote to him and asked him to be my mentor and he wrote me a really friendly ‘sorry, no.’ I love him.
Book that you always keep a copy of and recommend to others?
I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith. It’s pure joy through the eyes of a properly unadulterated narrator. Smith apparently wrote it to manage her severe homesickness, and I relate to that. I get a lot of inspiration from nostalgia.
Fashion accessory that despite having plenty of, you still keep collecting?
I love a good bag, and I get sick of them quickly so I’m very drawn to the handbag department. I also have a thing for things that sparkle. It’s a problem.
Drink that you enjoy everyday?
I am not very good at plain water, so I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I love a good cordial. Bickfords is my go-to, especially because on the bottom of each bottle is a little affirmation set into in the glass. I enjoy little mysterious details like that. I’ve told you that just to distract you from the fact that I’m terrible at hydration.
Treat you indulge in?
Mixed sweets. I don’t much like chocolate but I love jubes and milk bottles and licorice allsorts. I have a sweet tooth can you tell? Another problem.
Place to be?
Floating in the Derwent River. But it has to be high summer, with plums on the trees.
Person you admire?
I can’t name an absolute favourite but I think Tim Minchin, with his music and his wit and his lyricism, is pretty close. I am a musical theatre tragic and a total music enthusiast and am in awe of anyone who can bring humour, commentary, conscience, music and talent to the fore. Kate Miller-Heidke and Lin-Manual Miranda are two others I love. I would turn to water if I met any of them so I sort of hope I never do.
Season of the year?
Summer of course. I’m Tasmanian so I wait for it for three hundred and sixty days of the year.
Welcome to Nowhere River
Long past its heyday and deep in drought, the riverside hamlet of Nowhere River is slowly fading into a ghost town. It’s a place populated by those who are beholden to it, those who were born to it and those who took a wrong turn while trying to go somewhere else.
City-born Carra married into Nowhere River, Lucie was brought to it by tragedy, Josie is root-bound and Florence knows nowhere else. All of them, though familiar with every inch of their tiny hometown, are as lost as the place itself.
The town’s social cornerstone — St Margery’s Ladies’ Club — launches a rescue plan that turns everything around and upside down, then shakes it until all sorts of things come floating to the surface. And none of its inhabitants will ever be the same again.
This is the highly original and heartfelt story of a place where everybody knows everything, but no one really knows anyone at all. Brimming with heart and humour, this is a delightful novel that celebrates the country people and towns of Australia.
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
Released 2nd March 2021
About Meg Bignell:
Meg Bignell was a nurse and a weather presenter on the telly before she surrendered to a persistent desire to write. Since then she has been writing almost every day – bits and pieces here and there, either to earn a crust, to get something off her chest or to entertain herself. She has written three short films, mostly because she wanted to do some acting and no one else would cast her. She sings a bit too, occasionally writes and performs cabaret, but is mostly very busy being a mother to three and a wife (to one). She lives with her family on a dairy farm on Tasmania’s East Coast.