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3 May 2006 ·

Life imitating fiction

Writing has been slow lately, and readers of The House at Evelyn’s Pond might be interested, or amused, to know that it’s partly because my daughter has just moved to Vancouver. Of course she is not Megan of the book and her story now is not the story I wrote for Megan six or seven years ago – but still, it is ironic. (And exciting, nostalgia-making, and a whole mix of other emotions.)

It will probably make it even more difficult for people to believe me when I say the novel is not autobiographical. Jane is not me; neither are Ruth or Megan, and their stories are not mine. However all my characters – Nim, Alex and Jack as well as these more realistic women – are pulled from different parts of my personality, different roads that my life could have travelled. It’s one of the things I love most about writing: exploring being different people – a bit like putting on a mask and disguise for a fancy dress party, without all the trouble of having to figure out how to make a peg leg for a pirate costume!

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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio