Rebecca Bowyer is a Melbourne copywriter, content writer, blogger, book & theatre reviewer and historian. She’s currently working on her first novel, set in a future when children are parented by professional Maters and Paters.
This interview is part of our series investigating where creative people draw their inspiration from.
TRM: What were your favourite texts growing up?
RB: I’ve always loved Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn chronicles and read everything by John Marsden that I could get my hands on, especially Tomorrow, When The War Began.
Their characters felt real – I could easily imagine myself into the story – and there was a very distinct ‘what if’ scenario. Not just a peek into someone else’s life, but a doorway into a whole different world or possible future. Aside from that, they were rollicking good adventure stories and very well written!
What texts do you keep coming back to and why?
The stand-out text is one I studied for Year 12 Literature: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. It’s a strange one to pick, because the story is fairly mundane. However, the writing is so lyrical and the imagery is stunning. The whole book feels understated, muted, just like the snow-blanketed landscape it’s set in.
I also love re-reading anything by Geraldine Brooks and Joanne Harris. Geraldine Brooks because I’m fascinated by the past and she brings it to life so vividly and raises so many questions about how we connect with our history, and how history repeats itself. Joanne Harris because of the everyday magic she weaves so seamlessly into her stories. Also because I love reading about the French countryside!
Are there texts that relate to your life?
For me, the point of reading is to take yourself out of your own life. I don’t think I’d be inclined to read a novel about a suburban wife, mother and professional unless it involved vampires or werewolves…
Are there any artists and texts that influence you creatively?
I’m heavily influenced by writers who manage to make the extraordinary feel ordinary. They have the ability to make you question the world around you – could that really happen? Is that just fantasy or sci-fi or is that an actual possibility? And they do it while simultaneously providing a great story and light entertainment. It’s a big ask – combining light entertainment with life philosophy – but that’s what I aim to do.
Books I’ve read recently who achieve this include Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, Max Brooks’ World War Z, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series and James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series.
Are there any quotes or other words of wisdom you find helpful for your practice?
I love Allison Tait’s advice – “Finish the damn book!” That’s it.
What is a text that every developing artist should read/watch/listen to?
It would have to be Stephen King’s On Writing. But for writers who are also mothers, I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Rachel Power’s Motherhood & Creativity.