Happy World Book Day 2022! To celebrate the occasion, we have TWO beautiful 'Date With A Book' Gift Pack options for you. Both of these stunning packs feature 'No Hearts Of Gold' by Jackie French (pictured above on the left, with her good friend Lyndall on the right) along with some golden RO goodies and special treats.
Haven't read 'No Hearts Of Gold' yet? Let's find out a little bit more about the book, and the fabulous author Jackie French in our Q&A below. #celebratingamazingwomen
"In this magnificent and broad-sweeping saga, award-winning author Jackie French defies the myth of colonial women as merely wives, servants or petty thieves. Instead, in this masterful storyteller's hands, these three women will be arbiters of a destiny far richer than the bewitching glitter and lure of gold." (Harper Collins)
RO: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
JF: I’m a writer, Mum, Grandma, wife, friend, wombat negotiator, historian, cook, dyslexic, gardener, ecologist, not necessarily in that order, and every one of them combines to make me an author.
I burrow a lot: into old books, ancient manuscripts, faded diaries; into wombat holes to see how they live; into the soil to plant new trees or just more zucchini; into past times and people’s stories to work out what we were, who we are, and what we might be.
I can’t spell, make excellent soup, often forget to comb my hair, can build a house or use a chainsaw or comfort a baby, and spend too much time hunting for my glasses.
RO: What do you find most rewarding about being an Author?
JF: The shock each time someone says ‘I loved it’, ‘I stayed up till 2 am’, ‘I’ve read it ten times now’. Writing is the most solitary career – you not only work alone, but temporarily live in the new universe you create. Suddenly you find out not only that others have shared it, but long to spend more time there, too.
RO: We would love to hear a funny or touching story from your career, what is one of your favourite stories about being an author?
JF: Two small boys in a small rural school pooled their pocket money to buy me a Mars Bar to thank me for the books. But it was a long drive in on the school bus, so they ate half of it. ‘We knew you wouldn’t mind sharing.’
RO: Tell us something we’d never guess about you?
JF: I can milk an echidna. (Do not try this).
RO: We love talented and amazing women (like yourself) here at RO. If you could only share one skill or life lesson, what would it be?
JF: Do the next right thing. It may not be the easiest, or the one you expected, or what others expect, nor will you always get it right. But the more moments you spend thinking ’What should I do now?’ then following the answer, the richer life will become.
RO: What was the first book that you really connected with?
JF: Diary of a Wombat was published twenty years ago. Books had been a major part of my life as reader, writer, daydreamer and storyteller since I was three years old, but this was my first book created as a team: with Lisa Berryman as editor, Bruce Whatley as artist, and Mothball, the very real wombat whose story it is.
It is the first book I actually worked at, as we solved impossible problems: how do you illustrate a brown wombat in a black night? What would a wombats’ writing look like – and still be legible? How do you make the week an adventure when a wombat’s nights are mostly all the same? How can you find a voice for an animal who communicates by smells, droppings, shrieks or ripping up a doormat? It is the shortest book I’ve ever written, but the one where Lisa, Bruce and Mothball truly taught me how to be a writer.
RO: Your FAQ on your webpage is hilarious, we love your point form of answers: over 200 books, Wombat Tamer, Favourite book = Lots, etc. You yourself are an open book, thank you for sharing so much! What sparked your passion for books and writing?
JF: My great grandmother read me books, taught me to read, and told me stories – and stories became a refuge when things became hard. I was a kid who couldn’t form her letters, or spell, or get arithmetic correct, but because I could tell and write stories, no one thought I was stupid, back in the days when no one had heard of dyslexia.
Shop the Gift Pack HERE
RO: I just finished reading your latest book “No Hearts of Gold” and found I could not put it down. I was delighted to find out that this book was based on the history of the valley where you live. For those that have not read the book yet, can you give us an insight into what it is about?
JF: Kat is impulsive and indulged, until sudden tragedy means she is ‘sold’ into an arranged marriage across the world. Viola is the dark-skinned secret of an aristocratic family, but a woman born to be loved. Titania Boot is as solid as a carthorse, and as useful. Each is seeking a new life in the colony of Australia. As the discovery of gold transforms both land and people, one woman will brew illegal but intoxicating liquor with a bushranger, one will build a business empire, and one will vanish at her wedding, in a mystery that will scandalise Society across the world. It is a book about the strength of friendship and the many kinds of love, but also shows colonial women as more than wives or victims, but as people who forged extraordinary lives and controlled their destiny.
Wow! The rest of the team certainly can't wait to read the book. Spoil yourself with your choice of 'Date With A Book' Gift Pack HERE. Thanks so much for being involved and taking the time to chat with us, Jackie!
CONNECT WITH JACKIE FRENCH + HARPER COLLINS:
- Jackie French Facebook and Instagram
- HarperCollins Facebook and Instagram
- HarperCollins Children’s Books Facebook and Instagram
No Hearts of Gold and other books by Jackie French are available here.