I was Inspired by a Particularly Horrendous Event: Q&A with Khaki Town Author, Judy Nunn.

I was Inspired by a Particularly Horrendous Event: Q&A with Khaki Town Author, Judy Nunn.

 

About the author:

Judy Nunn’s career has been long, illustrious and multifaceted. After combining her internationally successful acting career with scriptwriting for television and radio, Judy decided in the 90s to turn her hand to prose.

Her first three novels, The Glitter Game, Centre Stage and Araluen, set respectively in the worlds of television, theatre and film, became instant bestsellers, and the rest is history, quite literally in fact. She has since developed a love of writing Australian historically-based fiction and her fame as a novelist has spread rapidly throughout Europe where she is published in English, German, French, Dutch, Czech and Spanish.

Her subsequent bestsellers, Kal, Beneath the Southern Cross, Territory, Pacific, Heritage, Floodtide, Maralinga, Tiger Men, Elianne and Spirits of the Ghan and Sanctuary confirmed Judy’s position as one of Australia’s leading fiction writers.

In 2015 Judy was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her “significant service to the performing arts as a scriptwriter and actor of stage and screen, and to literature as an author”.

Buy a copy of Khaki Town here. // Read a review of Khaki Town here.

  • Khaki Town is a breathtaking historical novel set in Queensland during World War II. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?

KHAKI TOWN IS SET SPECIFICALLY IN TOWNSVILLE, FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND IN 1942 – A TRULY DANGEROUS YEAR FOR AUSTRALIA. THE COUNTRY WAS ON THE BRINK OF INVASION BY THE JAPANESE, AND THE POPULATION OF FNQ LIVED, JUSTIFIABLY, IN A STATE OF TERROR.  THE CHARACTERS IN MY BOOK ARE FICTIONAL, BUT THEY LIVE THROUGH THESE FEARFUL TIMES AND UNDERGO ALL THE TUMULTUOUS CHANGES WROUGHT BY THE HUGE INFLUX OF AMERICAN TROOPS WHO, WHILE BECOMING THEIR SAVOURS, ALSO BRING WITH THEM RACIAL CONFLICT AND AGGRESSION.

What inspired this novel?

I WAS INSPIRED BY A PARTICULARLY HORRENDOUS EVENT THAT RESULTED FROM RACIAL TENSION WITHIN THE RANKS OF THE MILITARY. AUSTRALIA WAS STILL VERY MUCH INFLUENCED BY ‘THE WHITE AUSTRALIA POLICY’ AND AMERICA REMAINED GOVERNED BY SEGREGATION.  THE FREEDOM AFFORDED BLACK US TROOPS BY AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS MET WITH THE STRONGEST DISAPPROVAL FROM WHITE US SOLDIERS.  THERE WAS ALREADY JEALOUSY AND AGGRESSION FROM AUSTRALIAN TROOPS TOWARDS THE AMERICANS WHO WERE ‘OVERSEXED, OVERPAID AND OVER HERE.’  IT WAS A RACIAL BOMB WAITING TO EXPLODE, AND EXPLODE IT DID.  IN TOWNSVILLE IN MAY, 1942.

Can you tell us about your research process for Khaki Town?

I NATURALLY DID FIELD RESEARCH TRIPS TO TOWNSVILLE, WHICH INCLUDED ARCHIVAL STUDIES AT THE CENTRAL LIBRARY (ALL THANKS TO THE HELPFUL LIBRARIANS). AND I INTERVIEWED LOCALS WITH A GREAT DEAL OF KNOWLEDGE, INCLUDING ONE DELIGHTFUL RESIDENT WHO RECALLED IN GREAT DETAIL BEING A TEN YEAR OLD GIRL EXPERIENCING THOSE WARTIME DAYS AND NIGHTS OF 1942.  I ALSO READ COPIOUS PUBLICATIONS AND NEWS ARTICLES OF THE DAY.

Who are some authors that have inspired you?

THIS IS AN IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION TO ANSWER. EVERY BOOK I LOVE INSPIRES ME.  I LOSE MYSELF IN THAT WORLD AND ALSO IN THE CHARACTERS I DISCOVER IN THAT WORLD.  THIS ISN’T BECAUSE I’M A WRITER, BUT BECAUSE I’M A READER.  ALL READERS DISCOVER A WORLD OF THEIR OWN WHEN THEY LOSE THEMSELVES IN A BOOK.  I’M NOT SAYING THESE BOOKS I LOVE INSPIRE MY ACTUAL WRITING, RATHER THEY CONTINUE TO INSPIRE MY LOVE OF BOOKS AND THE JOY OF READING.  THEY FEED MY PASSION.  MY LATEST FAVOURITE BOOK WOULD BE ‘A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW’ BY AMOR TOWLES.  I ALSO RECENTLY ENJOYED A DELIGHTFUL FIRST NOVEL BY SHIRLEY BARRETT, ‘RUSH OH’.

What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?

I HAVE NO WRITING ROUTINE AT THE MOMENT – THIS IS MY TIME OFF, THE TIME WHEN I’M TALKING ABOUT MY LATEST BOOK- MY TOTAL PASSION REMAINS IN ‘KHAKI TOWN’. I’LL BE MEETING PEOPLE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY DURING MY BOOK TOUR AND MY HEAD WILL BE IN WARTIME AUSTRALIA, TOWNSVILLE, 1942.  IT’S ACTUALLY QUITE A THRILLING TIME FOR ME.  I HAVE THE GERM OF AN IDEA FOR MY NEXT BOOK, BUT I WON’T BE ADDRESSING IT UNTIL THE NEW YEAR.  ALSO DURING THIS ‘FALLOW’ PERIOD, I’LL BE READING ALL THOSE NOVELS OF OTHER AUTHORS THAT I’VE BEEN SAVING UP TO RELISH WHILE I’VE BEEN WORKING ON MY OWN FICTION.  GOOD WAY TO GO.

 

Reviews

Khaki Town by Judy Nunn: Your Preview Verdict

Review | Preview

15 October 2019

Khaki Town by Judy Nunn: Your Preview Verdict

    Preview Reviews: Khaki Town by Judy Nunn

    Review | Preview

    15 October 2019

    Preview Reviews: Khaki Town by Judy Nunn

      Great Storytelling: Read an Extract from Khaki Town by Judy Nunn

      Review | Extract

      8 October 2019

      Great Storytelling: Read an Extract from Khaki Town by Judy Nunn

        An Exceptional Novel from one of Australia's Best Authors: Read a Review of Khaki Town by Judy Nunn

        Review | Our Review

        8 October 2019

        An Exceptional Novel from one of Australia's Best Authors: Read a Review of Khaki Town by Judy Nunn

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            Publisher details

            Khaki Town
            Author
            Judy Nunn
            Publisher
            Penguin
            Genres
            Australian Fiction, Fiction
            Released
            01 October, 2019

            Synopsis

            Judy Nunn’s new bestseller is a breathtaking historical novel set in Queensland during World War II.Khaki Town, Judy Nunn’s exciting new novel, is inspired by a true wartime story that has remained a well-kept secret for over seventy years.It seems to have happened overnight, Val thought . How extraordinary. We’ve become a khaki town.It’s March 1942. Singapore has fallen. Darwin has been bombed. Australia is on the brink of being invaded by the Imperial Japanese Forces. And Val Callahan, publican of The Brown’s Hotel in Townsville, could not be happier as she contemplates the fortune she’s making from lonely, thirsty soldiers.Overnight the small Queensland city is transformed into the transport hub for 70,000 American and Australian soldiers destined for combat in the South Pacific. Barbed wire and gun emplacements cover the beaches. Historic buildings are commandeered. And the dance halls are in full swing with jazz, jitterbug and jive.The Australian troops begrudge the confident, well-fed ‘Yanks’ who have taken over their town and their women. There’s growing conflict, too, within the American ranks, because black GIs are enjoying the absence of segregation. And the white GIs don't like it.As racial violence explodes through the ranks of the military, a young United States Congressman, Lyndon Baines Johnson, is sent to Townsville by his president to investigate. ‘Keep a goddamned lid on it, Lyndon,’ he is told, ‘lest it explode in our faces…’
            Judy Nunn
            About the author

            Judy Nunn

            Judy Nunn’s career has been long, illustrious and multifaceted. After combining her internationally successful acting career with scriptwriting for television and radio, Judy decided in the 90s to turn her hand to prose.Her first three novels, The Glitter Game, Centre Stage and Araluen, set respectively in the worlds of television, theatre and film, became instant bestsellers, and the rest is history, quite literally in fact. She has since developed a love of writing Australian historically-based fiction and her fame as a novelist has spread rapidly throughout Europe where she is published in English, German, French, Dutch, Czech and Spanish.Her subsequent bestsellers, Kal, Beneath the Southern Cross, Territory, Pacific, Heritage, Floodtide, Maralinga, Tiger Men, Elianne, Spirits of the Ghan, Sanctuary and Khaki Townconfirmed Judy’s position as one of Australia’s leading fiction writers.In 2015 Judy was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her "significant service to the performing arts as a scriptwriter and actor of stage and screen, and to literature as an author".

            Books by Judy Nunn

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