About the author:
In 2011, Favel Parrett’s career was launched with her critically acclaimed debut PAST THE SHALLOWS. A heart-breaking novel, it was sold internationally, shortlisted in the prestigious Miles Franklin Award and won the Dobbie Literary Award. Favel herself won the ABIA Newcomer of the Year Award in 2012. Her next novel, WHEN THE NIGHT COMES, was also critically acclaimed and further consolidated Favel’s reputation with booksellers and readers. Favel’s short stories have been published in various journals including Island, Griffith Review and Wet Ink. THERE WAS STILL LOVE is Favel’s eagerly awaited third novel.
Your latest book, There Was Still Love is a love letter to the strong women who bind families together, despite dislocation and distance. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?
There Was Still Love is the story of twin sisters separated at 16 by the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia and then kept apart by the Cold War. In the 1980s they are each raising a grandchild, Mala Liska in Melbourne and Ludek in Prague. Most of the story is told through the eyes of the children.
What inspired this novel?
This novel came straight out of my heart. It is a love letter to my grandparents, Mitzi and Bill. I realised I knew nothing about their life before me, so I had to make it up – I had to write it – just for me. I never believed it would get published, but once I started it I couldn’t let it go because I wanted to be with my grandparents again so badly.
What do you hope the reader will take away from reading There Was Still Love?
I want people to meet my lovely grandparents and experience their kindness and strength. I also want people to think about their own families and family history and to connect with the stories that made up the lives of people that came before we did.
Your past books have been critically acclaimed. You’ve been shortlisted in the prestigious Miles Franklin Award and won the Dobbie Literary Award and the ABIA Newcomer of the Year Award in 2012. Do you feel that adds some pressure as you deliver a new book?
I think it did with my second novel, When the Night Comes, but not so much with this one because I truly believed it would not get published! That gave me a certain freedom to write what I wanted to. I just followed my heart with this one.
What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?
I try and write every single day – or at least be with the book/work every day. That could just be thinking or taking notes. I was really disciplined with this book and worked for 5 hours a day most days.
But right now I’m on tour promoting the book and the creative doors seem to be closed. I’m out in the world and using a totally different part of my brain. Once I get home and get in the writing routine again, the doors will open up again (I hope!). Most of my novels start as short stories that feel like they have something more to say – or feel like they have enough energy to create a bigger world. Usually after a novel, I try to just write short stories for a while and hope that something ‘right’ finds me. Fingers crossed.