Sandra Leigh Price: A note about the inspiration behind The River Sings

Sandra Leigh Price: A note about the inspiration behind The River Sings

xthe-river-sings.jpg.pagespeed.ic.VDQD39vg7qWritten by Sandra Leigh Price

Who can say what sparks the idea for a book? For me, it’s not just one idea – rather, it’s a kind of a weaving of many ideas, many inspirations, until it
is hard to find the first thread. One such thread was the memory of Dickens’s character Fagin, who “mothers” the young Oliver Twist. Fagin was in fact based on true life, the returned convict Ikey Solomon. I was also taken by the description of Queen Victoria’s dolls, small wooden tuck-comb dolls, a type of wooden peg doll, and how she cared and collected 132 of them throughout her childhood, sewing clothes and inventing biographies for them, sometimes based on real people or characters at the theatre.

I was also struck by the childhood of Victoria herself, the princess the ultimate doll, captive to the whims of the power brokers around her, and her collection of dolls. I was also fascinated with the idea of dolls being transitional objects, the term coined by D.W. Winnicott in 1951 to describe the special meaning that children attribute to their toys, an extension of attachment to the mother and the promise of her return.

I was also captivated by the Romany tradition of burying dead children by the side of the road with acorns in each hand, resulting in entwined trees so they’d never be lost or forgotten. And ultimately I always knew that somehow I would also use in this novel the house of my convict ancestor William Price, built in Richmond, NSW, circa 1827, and which still stands, now an antique shop, the interior nearly unchanged, the banister burnished by the palms of generations. I was struck by a concertinaing of time. Here was a house, the beginnings of a new empire, a new life, humanistic as Georgian houses can be, built within a whisker of a decade of his transportation. What had William left behind? The sorrow of banishment, the loss of his family, his country and all he’d know and the burden of a singular crime, all the past sealed in the foundations by a hand hopeful for the future.

Sandra Leigh Price credit Joern HarrisSandra Leigh Price lives in Sydney. She graduated from the Australian National University, Canberra, with a Double Major in English Literature and Drama, and co-established a small theatre company before moving to Sydney to pursue a career as an actor, then turning to writing. Wet Ink magazine published an early chapter of The Bird’s Child, her debut novel.

Grab a copy here or read our review of The River Sings

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              Publisher details

              The River Sings
              Author
              Sandra Leigh Price
              Publisher
              HarperCollins
              Genre
              Australian Fiction
              Released
              24 April, 2017
              ISBN
              9781460750018

              Synopsis

              'Look first. Reach second. Vanish third.'London, 1825: Eglantine has always had an eye for the shine. Born the same day as the young princess destined to be queen, Eglantine has an altogether different path ahead of her, strewn with the glittering waste of her father's ambitions. Her mysteriously prosperous father, Mr Amberline Stark, is a man of great expectations. He coaxes her to follow in his footsteps, making picking pockets a delightful parlour game which they play in their fine house by the Thames. Eglantine's life before her arrival at the house remains a mystery, her memories wrapped up in a small doll she keeps close to her, and with it the fragmentary recollections of her mother.It is only when Amberline is caught and transported as a thief to the penal colony of Australia, that Eglantine has to grow up and fend for herself using her only skill. Reluctantly, the thief's daughter becomes a thief, until a chance meeting gives her a window on a new way of being, and the opportunity to strike out into a new and untarnished world. But will the weight of her father's choices make her a prisoner in the house at the side of the Thames?Birth and death, love and sadness, love knots and cut ties, quicksilver and shine, old worlds and new beginnings, Sandra Leigh Price weaves another gritty and beguiling story that will enchant and delight readers.About the AuthorSandra Leigh Price lives in Sydney. She graduated from the Australian National University, Canberra, with a Double Major in English Literature and Drama, and co-established a small theatre company before moving to Sydney to pursue a career as an actor, then turning to writing. Wet Ink magazine published an early chapter ofThe Bird's Child, her debut novel.
              Sandra Leigh Price
              About the author

              Sandra Leigh Price

              Sandra Leigh Price lives in Sydney. She graduated from the Australian National University, Canberra, with a Double Major in English Literature and Drama, and co-established a small theatre company before moving to Sydney to pursue a career as an actor, then turning to writing. Wet Ink magazine published an early chapter of The Bird's Child, her debut novel.

              Books by Sandra Leigh Price

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