Emma Viskic, the author of Resurrection Bay, took some time out to have a chat with Beauty and Lace.
Get to know Emma in this interview.
Tell us a little about yourself…
I grew up in Frankston, on the outskirts of Melbourne and was a bit of a free-range kid. I started writing stories about the time I learnt to read. Lots of little picture books, short stories, and plays (Yes, I did force my friends to perform them). Somewhere along the line, my other love – music – took over and I got side-tracked into a career as a classical clarinet player.
I had a great time performing in anything from Phantom of the Opera to symphony orchestras, but I missed writing. I finally decided to follow that urge when I was around thirty and sat down to write a book. The result was pretty appalling but I was hooked. After a lot more practice, I eventually started what was to become my debut novel, Resurrection Bay.
What was your inspiration for Resurrection Bay?
Inspiration came from a lot of different places, particularly in terms of Caleb’s deafness. Some was sparked by a profoundly deaf girl I went to school with, but most of it came from my own family. None of them are deaf, but my grandparents were Croatian immigrants who didn’t speak English.
I wasn’t raised to speak Croatian, so when they came to live with us it was pretty frustrating for us all. Our inability to communicate had a big impact on me, and eventually made its way into Caleb’s character years later.
Is there anything new you’re working on that you can tell us about?
I’m in the early stages of writing and researching my next book, a historical crime novel inspired by some family history. I can’t say much about it yet but I’m really enjoying getting to know my new protagonist.
You have won five Davitt Awards. Can you tell us anything about this?
The Davitts is the annual Sisters in Crime awards for the best Australian crime books by women. There are a few different categories, including Readers’ Choice and Best Adult. To say I’m stunned to have won five of them is a bit of an understatement.
My two Reader’s Choice awards are particularly close to my heart. When I started writing Resurrection Bay I had no idea if anyone would ever read it let alone like it, so it’s incredibly heartening that so many people have enjoyed spending time with Caleb.
What advice would you give to someone writing their first book?
Don’t worry about how good it is, just get the words down on the page. As the extraordinarily prolific Nora Roberts once said, you can always fix a bad page but you can’t fix a blank one.
Name an underappreciated novel that you love.
Malla Nunn’s Detective Emmanuel Cooper series is set in apartheid-era South Africa. Great characterisation and sense of place, combined with gritty storylines. Although Malla is very successful in the US, most Australian’s don’t seem to have heard of her.
Who is your favourite author?
That’s like asking who my favourite child is! I’ll side step that one and give you a mixed bag of authors I seem to return to again and again ¬¬– Kate Atkinson, Hilary Mantell, Elizabeth Strout and Peter Temple.
What are you currently reading?
A debut crime novel called Winter by Lakota Sioux author David Heska Wanbli Weiden. I’ve just started it, but it’s looking like it’s going to be a fantastic read.
Where can our readers follow you?
I mainly hang out on Twitter, but you can also catch me on Insta and Facebook.
What is next for Emma Viskic?
The fourth Caleb Zelic novel, Those Who Perish, is about to hit the bookstores so I’ll be doing a lot of talks and book signings. I’m crossing my fingers they’ll be live.
After the past two years of lockdowns in Melbourne, I’m really looking forward to talking to readers face-to-face instead of via the computer screen.
I am a mother of four beautiful children. I can’t leave a book unfinished which equals a lot of late nights! When I’m not reading you can find me in the garden, or helping out at Beauty and Lace.