Writing Festival Winner for Best Novel November 2015
Watch A LIFE SINGULAR Transcript Reading:
Buy the Novel online:
Novel performed by actress Val Cole.
Get to know writer Lorraine Pestell:
1. What is your novel about?
The first in a six-part contemporary fiction serial, “A Life Singular – Part One” tells the story of a successful celebrity writing his autobiography after the tragic loss of his wife to a bullet that was meant for him. As the stars farewell their loved one in the midst of a public outpouring of grief and anger at such a senseless act, Jeff and his children use their many happy memories to come to terms with their private grief.
In essence a love story, the novel’s themes are triumph over adversity, the choices we make between right and wrong and how one influences the other through the relentless passage of time.
2. Why should this novel be read by people?
As a lifelong sufferer of depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I have spent most of my years pretending to be something I’m not, due to the stigma and lack of awareness of mental illness at home, in the workplace and in society at large. By wrapping my serious messages in the universal theme of love and our endless fascination for celebrity, I hope to encourage people to look beyond the stereotypes to see real people with much to offer the world.
Sales proceeds from the “A Life Singular” serial go to two Australian non-profit organisations assisting young people with their education, The Smith Family and EdConnect Australia.
3. How would you describe this novel in two words?
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
“Crash”, directed by Paul Haggis, starring Don Cheadle
5. How long have you been working on this novel?
The serial has been a work-in-progress for over 40 years. Parts One to four were published between 2013 and 2015, with Part Five due for release in March 2016. The author hopes to finish Part Six in December 2016, which will see the story finish in contemporary times.
6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?
Impossible to pick one! “Watership Down” by Richard Adams struck home to me as a teenager; my adult influences are mostly French literature of the 19th and 20th century: Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac in particular.
7. What motivated you to write this novel?
I began writing as a teenager as therapy for my dark heart, as an escape into a less hostile world. What began as a typical adolescent romance between a pop star and a rock guitarist has long since become a vehicle to explore life’s complexities and important social justice issues.
I have two main goals for my writing: first, to inspire fellow sufferers to rise above their debilitating symptoms; and second, to encourage non-sufferers to understand, tolerate and even love people like me in our quest to live a “normal” life.
8. Which artist would you love to have dinner with?
Don Henley from The Eagles, whose lyrics display a thorough understanding of our weird world.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I am a strong advocate of Voluntary Euthanasia / Dying with Dignity and believe that the ability to end one’s own life at a time and in a manner of one’s own choosing is a fundamental human right. As someone who battles with suicidal tendencies constantly, I hope the stigma around this issue soon disperses so that we have the option to push our own “off-switch”.
I’m also a dedicated volunteer for the two organisations to which my books’ sales proceeds are channelled: The Smith Family and EdConnect Australia (formerly the School Volunteer Program). I mentor teenagers through challenging times with the hope that they will stay in school and make the best of their futures.
Lastly, whenever I’m not working or writing, I can be found on long walks with my rescued 8-year-old Belgian Shepherd dog, Nikki, who came to me last year after a horrible start in life and is now my ever-attentive writer’s muse!
10. What influenced you to enter the Novel Festival?
Independent authors from small markets in the southern hemisphere need to promote their books to North American and European audiences in order to gain exposure. The Novel Festival brings our words to life through their performance readings, hopefully attracting new readers.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
I feel as if I’m still learning the art of good writing, but my main advice would be to always write from the heart. Chances are your stories will ring true with many people if they can sense authenticity and compassion in your words.
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