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Rosanne Dingli

answers the Usual Questions

photo, Roseanne Dingli, courtesy of the author; 220x306

Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne Dingli is a Western Australian author. She has been connected to the book world in one role or another since 1985. She lives and writes in Perth.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

This is too hard to respond to in a few lines. A reactive reply would be to say no, but experience has shown me that my writing has changed over time, and some of those changes might be attributed to interaction with readers. I feel it's important for readers to like what I write, so I listen to what they have to say.

I have never attended a convention, but because I have been writing professionally since 1985, and because I have taught Creative Writing for a long time, facilitating workshops, giving lectures, conducting talks ... they all put me into close contact with writers at all stages of their careers.

I also talk to many readers, both online and in person. This kind of interaction gives a seasoned author the opportunity to gauge readers' desires, delights, and disappointments, and to learn how to cater to those three important elements.

One does not write in a bubble - the act of writing is a communication, and over time an author learns how to communicate more efficiently, more entertainingly, more expressively. So the long answer is: I guess so.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

Of course there are - an author's life is just as packed as anyone else's with important correspondence, encounters, surprises, and plans ... and they are variously wonderful, horrible, and everything else in between. What one must say is that most of them are private, and only hints appear in writing. Even if an author were to put a fully and explicit account of an important encounter into their writing, I doubt anyone would be able to point out that it was autobiographical. So personal events and items are unremarkable in the works of most authors - at least until after they die and someone digs up or publishes the story of their life.

But when it comes to important letters, sentiments, events, and stories in culture, the Arts, history, music, science and philosophy ... yes - there are quite a few that stand out. One is the history and geography of Venice, a place I love. Another is the architecture of Malta, where I was born and raised. Then there are the lives, works, and letters of Wagner, Leonardo, Eric Gill, Virginia Woolf, Verdi, Gwen John, and a number of others which have informed my own work, and whose presence can be felt in my fiction.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

We all do. Some books, movies, pieces of music, works of art, and even special locations are vital, and we return to them mentally and physically whenever we are given the opportunity. I love the literary works of John Fowles, AS Byatt, Annie Proulx, Robert Goddard, and Anita Shreve. The music of Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, Dvorak, Philip Glass, Peter Sculthorpe, and Prokofiev are to my mind utterly marvellous and inspiring. And there are a few artists' works - such as those of Rodin, van de Woestyne, the Pre-Raphaelites, Gwen John, Dulac, and a few others which have also inspired my writings.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Anyone with the ability to converse well, and to listen well. I am a very patient person (even in heavy traffic) so sitting on the floor of a lift with a captive audience, who cannot escape me and my talk of literature and other arts, might be an enjoyable thing. I would then listen to whatever they have to say, which might be fascinating - people tend to confide in a perfect stranger, so you never know what I might hear in such a situation. I'm afraid you'd never catch me on a spaceship, so I really cannot say.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

I wonder if there is one person who doesn't have something interesting to say about themselves and their lives. In any case - I used to work as a journalist, with some good interviewing skills, so I would probably be able to extract some lovely stories from almost anyone for the time it takes for the lift engineers to bring us back to ground level.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

book cover, Roseanne Dingli, The Hidden Auditorium; 140x198

Space does not entice me one little bit. So I prefer a journey to somewhere on earth where there are many museums, libraries, galleries and historical sites. I am most drawn to European places and history. And I have been to quite a few, so I can tell you what I found extremely important to take, apart from the usual travel paraphernalia. I need a means of communication, so my phone would have to go with me. Then I'd take my Kindle, although it's not my favourite way to read, because one can take hundreds of books on it. I would also need some music and photos, which would be on my phone of course. And I'd need a book of Sudoku puzzles, a very good pen, and some chocolate-covered peanuts. And please let me take my glasses, without little of the above would be possible to do.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

Eternal life. Or at least, human life as we know it on this planet. I want my work to survive long after I am gone, for my heirs and their heirs, and their descendants after that, to read and share with others. Authors have a means of "living forever" that they share with other artists - their cultural, spiritual, and intellectual life goes on without them, long after they die.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

I've never been asked this question before, so I have to pause here, and think a bit. I find writing hard work, and often rise from my desk in a daze, unable to do much else than rest. I only find satisfaction when a first draft is finished and I can start on the very real work of rewriting, editing, and getting on with the very intricate work of publishing, which needs a team of people. I find it satisfying to look at my body of work - I have several books out there now, the first of which appeared in 1991, and the latest in 2013 - and recognize the fact I've put a lot of hard work into my art, and that many, many readers have enjoyed my fiction.

Thank you for asking me these questions, Ali - and I hope to raise the curiosity of readers. My four novels, six collections of stories, three novellas and poetry book were written especially for them.

submitted by Rosanne Dingli

29 September 2014

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Just the facts:
Resides: Perth, Western Australia
Death in Malta, According to Luke, Camera Obscura, The Hidden Auditorium

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