Elaine Forrestal

Mysteries to carry with you

Cover of new edition of Deep Water

Everyone loves a mystery. Perhaps because of the tug-of-war between wanting to know what happened, but still wanting the mystery to be there. Not wanting to lose the excitement of exploring, prodding, testing our powers of deduction. Wanting  the idea of the mystery to be there, in the back of our mind, so that we can bring it out in quiet moments when we want something to  engage and challenge us. The lingering idea of the mystery sits alongside our curiosity and sometimes becomes more satisfying, more fulfilling than any resolution could ever be. The power of our own imagination can be so much more believable than someone else’s solution – real or imagined.

In Deep Water, the resolution is matter-of-fact, almost mundane after the drama of Axle’s disappearance and the subsequent search for him. But in some of my other novels, Leaving No Footprints for example, the mystery is still there at the end of the book. I know that some people want all the loose ends of a story neatly tied off. But for me, personally, I want the ending left open.  I want to carry those characters with me, thinking and puzzling over them, enjoying the possibilities of their continuing lives, long after I have closed the book. Of course Deep Water is part of a circular quartet. Although each book has at least one mystery which  is solved within its pages, there are other mysteries which open up as you read around the circle, if you are prepared to dig deep enough.

I hope you discover at least one of these shadowy mysteries and enjoy carrying it with you.

Morphing into Backyard Book Fair

See you there!

Our very active International Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, or SCBWI West as it is more commonly known, has come up with yet another good idea. On Saturday 2nd December ‘Books from Your Backyard’ will morph into the exciting new ‘Backyard Book Fair’.

This event will continue to showcase the work of local children’s authors and illustrators while maintaining the strong links already established with the State Library of Western Australia. Hopefully the new calendar slot – less than a month before Christmas – will encourage you to buy good books as Christmas presents for the children in your lives. Also the shorter, more punchy, fast-paced sessions will leave more time for the authors and illustrators to sign books and interact with individuals on a one-to-one basis. There will be morning and afternoon sessions, punctuated by the funny and entertaining ‘Illustrator’s Challenge’ in the Theatre, and a craft table where kids can make their own Christmas Tree decorations will be set up in the Foyer at the State Library. Don’t forget to collect your free cupcakes with morning tea.

We hope you can join us and make this a regular Christmas outing.

More information can be found at www.scbwi.org.au

Backyard Book Fair

New edition of Deep Water and others in the Eden Glassie Mystery series

The release of new editions, in paperback, of the Eden Glassie Mysteries, and the invitation to present at the Backyard Book Fair have prompted me to develop a new workshop based on the novel Deep Water.

Although I have often spoken about the circular nature of the Eden Glassie Mystery series as a whole, in Book Week and other sessions, for some reason I have never focused any of these talks on an individual story. The invitation to do a ten minute presentation for the Backyard Book Fair, which has evolved out of the former Books from Your Backyard event, presented an exciting challenge. What could I say, in ten minutes, that would be sufficiently engaging for a mixed audience in the fluid space allocated at the State Library?

After digging deep into the core of the novel and trying to distil its essence I came up with a puzzle for my audience to solve. Now, having done that for Deep Water, I feel confident I will be able to do similar, but different, workshops for each of the other titles – Stone Circle, Black Earth and Wild Wind. 

Come along to the Backyard Book Fair at the State Library of WA on Saturday 2nd December and see how it all works out. If you are the first to solve the Deep Water puzzle you will win a signed copy of the book. Hope to see you there.

The return of Rose de Freycinet

Rose de Freycinet

Here in France Rose de Freycinet has come full circle in her quest to see the world. After setting out from Toulon in 1817 and sailing around the world aboard l’Uranie, she has returned to the south of France and found a new home in the village of Sauveterre de Guyrene.

In this village, not far from Bordeaux, the local government is opening a new Mediateque. A small group of dedicated people, including the regional Mayor and Deputy Mayor, allocated funds and beautifully restored an old building just off the main square. With the help of the librarian and her team they are moving the old Biblioteque from its tiny premises and incorporating it into the new Mediateque.

In the old building it was not really possible to cater for school groups and the facilities for research via the internet were very limited. However, the new building is bristling with powerpoints, both physical and audio-visual, colourful shelving, books and eBooks, and lots of light and space.

The life of Rose de Freycinet and her voyage around the world will be studied and plans are being made for small groups of students to translate at least parts of the English text back into Rose’s native French. Full circle indeed, and a wonderful enterprise for this innovative community to take on.



My historical fiction based on the life of Clara Saunders has now gone off to the publisher and I have just started developing a new idea. I still don’t know whether this idea will keep on growing until it eventually becomes a novel. But each day I work on it and that seems to lead me further and further into the story. I am beginning to care about the characters and look forward to seeing, and hearing them each morning. Already I am up to Chapter 7 and I know there is still a long way to go and a lot more for me to discover about these characters. But unlike Clara’s story, which still doesn’t really have a title, although I have sent it off as Life Blood which is the closest I’ve come so far, this new story already has a name! Almost from the beginning I labelled it Parallel.

Writing is such an intuitive art that I very often find myself having to work around missing bits. Not just missing titles. I often have to wait for characters, or some crucial piece of dialogue, to reveal itself so I go back over my work dozens of times during the re-writing and editing stages. Titles are especially tricky. I am very rarely comfortable with the first attempt. Every one of my finished ‘Book’ files has a separate document labelled ‘Alternative titles’. Some of these include seven or eight titles that I have considered, but discarded. I can’t delete them, however, because  the editor and the publisher, the designer and the marketing department are all likely to have an opinion about it. I can never be absolutely certain that they won’t come back to me asking for other suggestions. Sometimes they have good suggestions of their own.

Then the discussions begin …