Joanne Patmore

Joanne Patmore

Q&A with Author Joanne Patmore

What inspired you to be a writer?

I often visit a place and find myself reflecting on the past lives lived in that space. Surrounded by trees and paddocks that reflect the seasons, I want to explore the way we are tied to landscape and to the people that came before us.

What prompted you to write 'Black Wattle'?

My debut novel is about the connection I feel towards my grandmother, in terms of finding her back story.

This is the story of a couple who emigrate to Australia in 1924 in search of a better life and, for one of them, to leave a damaging secret behind. It the story of the Group Settlement scheme in Western Australia but submerged beneath the historical detail is a story about mothers and children.

I come from a long line of extraordinary women who have urgent stories to tell. Stories which I want to write down before they disappear. I believe terrible things happen to good people. People can heal but I don’t believe they ever heal completely.

Do you have any more books in the pipeline?

I am currently working on my second novel. ‘Wooden Town’ charts the lives of people who worked the timber mills in Western Australia’s South West in the early 1900s.  I am exploring the idea that traumatic events leave a mark on a place which can be felt for generations.

What is your professional background?

I taught English and Drama in Western Australian schools for thirty years. After early retirement I took a job as office manager for a psychiatrist in Perth. I moved to England in 2010 and taught adult education classes part time. I completed a Master of Arts (Creative Writing) at York St John University in York, England.

Any advice you’d like to give aspiring writers?

It is never too late. I had retired from teaching when I enrolled in my first creative writing course and began writing in earnest. I am late to publication, a process that has revitalised my life, and I am enjoying the experience. We can always start again if we lose everything.

Who/what inspires you?

Elizabeth Jolley was my creative writing tutor at Curtin University in the 70s. She invited me to afternoon tea and told me I could and should continue to write creatively. Her words and advice have stayed with me while I was busy doing other things. She sowed the seed of desire. When I am beset by doubt I remember her kindness and belief.

What are your hobbies, interests and favourite books?

The lives of ordinary people fascinate me. I devour autobiographies and self-published memoirs. I am interested in the minutiae of daily life. Driven to discover the stories behind the faces on my family tree, I wonder what our ancestors dreamed about. Did they pay a price for love?

How can readers contact you?

Contact via: Hawkeye Contact Page

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