Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Author Interview ~ Jane Watson

[ Admin Note: Since this was written, Jane has moved on from Second Life and is creating new Worlds in Discovery Grid]

When I first met Jane Watson, her name was Arton Tripsa. Well It still is and she’s still Jane Watson but Arton isn’t a pen name. It was her virtual name on Book Island in Second Life; and, is still her name in her Worlds in Discovery Grid.

Jane is the author and Arton was the manager of BookIsland—she is the Owner and Builder of the Discovery Grid Worlds. As an author, I greatly admire her. As a manager, she was my boss. As the owner/builder, she’s my Best Friend.

I first spoke about my work as Events Manager in the post, A Virtual World, A Writer’s Mind, And Serious Business That’s Always Fun!, but since then, I’ve made more time for Book Island and Arton has become more than a boss—she’s a confidant And Jane? She’s still the author who’s book I carry wherever I go

[ Since we did this interview, Jane has returned for another interview :-) ]


So, Arton, who is Jane Watson?

I am an Australian writer. My first novel, Hindustan Contessa, was published by Picador in 2002.

Jane, why do you write?

To find out, to access an inner world, to explore the possibilities of an image (because I think am a very visual writer), to process my experience.

When did you start writing?

When I was nine I wrote a ten page novel. It was called, very originally, Kidnapped.

So, this first book of yours

My first novel was published after Picador discovered it at a writers’ conference and gave me a contract on the basis of the first one hundred pages. Then I had to finish it in the next eleven months :-)

That kind of deadline makes me want to ask about your “writing habits”.

I try and write every day. Sometimes I don’t succeed but even when I am not writing I am thinking. I often use reading to inspire me. The writing life is an isolated life. It’s quite hard to arrange contact with other writers  to talk about writing at a time that does not interrupt your own writing schedule. For this purpose, I go into Second Life. It has become part of my writing habit.

Jane, please tell us about the book.

Hindustan Contessa is a novel set in Australia and India which follows the journey of an Australian couple, as they travel in an Indian car to meet the husband’s Indian grandmother for the first time, in his family’s ancestral village. The novel’s title comes from a particular car once manufactured in India, the Hindustan Contessa, which the couple travels in,  and which seemed to me a fitting image of a dual culture. This car, once made by Hero motors of India, was an imitation of a modern Western style car with a dash of Indian style. It attempted, I felt, to have a foot in both cultures. I wanted it to symbolise the cultural identity crisis that the main characters face.

What’s the source of your inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere. Someone once said that a writer’s own life experience is like the piece of grit in an oyster, which the writer’s art and skill then transforms into a completely different and wonderful pearl. Then again, on a more sombre note, I have also heard it said that writing a novel is like driving a car without the headlights on!

Very apt analogy, Jane :-)

What’s your take on the literary community in Second Life?

Very similar actually to the real life one, because, after all, behind every avatar is a real person. I do feel that folks in Second Life are kinder and more generous in the way they receive a piece of work at reading/critique events. The other real difference of course is that the literary community in SL is more cosmopolitan and can provide many cultural perspectives.

What is the Writer’s Studio?

The Writer’s Studio is my office/shop on Book Island. On the lower level, information about my writing is displayed and, on the second, I can often be found writing at my desk. Folks often drop by there to chat with me and everyone is welcome.

[The link for “Book Island”, at the top of this post, will help you get to Arton’s Writer’s Studio]

Jane, what’s next?

I am finishing my second novel at the moment. It is about literary theft.

Thank you, ever so much, for taking time from your writing to give us some insight into your life :-)


Synopsis of Hindustan Contessa

An Australian couple, Milan and Tillie, travel to India. Kidnapped by robbers and incarcerated in a cave, Tillie tells their story. Captured by her sexual jealousy and suspicions of Milan, Tillie nevertheless endeavours to help him come to terms with his own childhood spent with grandparents who held him hostage while his parents travelled overseas. Family intrigue and crises of identity follow the couple as they travel across India. Against the colourful backdrop of India and Venice, this novel tells a story of loss and rediscovered identity amidst magic, obsessions, goddesses and misconceptions in a land where reality and illusion seem to merge. Not just a tale of India but a story of people who try to exist in the global melting pot and for everyone who lives on the edge.

Jane’s Novel at Amazon US
At Amazon UK
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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