My favourite author – Sonya Hartnett

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My favourite author is Sonya Hartnett. Well…I do have other favourites, but she is definitely one of my most favourites.

She started out as one of the youngest Aussie authors to win awards like the Children Book Week awards and has shocked some people with her novels because she really writes some gritty stuff. That’s why I love her books so much. You can really get into them and they take you to some really interesting places, psychologically speaking.

Imagine what it would be like to be a cat dumped in the bush. This sounds a kind of simple idea, but Sonya must have truly studied the behaviour and characteristics of cats, because if you’ve ever owned a cat, you’ll agree her novel Forest is incredibly life like. The social structure this cat finds and tries to fit into when it comes across other feral cats seem so real and the thought processes it has on its journey as it makes the journey back to a suburb and houses, just fits so well into what I suppose can only be our perception of how a cat might think, but I think it’s so clever.

Then, imagine deciding that being nestled deep into a tunnel thick with dirt and the roots of trees is the most incredibly wonderful place you have ever been in and want to be in as much as possible. This is what Thursday’s Child is about. The saying goes…”Thursday’s child has far to go”… well, this character decides to dig. And dig. And dig. Set in a lonely bush setting our Thursday’s child digs a maze of tunnels under the family cottage and practically begins to live underground – listening to people, watching people. It’s creepy.

Sonya is great at ‘creepy’. I love Princes, which is about two wealthy brothers who spend their days avoiding each other and then circling around each other in the house they share with such strange thoughts and plots against each other. It’s a journey into how easy it is to become paranoid. Another is The Devil Latch. It’s a story about the classic situation where good girls can’t help but be mesmerised by bad boys and this is a seriously creepy bad boy.

It’s not that horrible bad stuff happens. These are not blood and guts books…(sorry if you’re into that! ;p ) She just manages to edge her stories around the dark stuff without losing sight of reality and normality. But the stories are always facsinating. Sonya is just so good at seeing the subtle shadows in us all.

But she has also written a beautiful, moving gothic novel too, it’s called Black Foxes, and I managed to get my copy autographed by her. That was a moment – she’s really little(!), but has so much energy and you can see she is one of those people who just have so much going on in their heads that they have to get it out and manage to do so in such gripping way.

Well, I could write heaps more because Sonya has heaps more novels, but I’ll stop. I would love to know if there are any other Sonya groupies out there.

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One Response to “My favourite author – Sonya Hartnett”

  1. shigekuni Says:

    I became a Sonya groupie recently, upon finishing her novel surrender (my review here http://shigekuni.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/dead-mans-tales-sonya-hartnetts-surrender/). what a writer!

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