Monday, August 22, 2011



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GMTA: When I read that you used the last name Freeman which was your grandmother's maiden name as your surname for this book I knew she had to be much like the women you write about. Can you tell us more about her?

KIMBERLEY: Stella Freeman, who became Stella Spencer, was born in 1908 in Sydney. I found a picture of her once, in the 1920s. She had a sharp bob cut, and was sitting on the grass glancing over her shoulder with a mischievous smile on her face. I remember thinking, "Wow, Grandma, what a surprise you are." To me, she had always seemed old-fashioned and sweet, but this woman I was looking at had fire in her belly: I could see it. It was that picture that started me thinking about writing Wildflower Hill, a story about a granddaughter who learns some surprising secrets about her Nanna.

GMTA: There can never been enough literature about strong women in my opinion, are there other women in your life besides your grandmother that you look up to?

KIMBERLEY: My literary agent, Selwa Anthony, comes immediately to mind. She has been an inspiration to me the entire 15 years I've known her. She is smart, tough, feisty, but so warm and generous. She operates her business with incredible heart and is a legendary success here in Australia. And she's also fit and well-dressed and glamorous. She breaks the mold on every level. I also agree ENTIRELY about literature with strong women in it. I still remember, as a child searching for books in the library that used the word "headstrong" on the back cover blurb. I loved stories about spirited girls, and still do.

GMTA: How did you come up with the story behind "Wildflower Hill"?

KIMBERLEY: I knew I wanted to write a cross-generational saga, and just needed the link between the two women. The idea of a house came to mind, but I didn't want it to be just any house. I wanted it to be a place of work, of dreams, of sorrow, and of joy. I love Tasmania, and did some searching around about old farms on the island, and found a place called Fonthill. The moment I saw it, I knew it would make the perfect setting for Wildflower Hill.

GMTA: Were you in London long after you were born or did your family move to Brisbane, Australia immediately after?

KIMBERLEY: I was in London until I was four. I have very few recollections of it from that time, though I have been back since and it's a wonderful city. The small town north of Brisbane where I grew up could not have been more different from London. It was on the seaside, and all the houses had gigantic back yards and mango trees. There was lots of space and light.

GMTA: Can you tell us a little more about your family, your mother and father?

KIMBERLEY: My father is now dead, sadly. He was an alcoholic, and cirrhosis of the liver killed him when he was just 52. My mother is still going strong at 73. She is a very patient, warm woman. She is my rock. Last year, she fulfilled a lifelong dream of finishing a novel. It was so much fun to read!

GMTA: You are a Professor now at University of Queensland, do you find it challenging to teach literature and creative writing?

KIMBERLEY: I actually find it easy. I have written 22 books (most are published under my other name, Kim Wilkins) so there are few creative writing problems that I don't have an answer for. And as for teaching literature, well who is better qualified to understand how it's constructed than a person who creates it all day every day? My special area of interest, by the way, is early medieval literature: very, very different from Wildflower Hill. I could tell you a thing or two about Beowulf ;).

GMTA: You seem to enjoy many genres when it comes to writing do you have a personal favorite? And if you had to choose to write just one what would it be?

KIMBERLEY: I would not be able to choose a genre. The stories bubble up from deep inside me: sometimes they have ghosts and dragons, and sometimes they don't. Either way, I can't just push them back down. They'd probably make me explode! The beauty of writing as Kimberley Freeman is that I can stay here in the real world, and I have to create narrative interest out of real-world things: like difficult choices that women have to make, or family secrets, or challenges we can all relate to. But I do love writing fantasy as well, and I'm completely obsessed with viking mythology.

GMTA: You are an author that is published worldwide and has won many awards tell us about the awards you've won.

KIMBERLEY: I have mostly won awards for my fantasy writing (as Kim Wilkins), and most of them have been in Australia. But I have also won romance writing awards, and a few academic awards too. It is always lovely to win something, but I don't do anything with the intention of it being "award-winning". I'm just flat out trying to get my thoughts on paper.

GMTA: What is next for you in writing? Do you have a novel in the works?

KIMBERLEY: I am just past halfway in the next Kimberley Freeman novel, working title "Isabella's Gift". It's about a shipwreck in 1901 off the coast of Australia, a lost treasure, and a woman in the present who is trying to piece together the old mystery.

GMTA: Do you have any advice you'd like to share with other aspiring authors?

KIMBERLEY: Read a lot and write a lot. There is nothing else to it.

Stay tuned for a giveaway in September of "Wildflower Hill" here on Great Minds Forum and Facebook.

You can also find Kimberley's book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other book stores around the net!

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