I’m so pleased to introduce you to Kate Murdoch, the author of Stone Circle, a historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy.
As you’ll read in this essay, writing wasn’t Kate’s first artistic pursuit. Prior to becoming an author, Kate had exhibited widely as a painter. However, after a demoralising interview, she reassessed her life and career:
‘It helps to remain open to growth, even if it means swapping mediums and changing direction.’
These days, you’ll find her writing historical fiction, as well as short stories and flash fiction. Her second novel, The Orange Grove, about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in 18th century France, will be published by Regal House Publishing in 2019.
From Painting to Writing—Change and the Creative Path
Sometimes a decision is made not through concrete choice, but with a slow realisation. This was how I changed from being a visual artist to an author.
A key moment stands out. I had been an artist in residence at a wonderful inner city gallery for a year, painting in the space once a week and talking to patrons when they visited. After fourteen years exhibiting and with a string of prize shows behind me, I felt as if life couldn’t get any better.
Then the gallery closed down. It was time to find a new home for my work and I approached various galleries to join their ‘stable.’ One day I had an interview with the director of a suburban gallery. At the time my children were small, so my mother arrived to take care of them and I packed the car with half a dozen paintings.
When I arrived at the gallery, a harried woman, who looked like she might run a school tuckshop, introduced herself as the director’s assistant. She told me her boss had been held up and couldn’t make the meeting. She would interview me.
‘(She) cocked her head at my abstract work, proclaiming, ‘I’m not mad on the pink.’ It was one of the more basic critiques I had received in my career.’
As we spoke, it dawned on me that she was from the ‘I know what I like’ school of art appreciation. She didn’t seem well informed and cocked her head at my abstract work, proclaiming, ‘I’m not mad on the pink.’ It was one of the more basic critiques I had received in my career.
Soon after the director called and delivered the bad news. She told me I was very accomplished and ‘Don’t give up.’
For some reason, the unsolicited advice made me want to do the opposite. I’d never considered giving up, having followed the path to being an artist since I was eight years old. It hadn’t seemed an option. All of a sudden, the possibility invigorated me. The demoralising interview and years of creative highs and lows coalesced in my mind. I needed a change, but at that point I didn’t know what form it would take.
‘At its core was a desire to understand both my experiences and those of others. To find out what underpins actions, emotions and situations.’
Some months later I started a story, a supernatural thriller. I told a few friends about my new endeavour, and they all thought it was peculiar. But the kernel of writerly ambition grew as fast as my manuscript. Before I knew it, I had a writers’ group, a stash of short stories and a determination that eclipsed all my years as an artist. At its core was a desire to understand both my experiences and those of others. To find out what underpins actions, emotions and situations. Of course, these questions still motivate me, and my short fiction and two novels have been satisfying explorations.
So it was in the process of writing that I decided to write, in the freshness and revelation. This is the most exciting way to make a change, because it relies on instinct.
Seven years later I stood at my book launch and spoke about my debut historical fantasy novel, ‘Stone Circle.’ It was the most thrilling of surprises, but one that had taken persistence and strength garnered from years as a painter. The creative path is never easy, but it helps to remain open to growth. Even if it means swapping mediums and changing direction.
DUTCH RIGHTS TO ‘THE SISTERS’ SONG’ HAVE BEEN SOLD!
In case you missed the news last week, the Dutch rights to ‘The Sisters’ Song’ have been bought by the publishing house, Uitgeverij Mozaiek. I’m rather thrilled that the sisters will be going to The Netherlands!
Because the website of Uitgeverij Mozaiek is in Dutch, I’ve had to rely on Google to translate for me. From what I’ve read, and from looking at the other titles on their list, it sounds like the sisters will be in very good hands.
I’ll be sure to keep you posted!
MOTHERS DAY GIVEAWAY
Slip over to my Facebook page for details on how to enter my giveaway for Mothers Day. Up for grabs are TWO copies of ‘The Sisters’ Song’, one for you and one for your mother or someone you think of as a mother.
Click on image or HERE for details.
My latest newsletter is out!
Because it’s been a couple of months since the last one, I had lots of news and photos, as well as details of festivals and author talks that are coming up.