Author Anna George talks fast but writes slow. Living bayside with her husband and two kids, she’s been holidaying on the Peninsula for about 25 years and has no aversion to popping down to Mount Martha these days for a dip and a sip. Writing her third novel, she admits to every writer’s nemesis – procrastination – but somehow slogs on through the day while the kids are at school and occasionally into the night to get the job done. Her third book, set to be released next year, covers family, gender and the internet, but it is her second novel, 2017’s The Lone Child, that we are here to talk about.
Set in the wild and woolly seaside town of Flinders, where natural beauty and wealth weave intrinsically together, The Lone Child is about parenting, judgement, loss, love and connection. Anna has always been interested in psychology and what makes the mind morph and move. She is also connected to the rugged coastline where many of her happiest memories were made. Her beloved Flinders, where Easters and long weekends were spent with family and friends, was the ideal spot to place her main character, Neve – a first-time mum who has been left to raise her newborn son solo.
Anna explains: “My parents bought a house in Flinders many years ago and it just seemed the right place to set the book. It’s isolated just like Neve, who has been left by her partner. The story takes place over a long weekend in a clifftop house where Neve, alone with her newborn baby, connects with a stranger’s daughter, Jessie, who seems to be neglected. And Neve makes some unexpected decisions. None of us know what we are doing when we become parents, let alone when we are sleep-deprived and alone. People judge you. People look for ways to connect.”
Anna has been writing for a quarter of a century. She quit her job as a young solicitor to write, has worked in the legal publishing and investigative sectors and also in the film and television industries. Now as a mother of two she spends most of her time writing books. Her first novel, What Came Before, was shortlisted for the 2015 Ned Kelly and Sisters in Crime Best Debut Fiction awards and longlisted for the 2016 International Dublin Literary Award. Who knows what’s next?
Anna concludes: “I’ve always juggled part-time work with writing but it’s what I do most of the time now.” She’s just done an author’s talk at Hastings Library too. Check out The Lone Child for some first-hand Flinders-inspired atmosphere.