About Felicity Pulman
I grew up (a long time ago!) in a small bush town in Africa. No TV, iPods, computer games and surfing the internet – you could say I had a very deprived childhood! Not so. Instead, for entertainment I learned to read. Books became my windows to the world: they told me about dragons and fairies and magic. They told me about other countries and other cultures. They told me about myself. And I have never stopped reading, because I love stories.
I guess I always did things back to front – the hard way! In Africa, when I ran out of books to read, I wrote my own. I love writing stories, but I never thought about it as a grownup occupation. As a grownup, I had to go back to school to find out that I really was a writer. After doing the HSC at the age of 40, I went on to do a BA (Communications) degree at UTS. My major was creative writing, and suddenly I found myself experimenting with all sorts of genres and, in particular, writing the sorts of stories that I love to read – crime and timeslip fantasy back into the past.
I then went on to do an MA in Children's Literature at Macquarie University, during which time two novels for children were published: Three's a Crowd (written under the pseudonym Anne Holmes) published by Pan Macmillan, and Ghost Boy, now published by Random House Australia. Wally the Water Dragon (Blake Education) and Surfing the Future (Wendy Pye NZ) came next.
Then my beloved dog, Bonnie, died, and out of that sad and dreadful time came the Shalott trilogy (published by Random House Australia). In these three novels, five teenagers zap back in time to the court of King Arthur with the intention of rewriting the legend in order to save Camelot and also save the life of 'The Lady of Shalott'. Everything goes wrong and, instead, they find they're actually creating part of the legend while also rewriting their lives and their future. Read the poem 'The Lady of Shalott' by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
After the Shalott trilogy, I cast about for another fascinating piece of Australian history to write about (as I had for Ghost Boy) but I discovered that my heart, and my dreaming, were still in medieval England. And so The Janna Mysteries were born, combining my love of crime and medieval time in an exciting romance set in the 1140's: a time of civil war and great danger in England's history.
One thing I really enjoy about writing is researching the places where my books are set. I spent a lot of time at the Quarantine Station in Sydney when writing Ghost Boy, which has a flashback to the grim and grisly conditions there during a smallpox outbreak in 1881.
To research the Shalott trilogy, I followed 'the Arthurian trail' in the UK, looking at many of the sites associated with King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. Click on the images below to see 'the sacred Isle of Avalon' and 'Arthur's grave' at Glastonbury.
See Felicity's Wikipedia page.
These two photos show the site of King Arthur's grave among the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey
I visited England three times to research my medieval crime series for teenagers, The Janna Mysteries. Originally published by Random House Australia and Create Space, the six books have been retitled The Janna Chronicles, to be published as e-books and pb by Momentum Books, one every month, as from mid-January 2015. Look out for: #1: Blood Oath; #2 Stolen Child; #3 Unholy Murder; #4 Pilgrim of Death; #5 Devil's Brew and #6 Day of Judgment.
I've also been lucky enough to win the inaugural Di Yerbury writer's residency and will spend three months in the UK in 2015 researching and writing my sequel to I, Morgana, with the working title: Return to Camelot.
The Janna Mysteries are on the Victorian Premier's Reading Challenge list.
I began Hearts in Chains (since retitled A Ring Through Time), a time-slip story for teenagers, while on a May Gibbs Fellowship in Adelaide. The novel is set partly during the convict past at Norfolk Island, and I've had several wonderful research trips there. In 2013 it won the Society of Women Writers biennial book award in the Junior Fiction/YA category.
A Ring Through Time recently received a Highly Commended in the Davitt Awards, presented by Sisters in Crime Melbourne.
My latest novel I, Morgana is a rewriting of the 'wicked witch' of Arthurian legend, telling the story from Morgana's point of view. I've recently been award the Di Yerbury writer's residency which means I'll be able to spend 3 months in the UK in 2015 researching and writing the sequel to I, Morgana, with the working title Return to Camelot. I, Morgana is published by Momentum Books Australia – read more about the novel and some of the reviews on the I, Morgana page.
I am a member of several speakers' agencies, with many years' experience talking to students, teachers and librarians, and at writers' festivals in NSW and interstate about researching and writing my novels. I am also available to conduct writing workshops in various genres for both children and adults. Genres include writing a short story, creating a fantasy 'Otherworld', writing from history, life writing, and devising crimes and mysteries. I've conducted workshops around Australia for Writers Centres, the Fellowship of Australian Writers, the Society of Women Writers and other organisations including Petrea King's Quest for Life. Please visit my Workshops and Visits page to find out more about what I can offer your school or organisation. Please visit my Bookings page to make a booking.