Honey Brown lives in country Victoria with her husband and two children. She is the author of three books: Red Queen, The Good Daughter and After the Darkness. Red Queen was published to critical acclaim in 2009 and won an Aurealis Award, and The Good Daughter was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award in 2011.
The future of books is a big challenge for anyone in these days, from authors to readers. As an author how do you see things change in the book universe? Which aspects do you think are going to move faster?
Changes in the book universe are similar to changes in the world in general - superseded in an instant, brief moments in the spotlight, short periods to shine. And the organic and sensory are being replaced with high tech and remote. It feels to me like the instability in the book world will continue a while yet, and then level out, and storytelling will find its place within the digital age and be as important and treasured as it always has been.
When readers talk about After the Darkness they always spent some words about the psychological suspense you are able to create. What does inspires you the most to create this kind of atmosphere?
I've always been drawn towards dark themes. I'm often inspired by something I'll read in the paper, a murder, or an abuse case. My mind goes looking for answers - how could a person do that? Why would a person do that? Are they good as well as being bad? Instead of hunting down the facts and looking outside myself for answers, I look inside myself. I create my own characters and setting, I introduce a crime or an assault, and I see what happens and how the characters respond. I try to gain understanding through fiction; it's a much a journey for me as it is (hopefully) for the reader.
What works better to grab the reader, in your experience?
Creating clear pictures and introducing conflict. Without rich visuals the reader won't become involved. Without conflict the reader won't turn the page. By creating a clear picture I don't mean pages of description - that can kill a visual image. Sometimes one line is enough to sum up a place or person.
What do you think about the current thriller stories? Which are the main quality you can see in them, today?
I'm not the best one to answer this question, because I read books to study technique and style, not for the story. I find it very hard to get swept up in a novel, and I'm not familiar with the current crop of thrillers.
I'd like you to give your best reading suggestions to our readers. Could you pick three titles that they can't miss?
After the answer I just gave above, I'm not sure the readers are going to have a lot of faith in my three picks! But here they are: The Long March by William Styron, The Quiet American by Graham Green, Lord of The Flies by William Golding.
And then, for those who are looking for good writing advices: do you have three tips for them?
Everyone has a different creative process, and tips and advice can sometimes damage a writer's self-belief, so I give these with the disclaimer - they may not suit you.
1. Don't talk about your story to everyone, write your story (make the page the only outlet for it).
2. Finish each book you start, and then start another one.
3. Think of your reader's mind as a movie screen, and you're the projectionist in charge of giving a great show.