CHARACTER DRIVEN: Author Annah Faulkener.
CHARACTER DRIVEN: Author Annah Faulkener. Alan Hughes

Award-winning author still struggles to write

HER work has won many prestigious awards and numerous literary accolades but Coolum author Annah Faulkner says she finds writing difficult.

Her debut novel, The Beloved, won the Queensland Premier's Literary Award for an Emerging Queensland Author in 2011, was commended for the

FAW Christina Stead Award, won the Kibble Literary Award and

was shortlisted for the 2013 Miles Franklin Award.

These are honours any author would be over the moon about, and Annah is indeed that, yet still she says she finds it hard to get down to the business of writing.

"Before I tackle the keyboard I don't find it easy," she said.

"I do anything I can (to avoid the keyboard), especially when I am stuck where I don't know where to go next (with the writing), when I think I am stupid, think I should be looking for a job cleaning or waitressing.

"At that point everything else seems right, even cleaning toilets and emptying dog dishes."

Just as well Annah perseveres with her writing as both her novels, The Beloved and Last Day in the Dynamite Factory are lyrical works that sweep the reader into their pages from the first sentence.

Although Annah came to publication later in her life, she began writing in her teens with sporadic bursts of poetry and short stories published in newspapers and magazines.

But as it is with so many young talents, work got in the way, a living had to be earned, which meant a regular job and the back-burner for the indulgence of writing.

However, work as an administrative assistant did not engage Annah and she studied traditional Chinese medicine and ran her own practice.

Eventually a desire to convey the effects of emotions on disease led her to write a non-fiction manual from the traditional Chinese medicine perspective, which reignited her passion for writing and in 2000 she wrote and published a short humorous biography, Frankly Speaking.

With the writing flowing, she then wrote The Blood of Others, a 5000-word story published in 2007.

Now there isn't any stopping the literary flow, the publishers can't wait for her next manuscript and readers hang out for her next book.

Both The Beloved and Last Day at the Dynamic Factory are character- driven, both not plotted.

"I never plot in advance," Annah said.

"The characters are what drive both books.

"If you are writing a character-driven novel and force your character to do something he doesn't want to do, he won't, you get stuck."

While such prestigious recognition for her work has fired Annah, she still finds it all humbling.

"I am tremendously honoured with the awards," she said.

"It started with the Queensland Premier's Literary Award in 2011. I nearly did not enter.

"I was away, emailed a friend and told her I'd seen there was a Premier's award, asked her to print off a copy (of the manuscript) and send it in.

"I didn't think any more about it.

"I was overseas when I got a phone call asking when I was coming back (for the award).

"I was just gobsmacked. I can't tell you how stunned I was.

"To win was a wild dream.

"When I was long-listed (for the Miles Franklin) my publisher rang me.

"I was in a Vietnamese restaurant in Brisbane and I didn't know what to do with myself.

"I shrieked, all the diners got a fright.

"I don't think any of them knew what the Miles Franklin Award was."

Annah is working on her third novel, again not plot but character- driven, and does not want to talk about it yet for fear that talking too much might hold her back.

But she does reveal it has a Sunshine Coast background.


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