Today author Isobel Blackthorn shares with us the inspiration for her novel A Perfect Square. PLUS, to celebrate the re-release of this novel we have 2 ebook copies for worldwide giveaway.
Inspired By My Daughter
The inspiration for A Perfect Square came directly through my daughter and in a number of ways.
In 2015, Elizabeth was completing her degree in music at the University of Melbourne and in her honours year. She wanted to do something original and unusual. She was talking about Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries at the time, a book I had given her for her birthday. Our discussion triggered in me a curious idea. What if she tracked the outer planets of the solar system over a period of years, and then, using a simple astrological handbook as a guide, translated their geometric interactions with each other first into language, then music. It seemed logical enough. The planets move through time and so does music. Imagine how thrilled I was when she said yes!
It wasn’t long before I started to sense there was a lot more than an honour’s thesis in the idea.
As she wrote and composed, I started to tease out characters and a plot for a new work. I came up with a mother, Harriet Brassington-Smythe, an eccentric and somewhat pretentious artist who reminds me a little of Edina in ‘Absolutely Fabulous‘. Her best friend, Phoebe, is my version of Patsy, although there is no comparison to be made, other than the spirit of the friendships. Harriet has a daughter, and it was easy to conjure Ginny Smith, tall and slender like my own daughter, and with some of her attributes, not least her incisive mind.
When I started writing the novel, a plotline emerged that required another mother and her daughter. I had already written two short stories loosely based on when Elizabeth was a moody teenager. With her encouragement, I had been working on a novel version of those stories, a project I later shelved. Yet there they were, Judith and Madeleine, a mother and her wayward daughter, and they appeared to be a perfect fit. I re-worked those few chapters and incorporated them into the new work. Now I had two characters both loosely based on my daughter and some of her experiences.
The creation of these two daughters made me question if either of those mothers were anything like me. I’m still asking myself that.
I may have come up with the idea behind Elizabeth’s thesis, but it was she who, as a result of her research, explored the nature of creative flow. About what it was like to be completely immersed and fully present in a creative task. About how our anxieties, prejudices and foibles inhibit that flow. I pinched that idea too, like a literary thief, although with her permission and wholehearted endorsement. Many of the interactions between Harriet and Ginny arose out of Elizabeth’s conversations with me. It was a creative union, a meeting of minds, and as I wrote my version of the things she was telling me, so I explored those ideas and took them on board. As I did I learned that for many decades of my life my own creative flow had been thwarted because I was too busy getting in the way of it.
I will remain forever grateful to Elizabeth for teaching me the importance of flow. She alsow showed me we should never be too proud to learn from our daughters (or sons). A Perfect Square is a tribute to daughters everywhere, to the gifts they bring to their mothers.
Disclosure: If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission.
A Perfect Square Synopsis:
Across two continents, two sets of mothers and daughters are bound by a dark mystery.
On a winter’s day in the Dandenongs, Victoria, pianist Ginny returns home to stay with her eccentric mother and artist, Harriet. Consumed by disturbing dreams, speculations and remembering, she tries to prise from her mother the truth concerning her father’s disappearance and why, when she was seven, Harriet abducted her. In an effort to distract her daughter’s interrogations, Harriet proposes they collaborate on an exhibition of paintings and songs.
Meanwhile, on the edge of Dartmoor, Judith paints landscapes of the Australian Outback to soothe her troubled mind. Her wayward daughter, Madeleine, has returned home and she’s filled the house with darkness. Her father doesn’t want to know her. Judith wishes he did. When at last she forces the two to meet she breathes a sigh of relief.
Back in Australia, Ginny is poised to fly to England in search of the truth when she receives some earth-shattering news.
A novel brimming with mystery, intrigue, creativity, art and the occult.
What other people are saying about Isobel Blackthorn’s A Perfect Square:
“The author, like an artist slowly dabbing paint upon a canvas, methodically yet tauntingly brings to life complex, damaged characters, their pasts, their struggles to relate to each other and the paths they are set upon. I strongly recommend it.” — Michelle Saftich, author of Port of No Return
“A Perfect Square is a clever, thoughtful literary novel which still manages to have a cracking plot and complex characters. It should appeal to lovers of psychological thrillers too – think artistic Gone Girl.” — Kate Braithwaite, author of Charlatan.
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About the Author, Isobel Blackthorn
Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific novelist of intelligent, original fiction across a range of genres, including dark psychological thrillers, gripping mystery novels, captivating travel fiction, and hilarious dark satire. Isobel holds a PhD in Western Esotericism for her research into the texts of Alice A. Bailey, culminating in her biographical novel of the controversial Theosophist, The Unlikely Occultist. A Londoner originally, Isobel currently lives near Melbourne, Australia, with her little white cat.
International eBook Giveaway
We have 2 ebook copies of Isobel Blackthorn’s A Perfect Square to giveaway.
- Open worldwide, entries close midnight 21 December 2018
- You can also improve your chance of winning by spreading the word via Twitter , Pinterest/Instagram and Facebook/Google+/Webpage
- The 2 winners will be randomly selected and announced on our Facebook Page.
SORRY, ENTRIES CLOSED – See winners announcement.