Sunni Overend & The Dangers Of Truffle Hunting

One of my favourite authors has a new book coming out and you need to order it.

In the mean time, here’s a little interview with Sunni Overend.
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1. When did you discover your love for words?

I think more than my love for words, I discovered my love for stories. I wrote a little when I was growing up, but I was mostly interested in design and acting. I was accepted in to both courses at university but decided on design – only now do I realise that my love for  acting was probably more a love for storytelling and make-believe. A few years after I graduated, I was in the middle of a book when I realised how blissful I felt – it was honestly a lightbulb moment. I thought: if I create my own stories, I can be lost in other times, places and people all the time. I started writing my first novel and the addiction persists.

 

2. Are there any authors or books that inspired you to write women’s fiction?

I’m currently on a war path to slay the term “women’s fiction” as although it’s a good reference point (I’ve used the term frequently myself), I’m just so over women’s stuff being segregated from the what’s considered central. Plus, “women’s fiction” makes no sense – what even defines it? (See my Huffington Post rant Dec 19th 2016!)
In terms of telling women’s stories, there are so many amazing feminine storytellers who inspire me – you included, Summer! Films, television series, memoirs, art, novels – it all adds up to a bit of a creativity cocktail that I get drunk on. Books and storytellers I love include: Chocolat by Joanne Harris, Vagina by Naomi Wolf, How to Be Woman by Caitlin Moran, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple, Jane Austen, Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, Shonda Rhimes .. so many more! Male writers and creators are an equal inspiration but I find that women’s stories are currently central to my narratives.

 

3. You’re so eloquent when it comes to describing food and alcohol. Do you draw your inspiration from any wineries/ restaurants in particular?

Well the physical design of the Gossard Range cellar door and winery building in The Dangers of Truffle Hunting was based on an actual Napa Valley winery designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. Some of the buildings in the fictional Barossa estate were modelled on designs by Melbourne-based Whiting Architects. Overall I didn’t hone in on any singular place for inspiration, it’s more the overall essence of a place like the Yarra Valley – where I grew up and where the book is partially set – that inspires. I was inspired by a number of food photographer’s work for this story, particularly Katie Quinn Davies!

 

4. Which came first, the plot or the characters? I feel like Kit has so much depth and it’s like she existed before she went on her journey to satiate her hunger in The Dangers Of Truffle Hunting….

The central character comes first – I think it’s his/her soul that appears and then I have to write out their story for them. Kit’s character was fuelled in part by events taking place amongst my peers at the time, but she was her own person – her needs and eccentricities developing as her story evolved. I have to keep learning as a writer that I can’t impose too much of my own thought on my characters – that’s when the story starts to feel contrived. You really have to go with what these make-believe people are telling you they want to do.

5. Are you drawn to any of your characters in particular? (I loved Marc and Kit’s relationship!)

I love Marc, too. Some of his characteristics may be based on one of my own brothers, so I have a huge soft spot for him and the relationship he shares with sister Kit. The character of Rosa also spoke to me a lot. Her character came like an internal maternal voice – an accumulation of all the wise women I’ve known – so I enjoyed our time spent together. Need I also say that I was drawn to the wild man in the shearers’ quarters? [Lol]

 

6. Will there be a sequel?!

No sequel planned! I’m not sure I’ll ever write a sequel to anything – but never say never!

 

7. What are you currently reading?

I’ve just picked up The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg. “For more than thirty years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago. But now things are splintering apart, for one reason, it seems: Edie’s enormous girth”. I’m hoping that this last line means it’s going to be hilarious (I’ll be pissed if it isn’t).

 

8. Bonus question for aspiring writers: What’s your favourite writing advice/ tip you’ve ever received?

My mother was the first to offer me the classic “show don’t tell” – which I love. Sometimes I can’t figure out if I’m showing or telling but I usually get there in the end, haha. I also remember my previous literally agent Lyn Tranter suggesting I read my work aloud to gauge authenticity – I still do that sometimes and it really works when you’re lacking perspective.

 

Click Here To Pre-Order The Dangers Of Truffle Hunting 

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