Loreless Revisited: A Debut Novel One Year On
I published my debut novel, Loreless, just over a year ago.
So much has happened since then.
I have been floating around in my fantasy world for months and haven’t paid a great amount of attention to the book that started it all: Loreless.
That was until today.
I made a new discovery.
But first a little bit of backstory.
Loreless set me on the path I am now following–a career as a professional writer. The idea for the story kept me occupied for most of my adult life, it never let me go.
It wasn’t until I actually sat down to write it that my world changed. Without this story I would not be busy writing new ones.
If I think about it, I am truly indebted to what Loreless has given me.
To this day the story continues to fascinate people.
A great deal of my income is derived from selling my books one-to-one. The lions share of books I have sold in this fashion have been Loreless.
When I meet a new reader they will invariably want to start at the beginning. They are interested in the story that started it all.
Over recent months my mind has been elsewhere. I have concentrated all my efforts on creating my witch story. In some way Loreless had been filed away.
That was until I met a fellow nomad.
This nomad is someone like me who has no sense of home. Someone who is interested in ancient cultures. In actual fact, he is studying anthropology.
The people I am meeting during my artist-in-residence continues to amaze me.
This fellow resident told me about an Australian who had a deep affinity with Australian indigenous culture.
It came as a bit of a surprise to me. Although I extensively researched indigenous culture before writing Loreless, I never came across this person.
His name is William Edward Hanley Stanner.
What shocked me was that Bill Stanner’s actions were fundamental in changing Australia’s perception of indigenous culture.
I couldn’t believe I had not discovered his story earlier.
Stanner was special. He worked tirelessly to establish a greater understanding of indigenous culture in “white” Australia. He influenced government policy to such an extent that, due in part to his efforts, the Australian constitution was changed.
They were finally given the same rights as other Australians.
Beforehand indigenous Australians were almost considered sub-human. They were not counted in the census, nor given the right to vote.
Officially they were recognised as “native flora and fauna” and not as people.
How shameful is that?
Scanner also coined the phrase: The Great Australian Silence.
His writing on the subject lead to greater understanding, and to what extent, the plight of indigenous people had been covered up. He called it a “cult of disremembering”.
In some ways this attitude to indigenous Australian history continues today.
What I am finding is that Loreless is helping to achieve similar things. It is informing people about the existence of indigenous people.
Many foreigners live under the same misconception as some Australians. They believe Australian indigenous culture is dead.
Incredibly, Australian government policies have had an effect on perceptions about indigenous people on a worldwide scale. Some foreigners are even surprised to hear that Indigenous Australians still exist.
It is reassuring that Loreless is doing its job. The main aim behind the novel was, and still is, to introduce people to indigenous culture.
I am no Bill Stanner, but hope in some small way what I have written can help to open people’s eyes.
Even better would be if it also helped them open their mouths and put an end to the silence.
Have you made any new discoveries through reading or writing?
Leave a comment below or join my mailing list and let me know.