On Thursday 9th of May, we had in store the marvelous Hannah Kent. She was signing copies of her book 'Burial Rites' for us and I thought this would be a great opportunity to get an interview with her. Hannah being the lovely person she is, agreed to answer a few questions.
Tarran - How long ago did you start writing Burial Rites?
Hannah - A long time ago. It was when I went over to Iceland for a student exchange program ten years ago that I first heard of Agnes and her story. Later when I was doing my PHD that gem of an idea became a novel. I researched for three years then it was about 6 months to write Burial Rites.
Tarran - How did you find out about the case?
Hannah- My foster exchange family told me about how the last person in Iceland to be executed was a woman when we were traveling one day in the first few months I was there. We went over an unusual natural landscape and there were three hills, and that is where Agnes was executed.
Tarran - Was the manuscript rejected before it was accepted?
Hannah - No, because the book won the Unpublished Manuscript Award then that got the publishers interested. I found an literary agent and they handled the rest. There was a rights auction overseas.
Tarran - What do you like to read?
Hannah - Mainly literary fiction, but I have started to read a bit of crime. I am reading Stigg Larrson at the moment. My favourite author though is Margaret Atwood.
Tarran - Have you got a name for your computer?
Hannah - No names for the computer. I photos of the area I am writing about and I have a clipping - you are not rude, on there. Also there is stickers from Eurovision that I put on there when I came home after a night out.
Tarran - How long does it take you to write a manuscript?
Hannah - Six months if I know the material, but it will generally take up to three years with research and then writing.
Tarran - What is next?
Hannah - I can't say too much but it will be set in Ireland in a similar time frame and will be even more loosely based on a real crime/trial again.
Tarran - Do you like writing about crime trials? Is that why you picked another one for your second book?
Hannah - I didn't know I would pick another one, but I heard about this case and an idea came for the story. It fascinates me, not so much the crime, but the psychological aspect of the whole thing.
I would like to thank Hannah for answering my questions and for coming in to sign for the store!! Please support a local author and a brilliant one at that! We have a competition to win a signed copy of Hannah's book. Simply tell us in 25 words or less in the comments section on this page what is the most fascinating crime case in history you have heard about. Competition closes 25th May 2013 and only open to Australian residents.