Interview with Tangea Tansley

How did you come to write Out of Place?
That Out of Place has come to be at all is due to two fantastic women: Terri-ann White, now publisher of the University of Western Australia Press, and Carol Major, writing consultant at Varuna, the Writers House in New South Wales.

The story started as an Honours dissertation at UWA for which Terri-ann was my supervisor. At our first interview she tossed out my carefully thought-up ideas: 'Too forced, just write what comes into your head, let the story write itself onto the page'. When I sat down to do just that I found that the whole experience of the year and a half or so I spent in Saudi Arabia came pouring out and the dissertation went on to score a First Class Honours.

Later as "Lines in the Sand" it was shortlisted from 540 other entries in the Penguin-Varuna manuscript competition. When it didn't make the final cut, I took a Professional Development course at Varuna to work on it -- and Carol did a great job of critiquing the manuscript and helping me to develop my ideas.
But Saudi was some time ago, wasn't it? Why didn't you write it sooner?
Yes, I was there in the late Seventies. But in those early days I had young children and then, immediately following my time in Saudi, a pretty full-on career as managing editor for an American military magazine in Hong Kong to think very much about my own writing. And later, after my second husband died, I was too busy keeping my Ridgebacks in bones and food on my own table to indulge in what I still regard as the luxury of writing full-length fiction.I did continue to write short stories, though, followed by several non-fiction books and then the historical novel A Break in the Chain.
How much work did you have to do to turn the dissertation into a novel?
Untold rewrites! In fact, the published version bears almost no relation to the story shorts that made up the original study. But it gave me a good skeleton on which to build a story.
Something that always interests me. How much of you is in the novel?
I try to identify with all my characters -- even those I don't like! -- so there's definitely something of me in them all, men as well as women. But I deliberately stay away from people I know -- which is not to say that things people have said and incidents that have happened don't seep into my stories. A good analogy -- because for me getting a new book out is always an emotional experience -- is one's own children. They hold a little of our stamp in their genetic make-up and their upbringing, but as they grow up they go on to be completely their own people. Sometimes I see glimpses of myself in my children, but most of the time I am aware that I have to work to keep up with their developing personalities. Similarly with rewrites -- what starts out as one thing gains its own personality to live in its own right.
How would you describe Out of Place?
A rather intense psychological study of trying to live up to expectations -- other people's and one's own -- and the battering of identity in the process. A group of bored and frustrated women, there to support their husbands and to chase the money dream, on a mixed-gender gated compound in the middle of the Saudi desert. You can draw your own conclusions.
Who is it likely to appeal to in terms of target market?
I'm tempted to say women, both those who have experienced that part of the world and those who haven't. But it's generated a fair amount of enthusiasm in the male readers who have been kind enough to read and comment on the manuscript.
How can people get hold of it?
The e-book will be released on all Smashwords platforms on November 1.
Published 2014-10-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Out of Place
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 66,360. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
When, finally, Dana Novotny turns her back on her own career to join her husband Dekker on a company camp in Saudi Arabia, she smothers her apprehension with the conviction that she is doing the right thing. Out of Place is an intense psychological drama about trying to live up to expectations – a story of the intimate lives of ordinary people, their passions, secrets and all-too-human frailties.
Our Grand Design: The highs and lows of building in a boom
Price: $3.25 USD. Words: 54,070. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Do-it-yourself / general
Join us on our journey as we build our ideal home (a) to our own design (b) on a limited budget (c) in the middle of a boom. With hindsight, any one of these steps would have presented a challenge; taken together, it turned out to be something more than that...