Interview with Anne Gambling

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Gosh, I have no idea but it was probably something 'animal' like Black Beauty. I specifically remember the shock of reading Jonathan Livingstone Seagull at about 10, however. It was so completely deep and 'beyond' - I felt like I'd been punched in the chest but I couldn't figure out why. I actually wrote several chapters of a Newfoundland dog story in a similar 'voice' before realising it was useless to try to emulate perfection. :-)
How do you approach cover design?
For The Taste of Translation, the cover image was very important. It is a work of art by the father of a friend, who generously gave me permission to reproduce it. The painting spoke to me from the first moment I saw it in a retrospective exhibition of his work, and I knew it contained the same principles my book espouses - that we are one humanity with many faces woven into a rich carpet of sacred traditions across the world.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
It's impossible to limit it to five, but here's a few personal gems. Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises for the impact that it had on my 18-yr-old self (Brett's eyes that could look on and on after the whole world would have stopped looking); Wuthering Heights for the sheer passion embedded in Bronte's writing (Cathy's arm on the broken window glass is so brilliantly told that even my imagination is harrowed!); WS Sebald's The Rings of Saturn (such an extraordinary style of 'nested' telling which informs my own, by comparison, paltry work); Kerouac's boundless energy and ambition which he self-cut too soon, too tragically (The Dharma Bums is my fave); and Rosemary Wells' Bunny Planet series which I discovered when my kids were tiny. My personal favourite is The Island Light because I'm a sucker for lighthouses ... which reminds me that I need a sixth fave: Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. Wonderful!
What do you read for pleasure?
These days all my reading is for my work to share the insights of the great wisdom traditions of the world in support of furthering the conversation on peace consciousness ... yet that definitely is my greatest pleasure! Of course, the classics of literature also contain insights from the great wisdom traditions so they're definitely on the reading list. :-)
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an i-Pad which I find a useful size as I hold it 'landscape' format with two pages of text displayed. I like the sense that it 'mirrors' a book sitting in my lap.
Describe your desk
Messy, but creatively chaotic, I hope! I take comfort from Deleuze & Guattari's description of their writing process for 'A Thousand Plateaus' - similarly I find 'ant armies' getting up and wandering rhizomatically from one thematic 'node' to another, 'deterritorialising' as they go. It's a nomadic way of working, an interdisciplinary approach which can't help but be messy and unsystematic. Which is why most of my texts are about the journey rather than the destination ... I'm still trying to get there. :-)
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I'm an Aussie by birth but have lived in Europe the past fifteen years. Interestingly, however, this hasn't had a big impact on my writing. My work has always juxtaposed the inner landscape of the soul with the outer fabric of the terrain through which my characters journey and the situations they find themselves in. However, culturally there have been lessons to learn, and a lot of research needed (!) to be able to convey (outer) European settings with as much depth as my instinctive knowing of the Australian bush. The inner landscape of the soul is pretty universal. :-)
When did you first start writing?
I was always telling stories - I babbled to anyone and everyone (including imaginary friends) about anything and everything. Being able to put said stories down on paper needed to wait till I'd learnt to write, however. :-)
What's the story behind your latest book?
Do you mean my only Smashwords book? If you want to know the story behind anything I do, the best place to go is my website: www.nestedfishes.org.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I offer my work freely into the world. I have no interest in being part of the capitalist machine. I write about peace, love, compassion - these fundamental principles would be devalued by subscribing to a commercial imperative. Thanks to the miracle of Smashwords, I can create an e-book that looks good and can be shared via an established network, without editorial censorship of my truth, my way, my Jungian 'personal myth'. I am truly grateful.
Published 2014-06-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Anything but Still Lives: The Worlds of Edward Hopper
Price: Free! Words: 30,300. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: September 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
This collection of short fiction takes nine iconic Edward Hopper canvases and imagines a narrative beyond the frame of each ‘still life’, leading the reader on a journey through the interwar and later years of Hopper’s women, whose lives are anything but still, and whose experiences transcend the cultural and historical constraints of their all-too-human condition, as conjured by Hopper’s art.
The Taste of Translation
Price: Free! Words: 137,550. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: September 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
A Muslim princess learns to die to self, a Christian translator learns there are other ways to write, and a secular exile from the Bosnian War learns to open to her past in order to embrace the future. Across a shifting landscape spanning Europe and North Africa, and bridging more than six centuries, their pilgrimages to the centre of being tell a single story – of what it means to love.