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Interview with Kathryn O’Halloran, author of Carnival Nights

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Carnival Nights is a collection of short stories about the dreams we hide inside ourselves and the consequences of realising those dreams. With a tinge of the surreal, these stories explore those pivotal moments of life.

Hidden dreams?
Our unspoken ambitions whether overt or the dreams we don’t even acknowledge to ourselves.  The first story, Canteloupe, is about a country boy who goes to the city for the first time as a youngster and is enthralled by the things he sees. When he finally returns, nothing is like he remembers but a chance meeting changes all that.  While Dreams is about a girl who knows something is off balance in her life but doesn’t know quite what.  I wrote it after seeing some graffiti saying ‘don’t be tentative in your dreams’ when I was commuting to work one morning.  It got me thinking about how dreams are tentative and where that would lead.

What genre are these stories? And what kind of characters people them?
Literary short fiction.

These are characters on the cusp of change.

Do you have a favourite story in the collection? Tell us about it.
It’s hard to pick a favourite but in the story, Beach, I use a lot of the details about the beachside town I used to visit.  My Nan had a shack at the beach so we’d spend every summer there.  I think it has a much more identifiably Australian setting than a lot of the stories I write.

Speaking of which, this seems nothing like The Bad Girls’ Club, which we interviewed you about last time.
I think it’s more literary in style than The Bad Girls’ Club (ie. less funny) but I think the idea of finding the courage to be the person you want to be is a common thread.  And, within that, the pressure from others to conform and stay the same can be strong.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Melbourne, Australia and have a boring office job but at night, all my imaginary friends come out to play.  When people ask “what did you do on the weekend?” I tell them I stayed at home doing nothing but little do they know the worlds I play in.

Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?
http://kathrynohalloran.blogspot.com

How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?
@projectkathryn
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kathryn-OHalloran-Writing/456806177710629

What’s next?
I’m off to Japan in September to research my next novel.  Yay!

Tell us more.
I have been working on this book forever! I really like the idea of a Western woman living in Nagasaki in the 1800s.  I think there are quite a few stories of white men in Asia but not about women.  It’s a story with a touch of romance but also about her fight for independence from the restrictions of Victorian society.

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