Today we travel to Raymond Terrace in Australia to chat with Kim Rigby about how the Royal Australian Navy, Lupus, tropical fish, the realms of spirituality, Billy Connolly, a sense of community, roller skating, singing, Monet, and Sydney Harbour play roles in Kim’s current and past life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Australian, and I live in a small town called Raymond Terrace, near Newcastle in New South Wales (approximately two hours north of Sydney). Raymond Terrace has been home for the past two years, but I’ve lived in many places in Australia, thanks in no small part to twelve years in the Royal Australian Navy. I’m married for the second time, with no children as I have the autoimmune condition Lupus. I’m the doting fur mum of a grey cat called Max, and of numerous tropical fish!
In which genre do you write?
For the past few years, I’ve written a fantasy adventure series called The Black Fire Chronicles. It started off being middle grade, but it seems my stories are ageing along with the readers, and they are now aimed at young adults and adults.
How many published books do you have?
There are currently five books in the series, plus a novella prequel.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
I was young, probably eight years old. My brothers were much older than me and not interested in playing with their little sister, so life at home was filled with books. I also had a wonderful school teacher who read to us all the time. I caught up with him 20 years ago, and he presented me with a story I wrote in 1979. It was a blatant rip-off of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but it was the start of all my scribbles!
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading The Healer’s Awakening, an ARC historic women’s novel by the lovely Helen Pryke. This is the third in the series, and I love the gentle overlapping of time and place in each of the books, and the growing story of the healers, their triumphs and tragedies.
I’m also reading The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig. This man has a stunning writing style, and he’s my new idol.
Camilla: I’ve got The Midnight Library on hold at the library. Can’t wait until it’s my turn.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
My books revolve around hero Andrew Adler, his extraordinary pets Ralph (and Winston in my work-in-progress), and his human guardians Dorothy, Patrick, and Angus. I wrote Patrick the War Man in 2020 about a man who experienced nearly all theatres of war in the 20th Century through a trick of time. Patrick believed war was the answer to his own anguish. Instead he discovered, friendship, loss, and love. The book is part homage to my own grandfather, who fought at Gallipoli, and part homage to the men and women who have silently served in the defence force.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
When I’m not writing or reading, you’ll find me in the garden, or pursuing knowledge within the realms of spirituality and self-help. I strive to become a better person, as I feel change must start within ourselves.
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’d love to sit down with Billy Connolly. He’s the consummate storyteller, famous but with immense humility, and now a certain fragility due to Parkinson’s Disease. I could learn a lot from him, and have a laugh along the way!
What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?
A sense of community with other writers. I’m a fairly shy person, so finding myself in a number of writer’s groups and pages has made all the difference. I’m deeply grateful to Helen Pryke Domi, Sarah Northwood, Kayleigh Louise Brown, and many others who have extended an extremely long arm of friendship all the way to Australia!
Camilla: I agree with you about the sense of community and the lovey group that Helen and the other ladies have created. That’s how you and I met, too!
List 3 interesting facts about yourself.
I learned to roller skate when I was five, but I’m still absolutely rubbish at riding a bike.
I was a soccer goalkeeper at university, because no one else wanted to do it!
I love singing! I had a good voice, but if fails me sometimes, as my vocal chords were damaged when my thyroid was removed in 2011.
If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?
Hands down I’d turn into Andrew Adler’s kooky neighbour, Dorothy Jordan. Dorothy’s childhood was my childhood, but I envy Dorothy’s ability to time step and visit Monet in his glorious garden, and Vita Sackville-West in her famous White garden at Sissinghurst.
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
My favourite places always involve some form of history, so for me it’s Sydney. You’ll find Sydney popping up in my stories again and again because there are many places where you can stop and imagine yourself stepping into the past. This overlap of time and history has always fascinated me, and you’ll see examples of this in The Rocks area, the older suburbs like Balmain and Paddington, and down by the water on Sydney Harbour.
What are you currently working on?
My current WIP is a continuation of hero Andrew Adler’s story. In The Black Fire Chronicles – The Hag, Andrew discovers he is a key figure in an ancient prophecy. Meanwhile, his personal life is torn apart by the reappearance of a dark and devious character, the Hag. Who is she, and why does she plague Andrew and his guardians? And who is her new and dangerous henchman? If you like a fantasy adventure with love, loss, time travel, and history, The Hag will be out early 2021.
Which book should we read first in the series?
Start reading The Black Fire Chronicles – Origins.
It was lovely learning more about you and your writing style, Kim. Wishing you all the best and I look forward to our blossoming friendship! – Camilla
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