It's a long road from beginning the writing of a novel to seeing it on the shelves. I sat down to write the first paragraph of Perfect North (which, at the time, I had titled 'The Ice Balloon') three and a half years ago. Today it hit bookstores and Big W outlets in Australia and New Zealand and I couldn't be happier. In the next few weeks my publishers take Perfect North to the Frankfurt Book Fair to begin selling it in other territories around the globe.
As the narrative is so heavily wrapped around a true story that is a part of Sweden's history, today my husband and I were invited to the Swedish Embassy in Canberra for morning tea with Ambassador Sven-Olof Petersson and his staff. Here's a picture of me with the very charming (and very tall) Ambassador.
We had a fascinating chat about the story of the tragic balloon voyage that acts as the engine room for the Perfect North narrative. The details of the expedition are still taught in some schools as part of their history curriculum, the embassy staff told us. And the Strindberg family still looms large in the social circles of Stockholm.
It was wonderful to see the factual parts of my novel through a different prism, through the eyes of people that represent the story's country of origin.
The embassy staff were thrilled about the idea of reading the novel and promised to tell me what they think of it. I'll keep you posted on their feedback.