I’m super excited and just a little bit spooked to be reading from my dark psychological thriller, The Cabin Sessionson The Panic Room Radio Show, hosted by horror/bizarro author and blog radio personality James H Longmore and Dark Poet Princess Xtina Marie.
The question for me is, which segment? Well here’s the weird bit. I recall a section I really like, bring up my Mobi file on my Tablet, scroll along at random…and somehow manage to land on the exact page.
I didn’t plan to write a horror novel. Not at first. Although the elements were there from the start.
The genesis of The Cabin Sessions began in 2012, during a period of my life in which I attended an open mic every Wednesday night without fail. The open mic was held in a log cabin up in the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne, Australia. I was living with the host, Scottish troubadour and gifted songwriter, Alex Legg. Every Wednesday, I would help him carry in the gear. I drank the rider. At the end of the night, making sure I didn’t stagger, I would help pack up.
That year, I was writing short stories in between being Alex’s groupie. I had yet to write my first novel, probably because I was having too much fun going to his gigs. I knew all his songs inside out and loved every single one of them. Naturally.
One night, on the way back down the mountain to our home, I had the idea that an open mic would make a good setting for a novel. Alex enthused straight away. The next day we sat in a cafe in Sassafras and cooked up the story. This is where we sat.
Together we came up with a bunch of characters, including his doppelgänger, Benny Muir, who appears in my short story, ‘All Because of You’, named after one of his songs.
Alex supplied me with tips and quips and odd insights that could only come from an open mic host. With a notebook full of jottings, I figured out a plot and set to work.
Three chapters of composing later and our relationship came to an abrupt end. My creative spark for the story was gone and I shelved the project.
Two years went by and my life changed dramatically. I moved interstate. I wrote like fury and as 2014 neared its end, I had my first novel on submission, another serialised on my blog, and my third in the making.
That December, I received news that Alex had passed away. It was a huge shock for everyone. He was loved and appreciated by so many. He nurtured many a talent and was hugely supportive of local musicians. A foundation has been formed to keep his legacy alive. The Alex Legg Memorial Foundation
It was early 2015 and I felt compelled to preserve his memory. I toyed with writing a memoir of those two beautiful years we shared, a memoir I had conceived when we were still together, one filled with anecdotes from all his friends past and present, but I soon decided the emotion involved would be too intense.
In the process of reminiscing those precious years I had with Alex, I re-read my old notes and chapters of The Cabin Sessions. For me, it was like gazing at old photos. I couldn’t listen to his music. It made me well up too much. So I buried myself in our ideas.
Then, something astonishing happened. I realised Alex’s passing had liberated my story. I made a critical creative decision, and it was as though I had Alex’s permission to do it. I won’t say what it is. After that, things moved fast. In days I was hacking into those early chapters, revising the characters and tightening the plot. There were times I felt Alex was right there with me, urging me on.
The setting for The Cabin Sessions is a version of Warburton, in the Yarra Valley east of Melbourne. It was there, in a cafe that we first met. Our meeting was powerful. Alex even wrote a song about it.
The Cabin Sessions is my way of paying respects to Alex Legg and the two transformative years I spent with him. Even if my offering is grotesque, absurd, hard-hitting, at times deeply confronting and there is not a skerrick of romance to be found. I honestly believe Alex would not have had it any other way.
I am hugely grateful to HellBound Books for believing in this story. HellBound are based in Texas, USA. That feels fitting somehow.
A book launch of The Cabin Sessions is scheduled for December at Leggacy Sessions, the open mic run by the Alex Legg Memorial Foundation every Wednesday night at Oscar’s Alehouse, Belgrave.
What does an audience expect an author talk event will be like? Will there be a powerpoint presentation? A slide show of images of old drafts, with bits of text crossed out and heaps of writing in the margins? Will the author explain her writing process and provide insights into her creative journey?
I’ve never created a power point presentation in my life! And we can forget the slide show of drafts. I do have a writing process and I’ll definitely be talking about that, but what I most want to share are my sources of inspiration.
I am profoundly inspired by setting. For me, writing a novel is like moving house and relocating somewhere else. I have to enjoy the new space I’m inhabiting. I really have to want to be there. My most recent novels were inspired by the time I spent living in the Dandenong Ranges and the Yarra Valley east of Melbourne.
Music also inspires me. Both novels have strong musical themes. So I’m delighted that musical duo Savannah Rose have offered to come along and play a few songs. Especially because duo member Suzanne Diprose played a major role in the creation of both stories!
I’m very pleased to have been invited back by Belgrave library. I’ve decided to make it a special occasion and have a one-off book sale to celebrate. Come along if you’re in the area, and grab a bargain!
I am delighted to share this warm, 5 star review of my novel, A Perfect Square, from Kate Braithwaite, author of Charlatan.
“A Perfect Square is a clever, thoughtful literary novel which also manages to have a cracking plot and complex characters.
This is a book that grew and grew on me. I’ll admit to a false start the first time I picked it up. I felt there was a lot of moving around in the characters’ heads to the recent past, the far past and then back to the present. But when I sat down with a proper amount of time to dig into the story it was an absolute pleasure. Blackthorn has a great plot and lots of writing talent. Her descriptions are wonderful – both of people and places – and there was lots of fabulous language to enjoy. I loved the two parallel mother/daughter stories and was impressed by the way they intersected. It was also great to read so much about the creative process and to consider the challenges of creativity and motherhood.
I will certainly look to read Blackthorn’s other work. A Perfect Square is a clever, thoughtful literary novel which still manages to have a cracking plot and complex characters. It should appeal to lovers of psychological thrillers too – think artistic Gone Girl.” – – quoted from Goodreads