I'm pleased to welcome author Carmel Bendon to the blog today who has written an interesting piece on how exactly she came to write her book!
Check it out...
Some important things to know about Carmel...
Ketchup or mayo? - Mayo, especially with a little lemon and garlic in it.
Night or day? - Both, depending on my mood.
Inside or outside? - See previous answer.
Dogs or cats? - Dogs, dogs, dogs.
Twitter or Facebook? - Twitter
Ebook or paperback? - I’m happy for my readers to purchase either.
Sun or rain? - See answer to “night or day” question.
Keyboard or pencil & notebook? - Both
Comedy or Drama? - Refer to “night and day” answer.
Chips or chocolate? - Neither. Coffee & pastry please.
Grasping at Water is a marvellous mix of mystery, history and discovery that will prompt you to wonder about the way you see life.
'In this intriguing and original mystery, Bendon’s fine, nuanced understanding of medieval spirituality is woven deftly into the fabric of our contemporary world and concerns.'
AUTHOR OF THE ANCHORESS & BOOK OF COLOURS
‘Carmel Bendon’s superb novel takes the reader from the most intriguing premise into a world of mysterious possibility … a world where nothing can ever be certain. This is a tremendously playful and richly poetic book that speaks to the storyteller inside all of us.’
AUTHOR OF DESTINATION SAIGON & DESTINATION CAMBODIA
‘Grasping at Water beguiles with its strong sense of mystery, history, character and place … as truth morphs into a voyage of self-discovery.’
‘Finely written historical mysticism entwined with a modern mystery, Carmel Bendon's stunning debut sizzles with originality and intrigue. Grasping at Water is the thinking-person's thriller.'
JOURNALIST & DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER
How I came to write my novel
My novel ‘Grasping at Water’ was born of an idea that just wouldn’t go away. For some years I was a lecturer in medieval literature in the Department of English at Sydney’s Macquarie University. My PhD, completed in 2000, was on the writings of a group of medieval mystics and this topic became my research specialty, leading me to produce many articles, a successful academic book, presentations to academic and general audiences, and even a radio series. The ‘facts’ of these mystics and their medieval world were fascinating to me but the thing about them that really captured my imagination was their strangeness. These were women and men who believed that they had experienced a direct communication with the Divine and that, as a result, it was incumbent upon them to share the insights and revelations they had received.
And over the years a little voice inside my head started to ask “What would happen if someone like one of those mystics surfaced today in a metropolis like Sydney?” The voice kept getting louder and, when in late 2015 I found myself with four months off work, I sat down and gave the voice free rein. Well, almost. I was very aware that the mystics’ messages and experiences are not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ and, in fact, the very idea of some kind of out-of-body, spiritual communication does not sit well in our scientific age when proof is paramount. And right there I had the conflict of my story: the (seeming) reality of individual experience vs. scientific objectivity. I wanted readers to come away from my novel asking themselves: “What would I do if I experienced something unusual or extraordinary? Would I trust in myself or would I dismiss the experience because it wasn’t rational, wasn’t amenable to proof?”
It’s sounds a bit heavy but, actually, (hopefully) the characters are textured enough to show their lighter sides and human frailties. Kathryn, the psychiatrist called in to assess the strange young woman, for example, has her own secrets as does the Margery, a whisky-drinking nun in her eighties, who inherited millions and has established a luxury resort for those who have nowhere else to go. Here’s a short overview of the novel:
When a young, unidentified woman is pulled alive and well from Sydney Harbour in 2013, the connections to another woman – found in similar circumstances forty years earlier – present psychiatrist Kathryn Brookley with a terrible decision as the events of the present and past begin to mirror each other and the gap between truth and illusion shrinks. When the young woman goes further and declares that she has lived continuously since coming to ‘understanding’ in the 14th century, her vivid accounts of life, love, childbirth, and loss in the Middle Ages seem so authentic that they test Kathryn’s scientific objectivity to the limit. As Kathryn delves she discovers that she is not the only one whose habitual assumptions about life have been torn asunder by an apparent experience of the miraculous in connection with the mystery woman. But it is the emotional, spiritual and mystical insights that emerge from the linking of all the facets of this mystery that affect Kathryn and others most profoundly, reflecting the commonality of human experience across the ages and the deep yearnings within all of us.
With its mix of mystery, history and big questions, I knew I was taking a risk in bringing the book to attention but, thankfully, I found a publisher (Odyssey Books) also willing to take the risk, and I’ve found readers who really “get” what the book’s about (and of course, quite a few who don’t, but that’s the chance we all take in putting our ideas out in the world, isn’t it?)
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!