I am happy to have Stephen Crabbe as my guest today. Thank you, Stephen, for joining me on my website.
Author Stephen Crabbe
Stephen, can you tell us about yourself and your background? What do you currently do outside of writing?
Well, it’s a real pleasure to be here, Jess! I’m on the leading edge of the baby-boomer generation, hitting
earth just after the end of World War Two in Adelaide, South Australia. My family on both sides goes back to the early colonial
years in that State; before that they were in Scotland, Germany, Cornwall and a few other parts of the British Isles. In 1993
I moved to Western Australia with my family.
I’ve worked in several different fields, but teaching
predominated until my later years and I specialized for much of that time in music education. It was when I began to reduce
my teaching hours that I started to write for publication. In 2016 I stopped teaching altogether and decided to pour my energy
into writing books.
Apart from writing, I still have a deep interest in music; I was trained as a classical
pianist from the age of five and it’s an integral part of my being, even though I no longer teach it. I’m also
very keen on sports of various types, but these days I only participate in Masters Athletics. I’ve won a few medals
for sprinting at State and National level. Amongst all that, I spend hours caring for grandchildren and simply communicating
with my expanding family—all of which, of course, is a labor of love.
Stephen in the 100 Meter 2016 World Athletic
Championship Perth, WA
What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?
Song of Australia and Conflict on Kangaroo Island
I write fiction for adults, which so far is
of the historical kind. Song of Australia was published in 2013, Conflict on Kangaroo Island in 2016. The third book is still
in progress, but I expect it to be published early next year. All three are set in South Australia 1913-1918. As you have
probably guessed, World War One looms large in the stories, but the narrative concentrates completely on the home-front. There
are no battle scenes, and not even a glimpse of life on the battlefield, and yet the impact of the war twelve thousand miles
away permeates the lives of the characters.
What prompted you to write
what you did? Where do you get your writing inspiration
I’m sure there are powerful unconscious
motives determining the content of my stories, but I’m conscious of several. At the start of my first book, there was
an urge to show how fundamental and potent music is for human life and civilization. There was also a conviction that Australia,
my country, sorely needed to come to terms with unresolved issues left over from the period around the First World War—the
national adolescence, so to speak. Moreover, in the process of researching and writing, I felt pleasantly close to some of
my ancestors and my childhood piano teacher, all of whom lived through that period. I wanted to honor them through my stories.
The characters are not those people, but they are inspired by them.
My fiction attempts to tell absorbing stories
that put readers in the shoes of the characters, but I hope they also give an insight into the human condition. When I look
back over my work, it seems I’ve been exploring some fundamental questions. What does it mean to be human? What impedes
us from being the best people can be? What is human goodness? How should we relate to other people and to the rest of the
universe? I don’t consciously address these questions as I write, but I think they operate in the background nevertheless.
Do you write short stories, articles, or have a blog?
ago, I went through a period when articles and a blog were my focus, but eventually I abandoned them because writing fiction
was much more satisfying.
What do you find the hardest about writing? The
Writing the first draft is so hard! I tear my hair out at times because, while I know the basic
story I want to tell, it is so difficult to decide how to present events and information in the manner and in the order that
will make the best reading experience. I suppose what comes easiest is the research; I do heaps of that before and during
the writing. It can be so interesting that I often struggle to wrench myself back to focus on my story.
What’s next for you after your Book?
My work in progress is a novel
which brings together characters from my earlier books to grapple with life on the home-front over the course of World War
One. It’s taking me much longer to write this one, partly because interruptions from general life have been much more
frequent lately. But what is slowing me down immensely is the far greater complexity of this novel. Again and again, I have
revised sections, discarded one general plan after another … Thank goodness I’m just a few chapters away from
the end now!
How can we follow or contact you?
My website: StephenCrabbe.com
My Facebook Page: Facebook/StephenCrabbe
Where can readers buy your books?
My Amazon page: Amazon/StephenCrabbe
My books are also available at The Book Depository and Booktopia.
Thank you for an insightful interview into the life of a writer.
Next month, my guest will be Author Wylie McLallen.
For now, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!