Literary Salons in the Library with Marcella Polain

Dr Marcella Polain was in conversation with Gabriella Filippi, to talk about writing and her latest novel, Driving into the Sun.

Dr Marcella Polain in conversation with Gabriella Filippi
Dr Marcella Polain in conversation with Gabriella Filippi

Marcella was born in Singapore and immigrated to Perth when she was two years old, with her Armenian mother and an Irish father. Marcella discussed how her family history and her life growing up in the sixties has been a fertile ground for her creative writing.

She discussed the importance of having a “day job” to stop her creative goals being swamped by commercial ones.  Wanting to lecture in the Writing program at Edith Cowan University. motivated her pursuit of a Ph.D. She wrote her Ph.D. on the Armenian genocide that destroyed her mother’s family.

Marcella discussing the importance of having a “day job"
Marcella discussing the importance of keeping creative goals

Her latest book draws from experiences that occurred in the Perth street she grew up in. When she was a child, she wanted to write about the things that happened on her street but didn’t think anyone would believe her. Gabriella Filippi said that she’d been trying to leave the angst of a girl growing up in the sixties but found revisiting that time through Marcella’s characters to be fascinating.

Marcella described her method of writing as slow. She writes “into the dark” dealing with one scene at a time and finding the story ark at the end.

While she was writing this book, she sent proposals to large traditional publishers, but they didn’t think her book was commercial enough and she published through Fremantle Press. Despite the knock backs, she found their feedback had added to the creative process of writing her book.

By Kenneth Vickery

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