On the Couch with L.J.M. Owen

AAR L.J.M. Owen at NLAWho is L.J.M. Owen?
An author-archaeologist-literary festival director who collects crime novels, kitchen paraphernalia and cats. Somewhat eclectic.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
If I could have my time over I would be kinder to myself and others along the way, be more understanding of human weaknesses and frailties, and set aside more time to spend with friends.

Who inspires you and why?
The lives, struggles and achievements of the women of the past. If Egypt’s chief medical officer 5,000 years ago was a woman, if one of the fiercest warriors ever known to the Maya empire was a woman, if one of the greatest bureaucrats in the history of the Chinese civilization was a woman, then women really can do anything – and so can I.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I decided some time ago that I would write books that give others a place to run away to, an escape from the pressures of everyday life. That was the genesis of my Dr Pimms series – and now The Great Divide. I then decided to found a new literary and literacy festival in southern Tasmania – in a region where the adult population has a functional literacy rate of just 50% – with the aim of celebrating books and promoting the love of reading in community. The inaugural festival, Murder She Wrote, took place from 31 October to 5 November 2019.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Greek Islands. I could happily spend every summer sailing from island to island with friends, living on yoghurt and honey, salad and freshly caught fish. The rocky hills to climb, the endless blue sky, the archaeological treasures to explore… it’s paradise.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I sit them on our balcony so they can breathe the stunning Tasmanian bush air and watch a multitude of bird species wheel and dive around us as I feed them small meals of incredible Tasmanian fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats and wine, cider and spirits. Tasmania offers fantastic sensory experiences even when you’re sitting still.

What are you currently reading?
An old indulgence – Terry Pratchett’s witches of Discworld novels. Having just delivered a six day literary festival and a new book, it’s allowed!

What are you currently listening to?
I adore Egyptian folk music so I’ve been listening to Les Musiciens du Nil lately. The instruments can sound harsh to a Western ear to begin with, but once you adjust to the nuance and melody, it is like listening to life.

Happiness is?
Ensconced in my writing couch at 3.00am, nestled between two cats, typing furiously as another chapter pours onto the page and a nearby steaming cup of black coffee grows cold.

What does the future hold for you?
Another ten, twenty or even thirty books. I want to fill entire shelves with the lives of my protagonists.

L.J.M. Owen is the author of The Great Divide – which is published by Echo Publishing and available from all leading book retailers including Booktopia. For more information, visit: www.ljmowen.com for details.

Image: L.J.M. Owen (supplied)