Jeanette Stampone is one of the exciting authors featured on our WOLVES collaboration. We sat down with her to see what makes the author tick.
You’re an Australian based writer originally from the UK, right?
Yes. In 2003, I first arrived in Australia from the UK, It was meant to be a holiday but fourteen years later, I’m still here!
I now live in a small country town in regional Western Australia with my husband and two little boys. At the moment, I am a stay at home mum, looking after my cheeky three-year-old, who certainly keeps me on my toes! I was previously working in local government as a community development officer and have a background in disability work.
I am the youngest of eight children and became a great-aunt a few years ago! Our family is huge and I’m starting to lose track of who is who!
In those few rare moments of alone time, I love to draw and write. I also tend to walk around in a bit of a daydream—but I blame this on the constant character chatter going on in my head!
So what was your life like before moving to Australia?
I grew up in a small country town in Devon, England. It is typical of a picture-perfect postcard with thatched cottages and rolling green hills. It seems like a quiet, quaint place—but has some quirky traditions. My favourite is the annual carnival, held every November when the locals get up at 5:00am to chase burning barrels through the town! Despite now living on the other side of the world, I still have a strong connection to this place, its traditions and most of all, its people.
Is that why you write, to maintain a connection?
Hmmm… well, I think I have to write. It’s not like I have a choice or anything, really! I started creating stories when I was about four years old. I used to scribble little storyboards across the edge of my Dad’s newspaper! When I was in my teens, I would read the short story sections in my Mum’s magazines—I remember thinking about how amazing it would be to see my own story in print. My favourite subject at high school was English Language, because it mostly involved writing and reading stories! Funnily enough though, it’s only been the last couple of years since I have actually called myself a ‘writer’.
Your story for Wolves is called, tell us a bit about it
The story is told from the perspective of a teenage boy named Toby. He never forgets the day that his little brother Jamie disappeared, believed to have been savaged by wild wolves.
Since that day, his father has vowed to seek revenge and will not rest until he has killed every wolf he finds. Toby joins his father on a hunt through the vast, icy landscape. When they are completely alone and isolated, Toby discovers a disturbing secret.
The truth about his little brother is about to be revealed.
What are some of the key inspirations In sitting something creepy like this
Practicing my writing and reading other stories on Needle In The Hay has been a huge inspiration for me. I have learnt to maintain tension and to create small stories within a larger piece. I think that reading the work of other authors is always inspirational and has certainly helped in my writing journey.
What was it like working on the collab?
It was a fantastic experience to work with a number of other authors. We were all given the same brief but came up with entirely different interpretations. I also found it incredibly helpful to have several different sets of eyes on my work. It allowed me to polish the language and develop the story into something to be proud of.
What’s a story, past or present, that has really influenced you
I feel like I should come up with some kind of serious classic here! I guess it is a classic, but probably not too serious. I love The Castle (1997). An Australian film about working-class family man, Darryl Kerrigan who fights to save his beloved home.
The Castle is clearly a no-frills, low budget film but it has humour, heart and strong, unforgettable characters. The famous quotes have become iconic and even now, I often hear people say, “Tell him he’s dreamin!”
How do you think the Castle has influenced you as a writer?
This film is a perfect example of how a strong plot and brilliant characters make a great story. It’s that simple.
I have previously made the mistake of trying too hard with my writing and using lots of flowery words. I thought it was pretty, but it had no depth, no plot and quite frankly, it was a complete disaster! I have learnt to be more like Daryl Kerrigan – to be true to myself and follow my heart. It’s the vibe of the thing.
Who would you recommend it to?
Anyone who understands the Aussie sense of humour!
Thanks Jeanette for taking the time to chat with us.
You can check out Jeanette’s story and many others by grabbing an exclusive copy of WOLVES at our Indiegogo page. Check it out and support the NiTH team!