Tanzanian-born author Katherine Scholes visited Brisbane to discuss her new book.
New technology helped bring to life the old world charm of 1950s Africa in Katherine Scholes’ new novel, The Perfect Wife.
“I went into Flickr, the photo sharing website, and there were heaps of the most fabulous pictures, including some that really triggered off thoughts and ideas for me,” says Scholes. “And then I got in touch with the owners of the photos, because you can do that so easily through Flickr. One night I sat down and thought, “I’m going to email all the owners of the photos,” and by morning I’d heard from all of them – from England and America and Australia.”
Set in Tanganyika in East Africa during the ill-fated British Government Groundnut Scheme – an agricultural project that took place after the Second World War, when 100,000 ex-soldiers moved to Africa and tried to grow peanuts – the story required rich research into the social and political landscape of the time.
“I love to find a subject where I can bury myself in the research because that’s where a lot of my ideas directly come from,” says Scholes, citing her mother and father as additional inspiration for the story.
“This book actually draws very closely on [my mother’s] experiences as a young art student in London.
“Some people think a novelist just goes in the office and shuts the door and they have a wonderful imagination – but I think a lot actually do work like me, they research and the ideas emerge from that process.”
The Perfect Wife is published by Penguin Books Australia. Out now, RRP$29.99.