|Jacinta Halloran was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by an Emerging Victorian Writer in 2007. That manuscript was subsequently published by Scribe under the title Dissection. Halloran has now published her second novel, Pilgrimage, and she recently spoke to Jane Sullivan for The Sydney Morning Herald:|
We're talking at a cafe near Halloran's home in Elwood, where she lives with her husband and three children. She's a slight, slim figure dressed in shades of brown, with expressive hands, and is all too aware that in her novels and short stories she tends to write about female doctors facing a personal crisis.
But she says that's not autobiographical. ''I'm interested in writing about a character who has tried to live her life and, for whatever reasons, circumstances have conspired and she ends up in a situation where things haven't turned out the way she might have hoped.
''How does she move on to make sense of her life? I'm interested in struggle and how that might or might not be resolved.'' She laughs. ''I'm not really interested in happy things.''
Pilgrimage came about after Halloran took a two-week trip to Romania to see ottoman carpets at the Black Church in Brasov. She had a vague idea she would like to set a novel overseas and Romania sounded inspiring: ''Transylvania! The Black Church!''
What she found was a sombre country still recovering from the repressions of the Ceausescu regime, a great sense of hospitality and pride in local customs, and the glimmerings of a story.