ROCKINGHAM resident Andrew O’Connell has created 12 modern fairytales, all grounded in reality, for the release of his first book.
Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations features quirky and poignant stories with haunting characters – including a clown, vampire, Death, a little girl, man and mannequin – that speak with a resonance beyond their bizarre situations.
They meet in unlikely circumstances and say unlikely things, in a world where the unlikely occurs and the expected is sure not to happen.
O’Connell said the term fairy tales wasn’t an entirely accurate description of the stories because there was no unexpected magic.
“The series title, Eventyr, is a word that can mean both fairy tales and adventures in Danish,” he said.
“I didn’t want to use the English term ‘fairy tales’ because that makes me think of Brothers Grimm and the phrase ‘short stories’ makes me think of Ernest Hemingway – and I don’t think my stories fit either of those genres exactly.
“I gravitate towards the fantastical because its symbols are the most suitable for communicating my innermost thoughts, desires and fears.”
After years of writing as a hobby, O’Connell found short stories, poetry and plays came more easily to him than other genres.
“I tend to get short, sharp images in my mind and I tend to hear dialogue clearly in my head,” he said.
“If I see a homeless person on a beach, I might imagine him having a conversation with a seagull but I won’t tend to envisage his whole life story and how he got there, which is what a novelist might do.
“I get a clear vision of a moment and what will eventuate and I don’t need hundreds of thousands of words to capture that.”
He plans Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations to be the first in a series, even though he admitted his main challenge was self-doubt and the persistent thought “who would want to read these stories?”
“Fortunately, the thought ‘people have got to read these stories!’ was more persistent,” he said. “I racked my brain for ages trying to decide on a title that would bring these stories together and justify their inclusion in the same book.
“In the end, the simplest answer was the best – the book is literally a collection of 12 unlikely conversations so that’s what I called it.”
Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations is $15.99 and available at www.andrewoconnell.com.au.