First book seven years in making
SHADES of life in Victoria Park, Bull Creek and central Perth’s Queen Street can be detected in the first novel by Victoria Park local Jacqueline Perry-Strickland.
The Magpie’s Nest was launched at Crow Books on Albany Highway last week after more than seven years of planning, writing and rewriting for the mother-of-two.
Describing it as a mystery romance, Perry-Strickland said the story followed the history of a gown available for hire at costumier The Magpie’s Nest that somehow turned its female wearers “crazy”.
“Was it a superstition or a coincidence, that is the question of the gown. Was its influence science or fancy?” she said.
The arts graduate began writing the novel when her older daughter was a baby but the project “went out the window” when her second daughter with Bull Creek-raised Stuart Strickland arrived two years later.
“Then we started renovating our Vic Park cottage and Stuart was doing his MBA. I made a commitment to myself to have it written by the time we went to New York for my 40th birthday,” she said.
“I managed that but it then took 18 months to edit and rewrite as so much had changed since I began writing it. For example, I described the view out of the car window of the dry, coarse, harsh scrub as the heroine drives from Perth airport, but I went there about three months ago and there is no scrub in sight – it’s all warehouses and freight terminals, so I had to update that.”
Jacqueline Perry-Strickland with daughters Sophie (7) and Naomi (5) at the launch.