1 never quite know how to begin with that question. I had a few false starts when I was at school. I wrote a short story and sent it to the Australian Women's Weekly, and when I was at university I wrote a novel and a few short stories which I didn't finish. But then I got going seriously when I went to England in 1976. I'd always had a yearning to see if I muld write or not so I thought I'd take six months off and live on my savings in a garret in Paris. I thought if I was going to do the cliche I might as well go the whole hog! So I wrote two novels in the space of nine months which are both absolutely appalling. They're the ones you write to get a certain amount of junk out of your system before you can start really writing. The urge to write came out of the fact that I couldn't find anything to read that seemed to be about the kind of life that I lived, the kind of problems that I was dealing with. There was a lot of that rather uplifting feminist writing, like Erica Jong and Lisa Alther, and they made me feel discouraged because they were so cheery. In spite of their anguish and self doubts they had some kind of control over their lives. And they had gusto and they weren't afraid. I was terribly timid. And then at the other extreme there were those British women: Angela Carter, Emma Tennant, Micheline Wandor, the Women's Press sort of books. And they seemed to me like another extreme. They were writing a kind of highly analytical feminist fiction, and I wasn't one of those either. And I felt as a reader I was caught between two stools, and when I began to write I realized that I was still falling between two stools. I sent some of the early stories to the Women's Press and they were rejected, with a note saying they weren't feminist enough. I sent the same stories to conventional outlets too, and the men there also rejected them, saying they were too radically feminist and angry. So I started writing out of that sort of frustration of there being no reflection anywhere of the reality that I seemed to be dealing with.
Turcotte, Gerry, The Story-teller's Revenge: Kate Grenville Interviewed by Gerry Turcotte, Kunapipi, 16(1), 1994.