The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf
"There will come a day when a thousand Illegals descend on your detention centres. Boomers will breach the walls. Skychangers will send lightning to strike you all down from above, and Rumblers will open the earth to swallow you up from below ... And when that day comes, Justin Connor, think of me."
Ashala Wolf has been captured by Chief Administrator Neville Rose. A man who is intent on destroying Ashala's Tribe - the runaway Illegals hiding in the Firstwood. Injured and vulnerable and with her Sleepwalker ability blocked, Ashala is forced to succumb to the machine that will pull secrets from her mind. And right beside her is Justin Connor, her betrayer, watching her every move.
Will the Tribe survive the interrogation of Ashala Wolf?
Ambelin Kwaymullina loves reading sci-fi and fantasy books, and has wanted to write a novel since she was six years old. She comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. When not writing or reading she teaches law, illustrates picture books and hangs out with her dogs. She has previously written a number of children's books, both alone and with other members of her family. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is her first novel.
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf
Walker Books Australia
Author: Ambelin Kwaymullina
Interview with Ambelin Kwaymullina
Question: What inspired you to begin The Tribe series?
Ambelin Kwaymullina: A while ago my brother came up with an awesome title for a novel - 'The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf'. We agreed it was an excellent title, and left it at that. Then, a few years later, Ashala's story began coming into my head, and I started to write. The story grew from there, until it became a four book series called 'The Tribe'. So I guess it was inspired both by my brother Blaze, and by Ashala herself. From the very beginning, Ashala's voice was so clear and so strong that it would have been impossible not to write about her!
Question: There are many indigenous references and symbols in the first book. Can you tell us a little bit about these aspects and how they enhanced the story??
Ambelin Kwaymullina: Aboriginal people have a strong connection to their 'country', their homelands. Ashala's ancestors were Aboriginal people (although she lives three hundred years after the world as we know it ended, in a time when human beings no longer distinguish between themselves on the basis of race). But she has that same deep connection to the Firstwood as her ancestors would have had to their country and sacred places. The Firstwood is a great source of strength to Ashala - it shelters her, and guides her, and brings her comfort when things are hard. If Ashala had never gone to the Firstwood, if she had never encountered the towering tuart trees, I don't believe she would be the person we meet when the book begins.
Question: How did you go about creating this world?
Ambelin Kwaymullina: I don't feel I created this world so much as discovered it. It was always there, waiting to be written about, and I found out about it slowly and in pieces, as Ashala's story progressed. I'm not sure where this world exists - maybe in the future, or in some parallel universe, but it was always real to me, just as Ashala and all of the Tribe are real to me. I wrote the book in the order that you read it, so I guess I discovered the world the same way a reader will. They'll hear about it from Ashala and the other characters, just as I did.
Question: What was the most difficult part about creating the world where The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is set?
Ambelin Kwaymullina: Because I found out about the world from the characters in the book, it was sometimes hard to put all their perspectives together, and draw from that a whole picture of the world. They've all had different experiences, and they each have different insights into the nature of their reality. It was hard, too, to give a clear picture of everything about the world - things like the structure of the society Ashala lives in, the trees of the Firstwood and the giant saurs - without overwhelming the reader with lots of description.
Question: What audiences did you write The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf for?
Ambelin Kwaymullina: This is the kind of book I love to read, so I guess anyone who reads the same kind of books as I do! I love dystopian fiction, thrillers, strong female characters, and a bit of romance - and The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf has all those elements in it. I am also always looking for books that ask bigger questions about the nature of society and the way we human beings live in the world, which is something I think dystopian fiction does very well, and I hope my book does too.
Interview by Brooke Hunter