Interview with Kerry Postle

Interview with Kerry Postle

Another great interview with Kerry Postle. Within hours of finding out her novel The Artist’s Muse has been featured in Woman’s Weekly, there is an interview with the author on the website Vision and Verse. Carol Ann Kaufmann is the interviewer –

https://visionandverse.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/interview-with-british-author-kerry.html?showComment=1508932575225#c5126957133412504078

 

 

From Teacher to Writer

From Teacher to Writer   by Kerry Postle

Radio interview

The Artist’s Muse Wally Neuzil

Yesterday I gave my first radio interview.  John Darvall interviewed me for BBC Radio Bristol and he asked me about teaching and writing. Very informative , especially for me, as it dawned on me why I wrote The Artist’s Muse and the connection it has to my teaching.

If you want to listen to the interview, here it is –

radio programme

The interview with me starts 2 hours 5 minutes in (after the Michael Jackson track).

 

A life can change in a heart beat.  One moment all is well with the world, and the next, one random act can turn everything  upside down.  Like  getting attacked in the classroom.  I’d turned up at school one sunny Monday morning to do the job I loved. One hour later and I would never be able to see it in the same way again.

How did that happen? I’m still not quite sure.  A new boy had joined us (expelled, I was to find out later, for attacking a student and a teacher – both female –  in another school)  and he took exception to the fact that he wasn’t allowed to use his mobile phone throughout the lesson.

Although his attack on me, both verbal and physical, was brutal, I pitied him. Still do.  I chose not to press charges but he was still expelled.  I never saw him again. I chose to carry on teaching, but it was never the same, despite first counselling, then reducing my hours. The writing was on the whiteboard and it was telling me I had to go. It was only a matter of time before I exited teaching in a secondary school forever. It broke my heart as well as my bank balance.

No job, no money coming in. What was I to do?

For a while, a very long while, I wallowed in self-pity. Destined to wander aimlessly for all time,  I was unable to talk about what had happened to me without bursting into tears. No need to wear a t-shirt with victim printed on it, I was doing a pretty good job of making that apparent  myself. No props required.

Then, one day, I was wandering round a gallery (which a friend had very kindly paid for me to visit) when I knew what I had to do. As I looked around the exhibition I saw rooms full of paintings of the same artist’s model. She was everywhere.  I wanted to find out about her, this woman who had been mistreated by the artist who clearly owed her his reputation by robbing his model of hers.

I therefore decided to give her a voice so that she could fight back, tell her side of the story. I was going to write a novel.  I wanted this artist’s muse  to be written back into history by allowing her  to tell her story (please don’t groan). She would  encounter  obstacles, suffer misogynistic attacks,  feel a victim, but, in the end she would triumph.

I had no idea what I was doing at the time but by writing the story of the artist’s model  I was unwittingly exorcising my own demons. Well, no, it’s true that I’ve never been an artist’s model and I’m certainly not a young girl, but in every other respect the artist’s model and I are like twins separated at birth. It’s now all so clear to me.

And so that’s how life can sometimes work. It throws you lemons and you… You know what I mean.

 

The Artist’s Muse’ by Kerry Postle is published by HQDigital, an imprint of Harpers Collins, available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Artists-Muse-Kerry-Postle-ebook/dp/B06Y5175Z5/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Artists-Muse-Kerry-Postle-ebook/dp/B06Y5175Z5

To find out more about the story, art and historical research go to

The Artist’s Muse blog

 

The Artist’s Muse : Inspiration for a novel

The Artist’s Muse : Inspiration for a novel

The novel The Artist’s Muse by Kerry Postle is set in early 20th century Austria and is a fictional account of the life of Walburga ‘Wally’ Neuzil and her relationships with the artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Interview with Kerry Postle, author of The Artist’s Muse   by Connie

What inspired you to write the novel The Artist’s Muse?

The early 20th century in general, that most revolutionary of times, for both art and politics, has always fascinated me and after a trip to Vienna I knew that I had to write a novel set in that period in that city. An age and place of supreme cultural importance, where Freud, Klimt, Tito, Stalin, Schiele, Hitler, Mahler and many more angels and devils of European history rubbed shoulders. Sometimes sublime, usually challenging, often inspirational, occasionally rotten.  I had to write about it. And after a visit to the Egon Schiele exhibition at the Leopold Museum in 2015 I knew what to write. The artist’s relationship with his model encapsulated much of this conflicted spirit of the age. It was perfect.

Why did you choose to write The Artist’s Muse from Wally Neuzil’s point of view?

I had Wally as the narrator because I wanted her voice to be the one you heard.  I had no true sense of what she thought, what she felt, as I walked around the Leopold, even though there were so many images of her on the walls. I had to tell her story and that’s why it was important to use her voice : to bring her vividly to life.

Why did you call the novel The Artist’s Muse?

I didn’t. It was the publisher who chose the title. I’d chosen ‘Matter without a Soul’, an Otto Weininger quotation which describes what many people at the time believed women were without men – formless, soulless, mere lumps of flesh waiting for a man to mould them into meaningful shape.  The Artist’s Muse, however, is a far better title as it describes precisely what Wally is. The story illustrates the extent of her influence and how she inspired Schiele to achieve his greatest work as only a great muse can.

I’ve been told that you regard The Artist’s Muse as a feminist novel. Why?

So she doesn’t lead a women’s march. She doesn’t turn into a super woman. However, she does think like a woman who questions the fairness of how she is treated, the inequality between men and women, between different classes of women… She is trapped in the cage society has created for her and she has no way out of it while the world goes on as it does. It is ironic that what does eventually give her the chance to break free is war, which in itself destroys so many lives, making her survival/ victory bitter-sweet.

There’s a lot of art in the novel. Why?

The title is The Artist’s Muse – she inspired so many of the great paintings of some of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. She was not only the subject but also the inspiration and not to have made reference to at least a handful of them would have been a grave omission.  The aim of this novel is to weave art and life together and to explore how the former inspired the latter.

Egon Schiele. A great artist?

Yes, undoubtedly. However, he was flawed. Blessed with a precocious artistic talent, he was immature and suffered from the same overbearing hypocrisy of which he accused others.

Why did you end the novel when you did?

It’s true that Wally’s life does not end at the end of the novel. However, without giving away what does happen in her life, I wanted to end the novel on a positive note. She’d had a miserable life until then and I didn’t have the heart to make her experience within the novel unerringly bleak. After all that she’d endured I wanted the novel to end with hope as for me Wally represents all women.

Many readers have commented on your style of writing. It’s clearly worthy of comment. Why do you think that is?

While I was writing The Artist’s Muse I wanted to play with the writing. I read many of my favourite novelists again and used them as guides, inspiration. I hope that the joy that comes from playing with words comes across.

What are you going to write next?

I’m currently working on a novel set in Franco’s Spain, where the human spirit has to battle in order to stay strong in a chaotic world.

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To get your copy of The Artist’s Muse go to  – UK  or –   USA

To find out more about the background go to –  https://theartistsmuseblog.wordpress.com/