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Interview

Lea Scott, author of The Ned Kelly Game – Page 2

Lea Scott recommends some books...

READERSVOICE.COM: Can you give a list of some more books you would recommend, whether fact or fiction, crime related or not?

LEA SCOTT: The Road by Cormack MaCarthy has to be one of the best written books I’ve read, hence it won the Pulitzer Prize. Despite the horrors of the post-apocalyptic story, the writing style carried me along in a melodical way. I read it reviewed as a ‘lyrical account of horror’. The movie premieres today, but I’m not sure they will capture on screen what the book has achieved.

I recently read The Dead Path by Brisbane author Stephen M Irwin who I met at an ABC Radio function. It’s worth a read for the colourful description and metaphors, alongside the familiar Brisbane setting. Not for the lighthearted though as it centres around witchcraft and child murders.

RV: In your novel The Ned Kelly Game there is a reference to Ned Kelly fanatics on the internet. How heavilly are you interested in the Ned Kelly story, for example have you been to many Kelly Gang locations; do you still read up on latest developments?

LS: I think the reference you refer to is Ross’s statement that he is not sure if they were fans or fanatics, which is more a reference to the internet in general than Ned Kelly followers.

There is a small but strong and passionate following for Ned Kelly and I have followed a number of discussions on sites (some of which are linked on my website).

I have participated when I have felt strongly about the subject being discussed, most recently when WA farmer Tom Baxter handed over the alleged Ned Kelly skull he has had in his possession for some 10 years or more (which many do not believe to be genuine).

I have visited and researched a number of Kelly Gang locations over the years.

I try to keep up to date with the latest developments and I also have a bit of a fan base who send me any Ned Kelly related information that they come across.

I have set up a group on my website and Facebook to help locate the ‘real’ skull to be re-united with the rest of the remains, however it has been hard to generate much interest in this way. The Melbourne Herald Sun did pick up on some advertising I placed over the weekend of the Ned Kelly festival in Beechworth and ran a story to try to help locate the skull.

While Ned Kelly has always stirred mixed emotions, from the reader comments left for this story it seems that the current generation view Ned Kelly as little more than a common criminal and that sadly the Australian legend of our origins as the bush battler is fading.

RV: If so, what is the latest regarding Ned Kelly, or any mysteries about him?

LS: I have a list of articles on my website in the News section, which chronologically follows the disappearance and search for Ned’s remains. I try to update this when I come across new information.

The latest story arose in November 2009 when WA farmer Tom Baxter handed over the skull he has claimed to be Ned Kelly’s for the past decade. This was prompted by the discovery of the missing remains in March 2008 at Pentridge Prison.

RV: What locations did you revisit for the book to get the atmosphere and setting right, or did you write from memory?

LS: I re-visited Melbourne several times and Old Melbourne Gaol while writing the novel. I set the remainder of the book from memory and research and photographs from the internet. There is a wealth of information available on the Ned Kelly story on the internet for anyone interested in finding out more.

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