Camilla Chance’s new book Melissa and Kasho is being released on March 17, 2018 by Austin Macauley Publishing. ( You can start preordering on February 10 – just in time for Valentine’s Day) So we decided that giving Camilla the famous Proust Questionnaire to answer was an excellent way to introduce the world to this wonderful person.Everything about her is love, creativity and kindness.
Camilla Chance is the bestselling author of Wisdom Man, her memoir about Banjo Clarke, an indigenous Australian with whom she had a 27-year friendship. This work has been translated into 5 languages and even as Melissa and Kasho is released, its French translation, Un Homme de Sagesse, is being featured at the Paris Book Fair also on March 17.
Camilla Chance has always been a writer. Born in 1940 during the Second World War, she lived in London, where, when she was 18, her first novel was accepted by a then-large publishing company for publication. Although her father forced her to withdraw from this contract as she was still legally his “property” until she was 21, the writing bug never left her.
Her family moved to Australia and she graduated in Arts from Melbourne University. When she was 22, she became a member of the Baha’i faith, and its spiritualism and acceptance have influenced her subsequent writing as well. Much of her early experiences have influenced the character of Melissa in her new book.
Camilla has had many interesting and varied occupations. She’s been a lyricist for an international performing group The Kuban Cossacks, a high school teacher, and an editor for Faber & Faber Publishers in London. Upon returning to Australia, she wrote book reviews for two prestigious Australian newspapers – The Age and The Australian. And she also married and became a mother as well.
Camilla has also been an advocate for Australia’s indigenous peoples, in part because of her Baha’i faith’s belief in unity and also because of her extraordinary 27 year friendship with Banjo Clarke. Camilla was also the first non-Aboriginal to receive the prestigious Unsung Hero Award from Aboriginal people for her dedicated friendship and work for them “behind the scenes.” The character of Kasho is firmly based on an indigenous man and Camilla’s understanding and love for indigenous peoples comes across clearly and creates a wonderfully strong powerful character.
Melissa and Kasho is a young adult novel set in the transition period of 1959. It’s a fantasy and love story, with a heavy dose of rock and roll, taking place in Florence Italy. Not only that, it also deals with sexual harassment, pedophilia, bullying and other issues facing young adults – especially young women today. We can’t wait for the world to meet the shy, introverted Melissa and her love, an indigenous man from another world and plane of existence, Kasho. Their adventures give Melissa courage to break free from the constraints that have bound her to an untenable home life and seek new adventure and relationships.
So without further ado, we present Camilla Chance’s answers to those insightful Proustian Questions:
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
After much progress through eternity, unity with God after death.
2. What is your greatest fear?
Of being cold.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I believe there are no bad qualities in anyone – it depends how they are used.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Not keeping their word. I do keep mine.
5. Which living person do you most admire?
Mother Teresa – she was living until recently.
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
7. What is your current state of mind?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Knowing the price of everything, and having material possessions.
9. On what occasion do you lie?
I do not lie, but I try to express myself kindly and I avoid admitting to being in pain.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Some wrinkles around my eyes.
11. Which living person do you most despise?
I do not despise anyone. I believe there are no bad people – only unhappy people.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
Keeping his word.
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Keeping her word.
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I constantly say “Thank you” to the spiritual realm – for every little thing that works out right.
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I am in love with everybody in the world, and trees and creatures.
16. When and where were you happiest?
When I was eighteen, and going out very innocently with the first man who asked me to marry him.
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
To sing in tune.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to help people more.
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Co-writing Wisdom Man, and writing Melissa and Kasho.
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I believe you only live once – but, if you do it right, once is enough.
21. Where would you most like to live?
In Florence, Italy.
22. What is your most treasured possession?
I do not have one.
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Feeling far away from God.
24. What is your favorite occupation?
25. What is your most marked characteristic?
People say the most outstanding thing about me is that they can feel my love.
26. What do you most value in your friends?
Keeping their word.
27. Who are your favorite writers?
J.M. Synge, the Irish playwright and poet.
28. Who is your hero of fiction?
The ordinary, natural people in Synge’s play “Riders to the Sea.”
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
My historical heroine is Joan of Arc.
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
The Baha’i martyrs.
31. What are your favorite names?
Ruth and David – they symbolize selfless love to me.
32. What is it that you most dislike?
I don’t know.
33. What is your greatest regret?
Stopping writing popular songs for the “Kuban Cossacks.”
34. How would you like to die?
35. What is your motto?
Do all the good you can to all the people you can in all the ways you can in all the places you can at all the times you can as long as ever you can.
Thank you Camilla. We wish you the best for Melissa and Kasho.