Fiona Horne lives on Saint James, part of the group of islands in the US Virgin Islands. She flies planes for a living these days, donating her time on days off to aid assistance flights transporting humanitarian supplies and providing animal rescue.
It’s a long way away from the huge festival stages and rock star lifestyle she used to enjoy as the unmistakeable, magnetic frontwoman to Sydney electro rock group Def FX.
She’s authored numerous books on witchcraft, but her latest publication, The Naked Witch, is a clear-eyed reflection on the incredible highs as well as the lowest, most desperate times in her life from childhood to present day. And it’s the first she’s written since she decided to get sober.
“You can’t white lie your way through life anymore when you’re sober,” she says. “You can’t pretend things are alright when they’re not. It’s life on life’s terms and I think that tone is in the book.
“Because I tell you, when I was writing it, there were parts where I was sobbing as I wrote, and my hands would be too wet, the tears were so much that my keyboard would be wet.
“And then there were times I remember when I was in Africa writing. I went to Africa to do a bush pilots course to be better prepared to be a humanitarian aid pilot to fly into remote areas.
So, there I am in Africa, doing this course, and I was looking at these elephants and remembering the time Gene Simmons called me on my cell phone. My heart was just pounding, sitting there, looking at the bloody elephants, remembering something that happened 15 years ago!
“Time is an illusion, all of our experiences are living in our hearts, in our souls, our heads. When you give yourself permission to dive in, you re-live it. That’s where the book was really, really hard too. There’s some stuff in there that’s really hard, and I was re-living it. I got very depressed writing the book. It was such an overwhelming sense of… I was going to say loss. Yet I kept reminding myself how lucky I was to be doing this, that anyone even gave a shit.”
A lot of music came up as part of her reminiscing and re-living of her life for The Naked Witch, like Kiss’ ‘Detroit Rock City’, Midnight Oil’s ‘Surfing With A Spoon’ and The Cure’s ‘A Forest’.
But for Don’t Look Back, her choice of a song that’s been an important companion, is one that’s stuck by her through thick and thin, My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Soon’.
“There’s a longing and a yearning,” she says. “And it’s so ambiguous, you can’t really understand the words. It’s evocative. And ‘soon’… I think that’s the essence of not giving up, because you just know that somehow things will get better soon and you just keep going. Maybe that song means that.
“It’s also a very sensual song. I remember dancing to it in the 90s rolling off my head on E, or whether I dance to it with fire as a sober fifty one year old now, the song still evokes this amazing sense of freedom, release and hope.
“It’ll probably be the song I’ll hearing in my head when I die, pass over, transition. There’s something soothing about it.”