Australia New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts, London

Very excited to be invited to speak on a panel about dark issues in Young Adult in the inaugural Australian and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts in London. The festival runs from May 29 to June 1, and features some amazing authors, artists, and filmmakers, as well as some pretty impressive dignitaries. So, if you find yourself in London, come and say hi.


The Writing Process

The talented Eliza Graham, author of Playing with the Moon, Restitution, Jubilee, The History Room and The One I Was, as well as young adult novel, Blitz Kid has asked me to take the baton for a Blog Hop, called The Writing Process.

As with these things, there are four questions which I’ll do my best not to fudge too shamefully. Or maybe I’ll use a pretty colour when I do.

What am I working on?

You caught me at a great time. I’ve just finished my next novel – no spoilers yet, I’m sorry – and have embarked upon the gratifying but also mildly terrifying task of trying to adapt my debut novel, The Whole of My World, for screen.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, first of all, I have written about a teenage girl who loves footy. (That’s Australian Football for the uninitiated.) Apparently no one else has done this before. So there’s that. My new one deals with a different version of what is becoming my favourite conversation – girls finding their way in traditionally masculine worlds. I don’t know if that’s different enough, but it’s mine. And I’m keeping it.*

(*I reserve the right to write about whatever takes my fancy – as long as my publisher will have me.)

Why do I write what I do?

For a start, I steal gleefully and unapologetically from my own life, so that’s driven most of my writing so far. But I’m running out of interesting stuff to steal, so I will have to do something interesting or start making things up.*

More specifically, I write about teenage girls because: 1) I was one, and I wasn’t very good at it, so I’m hoping to get a second chance vicariously through my way-more-together (eventually) characters; and 2) I have two daughters and I’m hoping one day they might be vaguely interested in reading one of my stories. (Though I’m not holding my breath.)

(*Actually I made up a LOT of The Whole of My World, and my new novel deals with a world I have coveted but never been fortunate enough to be involved in, so lots of make believe there too. But I will always steal bits from RL whenever narratively – and legally! – possible.)

How does your writing process work?

Some days brilliantly. Others not so much. Generally I have to hide in a local cafe for a few hours, wifi-free, and knock out some pages before I feel confident enough that I won’t spend the rest of the day playing Words with Friends or trying to get Ricky Gervais to retweet me. (@nichmelbourne, Ricky, if you’re interested.) After that, I tend to library shop until I can find one with a good power source but without Story Time for Toddlers happening concurrently.

So that’s me. Next Monday, it’s the turn of the amazingly awesome Annie Collins – a fiction writer currently completing her degree in Publishing, Writing & Editing at RMIT (Melbourne), and winner of the Monash Literary Festival award. Check her out here