This is the long-awaited followup to Part 1 of my interview with Nikki, which took place in November last year. Two things got in the way of me doing this earlier – I had a little spat with the PR company that organised this, and my big girl fell over and hurt her teeth and mouth, which caused me A LOT of stress in the lead up to Christmas. Spats with PR companies aside, I am respecting the time Nikki gave me by publishing Part 2 of the interview here.
LMM: I know many authors say writing is an intense process and the protectiveness they feel for their book can be likened to that feeling a mother has for a baby. As you are both author and parent, how do you juggle the intense, dedicated periods writing requires, with parenthood?
NG: It’s really hard, and the whole reason for the anonymous publishing of The Bride Stripped Bare was because I didn’t want to have the intensity of the book around the intensity of a baby, and babies won out [this was around the time Nikki had a baby]. I didn’t want to go through the gruelling process of caring about the book.
This [With My Body] is the 7th or 8th book coupled with my fourth child and babies win out – I’ve lost some of that protectiveness for the books. I still care but I have the defensiveness up. With my first books I was so hovery and worried for them and now I have learnt more to let them go.
LMM: Writing can be a solitary profession and some authors are finding it easy to connect with their readers and contemporaries through social media such as Twitter, Facebook and blogging. Have you delved into the online world? Do you enjoy the experience?
NG: No I haven’t, but I feel like I’m a rarity because there are a lot of writers around me who have Twitter. For me, I just find with four kids, one a young baby, and a column in The Australian and writing the fiction, I don’t have the time to have my brain eaten up by that, and it’s a slippery slope. So I have to try to have the discipline not to enter!
LMM: As an author in Australia, and particularly in light of the debate in recent years about parallel imports of books to Australia, do you think the electronic format of publishing will give up and coming Australian authors more opportunities to enter the market?
NG: Publishers were talking about publishing in the future straight to the electronic format; that they would have books that go straight to ebooks. Some writers might be horrified by that but I’m excited because I think it may mean more books are being taken up, and younger, newer writers might get a chance they may not have gotten previously. It’s a new and exciting world.
LMM: When you’re asked to give advice to aspiring writers – of which there are many online – what’s your best advice?
NG: If you want to actually write a novel – write as if you were dying. It’s the great motivator.
Thank you so much to Nikki Gemmell for giving up her time to have a chat with me.