In this piece I wrote for Women With Altitude, I talk about what it was like coming home from a turbulent overseas posting where people had to fight for their basic human rights to a seemingly complacent Australia. Since then I have watched our rights being eroded. We cannot take these things for granted.
When you have lots to do, do nothing, feel bad about it, but out pops something really creative, you realise that sometimes creativity requires boredom, restlessness and doing nothing because in the background, your brain needs the space to come up with something new.
Trust your processes, creators.
I will let you be the judge. Check it out here.
The Empty Page podcast
Find out about my writing and publishing process for Gunfire Lullabies? Click here to hear my interview with Gavin Miller and The Empty Page podcast. Lots of fun.
Talking Aussie Book podcast
Learn more about the origin of Gunfire Lullabies on this podcast interview I did with Claudine Tinellis on Taking Aussie Books. Great in depth questions.
Ten Terrifying Questions with Booktopia
Booktopia asked me Ten Terrifying Questions revealing more about the person behind the novel. Check it out here.
AJC Publishing Author Interview
Read a different angle on Gunfire Lullabies and my writing process here.
The Australian Financial Review Weekend story
I wrote a piece for the Fin Review charting my journey from diplomat to novelist. Read it here.
For more interviews, check out my media page!
Just click here 🙂
My second novel is 40,000 words in. I began writing it in 2010, and since then have added sections in spurts, mainly in 2017.
In 2022, 11 years on and 5 years since I last added anything significant, I’m determined to finish a solid first draft.
But should I start again?
An old friend of mine wrote an award-winning novel in two parts, and they read very differently. I liked the second half much more than the first, and didn’t feel it worked to have two markedly varied styles in the same book (yet clearly others didn’t mind).
Some things I’m considering:
- My writing has evolved, significantly improving since 2010 and 2017 (you’d hope so!)
- While the story line is the same, the theme has deepened to consider current events
- I was never happy with the voice of the main child character. For me, voice takes several drafts to get right, so this may not require me to start over. Hmm…
- Yet I also feel I know the main character better, who is inspired by my parents and some of their experiences during WW2
- I’m wondering if I should change the point of view to more authorial, from one person to two or more. But this has always been a dilemma I’ve needed to act on
- It’s a bit of a mess because I’ve written it in fits and starts
I think the answer is clear for me. I need to ditch the other work out and begin again. I also did this with my published novel, Gunfire Lullabies, which I wrote in three very different drafts. This came to me after having heard about process writing The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which I still thought was quite fractured.
My main reason?
- The theme – The other aspects I can correct with some rewriting / editing, but having an altered theme changes everything – syntax, style, plot, point of view and character even, as I now want them to represent something additional
What’s your experience of picking up a story you’ve partly finished?
I was interviewed by Andrea Barton of Brightside Story Studio about my recently released novel, Gunfire Lullabies.
Andrea is an editor I hired during the latter stages of my novel’s development, and I can highly recommend her work.
The article begins like this, but you can read the full interview here…
I am beside my self with excitement at the release of my novel. It’s taken me years.
You can purchase it here on my website in the Buy My Book tab.
Want to know more? Here’s a bit about it…
Jakarta, 1998. Junior Australian diplomat Ava Vuyk is on her first overseas posting when she’s assigned the conflict-ridden issue of East Timor with its twenty-three year independence struggle. The new Indonesian regime announces a vote in which the East Timorese will choose their future, but the military and local militia oppose it, launching a brutal campaign of terror and destruction. Amid the turmoil, Ava must decide whether she’ll gloss over the spiralling violence as her domineering ambassador demands, or report the truth in the hope the Australian government will intervene.
In East Timor, teenage farmer Isabel is kidnapped by militia leader Gabriel as his sex slave after her brother escapes into the jungle rather than join his group. Alone but hopeful, she waits to be rescued. When a human rights group asks her to spy on Gabriel, she’s seduced by the promise she’ll be reunited her with her family.
Gunfire Lullabies—written by former diplomat, political advisor and press secretary Nore Hoogstad—is a gut-wrenching fictionalised account inspired by real life events that won’t fail to fascinate and enthral.
Tomorrow is an anniversary for one of my parent’s deaths.
Tonight I was watching TV and saw pieces of driftwood being hauled into the sea. It sparked memories of holidays and a driftwood keepsake my father kept as a memento.
I wrote a haiku for his funeral, and here’s another one on the eve of his death anniversary. It’s interesting how the smallest images or smells or sounds can make you remember.