Writing While Reading

Dead Romantic

It’s probably a very typical response, but I became a writer because I loved to read. I guess it’s natural to want to become what you love. And today I find in the post a book package from the gorgeous Mandee, one of those lovable Vegan YA Nerds. Thanks Mandee! I continuously read while I write. Not only books far removed from what I write, but books smack bang in the middle of the YA spectrum.

I made a pact with myself early on that I never wanted to be one of those writers that had to be locked away in a sound-proof cork room in order to be able to write, and not be exposed to anyone else’s work. It was hard when I was younger and more impressionable. I do remember the phase when I used to write in a terrible stream-of-consciousness style (I had read far too much Faulkner) and that time I thought I was Charlotte Bronte. But as I become more established, basically just wrote more, something interesting happened. I became comfortable with my voice and my style. I knew who I was as a writer. So while I can read anything these days and feel inspired, awed and in love with someone else’s work, I can’t help but write the way I still do. And anyway, I don’t want to emulate anyone. I really want to be myself.

So my writing advice is to:

a) write lots. It is true, the more you write the better you get. And if you’re destined to be an author, you’l find yourself.

b) read lots. You will learn more about writing reading books per se than books about how to write.

PS – if you’re wondering what that chocolate bar is, it’s like a vegan version of a Mars Bar, but way more delicious, the mollassey taste of the caramel is to die for*

*unintended tie-in pun with the novel.

YA I’m looking forward to in 2013


I‘m into contemporaries with unique and quirky sounding concepts. These are the ones which fascinate me the most.

1. Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil (Feb 2013, Hardie Grant Egmont) I confess, Melissa is my ex-editor. I knew she wrote, but was shy about revealing the exact details. I complimented her once on a short story, and said I believed in her, but I don’t think she believed me. Plucked out of 250 submission by The Ampersand Project, I just can’t wait to find out what makes this book a standout. Billed as a geeky romance with everything we love about 80s rom coms, this sounds unique and awesome.

2. All This Could End by Steph Bowe (Feb 2013, Text) I absolutely adored Steph’s debut novel Girl Saves Boy. It had such a fresh, indie voice that it got me questioning, why aren’t there more real teens writing teen fiction and being published? I’ve been waiting for the next installment ever since. Now 18, I’m hoping to see a maturity and growth and by the sounds of it – a story about a girl’s bank robbing family – also a new edginess. I’m hoping it’s Girl Saves Boy meets Pulp Fiction.

3. Sweet Damage by Rebecca James (April 2013, Allen & Unwin) I still dream about Anna London’s House. How beautiful and Rebecca-esque is this opening? I’m a fan of Rebecca’s debut, Beautiful Malice and it looks like she’s back with more sinister girls and a mysterious tale of intrigue. Rebecca does Toxic Girls better than anyone and yes, I am jealous of her in a second banana sot of way (it’s actually admiration, not jealousy). This looks right up my alley.

4. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (unconfirmed). Maybe this is wishful thinking. There is no confirmed date for MZ’s long awaited next novel. But one can wish. I’ve read some of the snippets of the novel on his Facebook fan page and the writing is absolutely beautiful, it’s like he’s gone to a total new level since The Book Thief. He’s come a long way since Underdog 🙂

5. The Howling Boy by Cath Crowley (Sept 2012, Pan Macmillan Australia). Cath Crowley’s voice is like no other and like Markus Zusak, her talent has slowly been building until it culminated in Graffiti Moon. Will she top that? I think it’s possible that Cath is going to take her writing to a new place and with hints to a stream-of-consciousness styling, things that happen in the subconscious, mystery and love, it all points to something exciting, experimental and amazing. That title is so evocative.

What books are you excited for in 2013?