Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a writer, which is astonishingly convenient as you appear to be a reader! I’ve climbed mountains in Africa, picked grapes in Switzerland, sold cameras in London, programmed computers in Fiji, and spent eight years working as a professional photographer. I’m also quite tall.
My first novel, “Telling Stories”, won the Reed Fiction Award, and in 20+ years of freelance technical writing I’ve won four Qantas Media Awards and been a finalist for Columnist of the Year. My second novel, “Too Many Zeros”, was published by Penguin in 2011, and a number of other novels have followed since.
I write, every day if I can, subject to the demands of my cat, who regards me as her personal servant, portable cushion and entertainment centre. In return, she allows me to share her house in Wellington, New Zealand.
This is my eighth book, but my first nonfiction one. All the rest have been novels.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“Reasons for NOT Writing & How to Overcome Them” is all about the process of writing a book. It’s hard work. Not in the sense of shoveling dirt or climbing a mountain, but it can be just as daunting — more so in some respects because you can’t look back and see you’re making progress.
Many people have told me they’d like to do what I do — write — but they just don’t have the discipline. That’s always puzzled me because I’m not a particularly disciplined person. Writing is more about habit and “headspace”, figuring out how you work best then getting into the zone. Which is, hopefully, what this book will teach you.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I start at 6:00 am every morning and write for a couple of hours before breakfast. This is usually my most creative time.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Keep going. Write every day, As you’ll learn in “Reasons for NOT Writing …”
300 words x 5 days a week = 1,500 words a week
1,500 words x 52 weeks = 78,000 words in a year
The average novel is 70-80,000 words. The average novella is 30-40,000 words.
So that’s one novel or two novellas by this time next year.
Just keep going!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Persistence beats resistance.
What are you reading now?
(Nonfiction) “Command and Control”, by Eric Schlosser
(Fiction) “The Left Hand of Darkness”, by Ursula K. Le Guin
What’s next for you as a writer?
At least three more books this year. An historical novel, currently with beta readers, the fourth part of my Forty Million Minutes series for young adults, and the third book in my Bluebelle Investigations series.