Tag Archives: author confessions

Word of Mouth TV: Episode 1, Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

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Strap yourself in, people, your new favourite show has just arrived on YouTube. It’s called Word of Mouth TV and it is about books and food. Think The First Tuesday Book Club meets Kitchen Cabinet. I’m so excited because the hosts, Kate Forsyth and Sarah Mills, are both authors and both love books. I know I’m going to hear about the things they love and they’re not going to waste my time bogging me down with negativity. The only thing they’ll be roasting is food, not authors. But enough about my excitement levels, let’s get down to business. Claire Absolum is working all the magic behind the scenes so we can be assured that the visuals will be just as delicious as the food.

The episode starts with Kate and Sarah driving around beachy Sydney looking glamorous. There are hats and lipstick, this is the glamorous life I want for successful authors. Sarah is questioning and Kate is driving. Kate is a magnificent driver and she answers all the questions calmly. This is so different from my own car trips where I have three kids (6, 4 & 4) questioning me and I feel like crying because I just want to concentrate on driving. I want to be Kate. I want to be able to drive, answer questions AND look fab all at the same time.

Kate reveals that they’re having Anne Buist and Graeme Simsion over for dinner. Holy crap, they’ve gone big quick. First episode and they’ve already got Anne Buist, author of the Natalie King series, and Graeme Simsion who wrote that little known book The Rosie Project. Together, Anne and Graeme wrote Two Steps Forward which follows two characters, Zoe and Martin, whose paths cross on the Camino de Santiago (the Way of Saint James). Zoe is a vegan so I automatically wonder if this will be a vegan meal.

Sarah has not read the book so she sits down to read and Kate vaults out of the car and into the kitchen. She’s making chicken, people, chicken. A traditional French dish because the pilgrimage is between France and Spain. Kate goes through the ingredients, it looks delicious, you’ll have to watch to get the full details. Sarah is still reading so Kate starts talking dessert. She’s gone all out, she has gotten a recipe from Anne and Graeme’s daughter.

Kate realises that she’s doing all of the cooking so lures Sarah away from reading with some wine. Think getting a kitten out of a tree with cat food. It’s white and sparkling, and if I’m to be honest, it’s also luring me. I wonder if Claire is also tempted. So parched. It works on Sarah, she comes running. She even gets to lick the beater now that she’s helping cook. Yummy ingredients are being added such as berries and almonds. And the food is done.

Time for a brief shot of an incredibly cute hound and then the literary guests arrive. Anne is wearing the heck out of a red dress and Graeme is wearing a purple t-shirt. Kate shows here guests her water views, which are stunning, and I declare her Australia’s Nigella whilst the guests cheers. I’m excited for the guests but we do need to see more of that dog in the future. Own Insta account?

Graeme and Anne mention that they’re happy for the champagne, typical writers. Kate and Sarah are also happy with the champagne and not using the French setting of the novel as an excuse to drink it, again, typical writers.

Anne talks about how she walked the Camino de Santiago twice. So that’s like 4000km. She says the trick was to take it one day at a time and not crunch numbers. She also mentions that after the walk she was incredibly fit, her red dress agrees. Kate mentions that one day at a time and not crunching numbers is a great way to approach novels as well. ‘Today I’ll write a scene.’ ‘Today I’ll write a chapter.’ Graeme mentions that he was actually inspired to walk the Camino by another book and then walking it inspired him writing a book… and now I want to walk it. This is so meta and I am loving it. Graeme talks about how you often think that you can just toss everything aside and then go on a pilgrimage but in reality, as his characters and he found out, all that baggage sneaks along with you.

There are some close ups of dinner and they are bordering on erotic. At least, they are for me because I really like food. I could just watch this in slow-mo. So delicious.

After Anne and Graeme have a good meal in their bellies and are no doubt feeling content Sarah smashes out the hard question. How did your marriage cope with writing a novel together? Anne wrote Zoe and Graeme wrote Martin. Anne identified with Zoe’s grief and so found it easier to writer her. Graeme likes grumpy Englishmen and so he took Martin. Apparently they coped better cowriting a novel than I, a dyslexic, cope with having my husband proofread a cover letter. My blood pressure is up just thinking about it but they’re happy. #couplegoals They even talk about how they met. So definitely still in love.

What a great episode! Only ten minutes but crammed with info and food.

Watch the full episode here.

Learn more about Word of Mouth TV here.

Find Kate’s website here.

Find Sarah’s website here.

Find Claire’s website here.

Find Anne’s website here.

Find Graeme’s website here.

Buy Two Steps Forward here.

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Robert Lukins: #Robinpedia

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Robert Lukins is an Australian journalist, writer, drinker of instant coffee and nemesis of Sarah Schmidt. To be honest I’m not sure which one of these is his crowning glory (why am I now thinking of childbirth?) so I’m just going to tackle them in the order stated.

The name Robert means famed or bright and shining. Adding to this Lukins is a variant of love. It is perhaps this auspicious name, famously loved, that has given Lukins the edge when it comes to forging his career. And to be perfectly honest he needed this extra bit of luck to counteract the fact that he used to style his hair in a greasy approximation of The Rachel (yes from Friends). As an art researcher and journalist his work has been published in The Big Issue, Rolling Stone, Crikey, Broadsheet, Writers Bloc and Overland in spite of his questionable hair choices.

Quick break to take a few deep breaths. I’m starting to have a mild panic attack. I kinda, sorta talked this entry up.

Now I’m feeling a lot of pressure to do a good job and we all know that I’m not up to it. I’m no David Grann. Oh God, what have I done! Definitions of names? Hair styles? Nobody cares, Robin, nobody cares!!!!

Onto Robert’s authorial endeavours. Robert, or Rabbie as nobody calls him, became inspired to write by The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 1/2 by Sue Townsend.

This was the cover when I read it.

I can testify that this was a cracking good novel as I read it and its sequels several times in primary school. Robert identified closely with the titular character, unappreciated author Adrian Mole. This steady devotion to Mole has culminated in Lukins’ debut novel, The Everlasting Sunday, being published through UQP this year. It has been endorsed by Lucy Treloar, author of Salt Creek. The novel is a book about growing up and growing wild. Yes you can expect a review from me to pop up next month.

Onto the instant coffee issue. Robert swears by International Roast and drinks NOTHING else.

As I said, he loves it and it is his exclusive drink of choice. In fact he swears by it. He uses it as a salve for aching wrists, a facial scrub to freshen his skin, and as a topping on toast. He loves International Roast so much so that other writers must bring him cans of it as tribute in order to be allowed to bask in his divine radiance.

Award winning philosopher and author Damon Young looking totally thrilled to be buying IR for Robert Lukins.

However, you can’t please everyone and Robert Lukins has gathered some enemies along the way for his Adrian Molesque, International Roast swilling tendencies. Most notably would be crime obsessed, road-kill aficionado, Robinpedia alumni, author Sarah Schmidt who has declared Robert Lukins her literary nemesis for 2018. I must admit that I thought this babe in the woods would be a dead duck for sure when stuck in the sights of the Shmidtinator. Even her book trailer is effing terrifying.

However, I have to say that Robert Lukins has shown some spirit and really impressed me on the nemesis front. Far from running away, hiding in a closest and sobbing uncontrollably, he has taken the front foot.

This is just impressive on so many levels, mostly because like Xena he embroiders. Such a bold strategy to engage in voodoo right off the bat. Bravo. Make sure you keep your eyes on both Robert and Sarah’s Insta and Twitter profiles to see how this all unfolds. I don’t want to talk it up but this is going to be more epic than Gore Vidal versus Norman Mailer.

In his spare time he enjoys signing books in a hot room, sitting all alone in a hot room, and pretending to be MacGyver. He built a humane moustrap out of pencils and stickytape, true story.

Photo stolen from his website. Photographer is Eve Wilson.

Find Robert Lukin’s website here.

Find him on twitter here.

Find him on FB here.

Find him on Insta here.

Find his book here or anywhere.

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

Learn about how I feel about being a dyslexic writer here.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: A Quick Update on Writing 

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Those of you who also follow me on Twitter already know that I haven’t been feeling my best. I’m definitely not at my lowest but changing medications to try to get on top of my migraines and RLS has left me feeling subpar.
I know that I’m not that bad because when I get time to sit down and write it still comes readily. Even if I feel like total shit, the moment I open the Scrivener file my fingers start typing. When I am at my lowest I simply can’t access the things needed for writing. I’m just too empty. 
On Friday I was quite teary. My medication had been increased the day before but it takes a couple of weeks before the increase works. And I thought that I was too upset and jittery to write. I looked at the clock and I only had thirty minutes until I had to pick my daughter up from school. This made me more upset. I’d gone a whole day without writing AND I’d had time to do it. It wasn’t because of being too busy with the kids, I just hadn’t. I felt hopeless and like a failure.
And then it hit me, my POV character hits a point where she is utterly shattered and feels like she’s an utter failure. I could write that scene. I use Scrivener so I can write out of order and easily slip it into place. And so I did just that. I opened up my Scrivener file for my WIP and just typed and cried. I did this for 25 minutes. At the end I had 950 words. That’s fast for me. Normally for novel writing it’s around 500 words in that time.
So good news, I’m still no where near my worst and feel much lighter. And maybe that idea might help somebody else? Maybe you’ve been holding off writing because you feel utterly shit? Try writing a scene where the POV character feels the same. They’ll be feeling broken for a different reason than you, but hopefully you can still use the shared feeling to get to the heart of the scene.
Good luck and happy writing.

Read about my thoughts on being a dyslexic writer here.
Read about my thoughts on author branding here.
Buy my shit here.

If you or someone you know has postnatal depression you can find good resources on the following sites:

  1. Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/
  2. PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/
  3. PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/
  4. Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
  5. Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/