I find it really hard to describe my process. I’ve been told I write intuitively (which is a nice way of saying I fly by the seat of my pants) and when I think too hard about the craft side of things I tend to stuff it up. Unfortunately it makes it a bit hard to answer questions about process – sorry!
Agoraphobia is a condition which results from really bad anxiety, or panic disorder. I suffered from anxiety in the past, and in trying to understand the condition – and avoid becoming agoraphobic myself – I read a fair bit about it. And while I don’t consider myself any kind of medical expert (I’m a novelist, not a doctor) what I try to get across in Sweet Damage is the essence of mental illness. How debilitating and overwhelming it can be.
I was never as unwell as Anna but my experience with anxiety gave me a glimpse of the potential for your mind to let you down and the sense of shame and helplessness and isolation you feel when you have a mental illness.
I already knew a fair bit about anxiety before I started but I did some more research into agoraphobia for this book.
I hope that the story moves and enthrals them enough to keep turning the pages. I quite fancy the idea of people finishing one of my books with a satisfied sigh and a small tear in the corner of their eye.
Oh, there are so many. Liane Moriarty. Roxana Robinson. Anne Fine. My sister, Wendy James. Helen Garner. Lorrie Moore. Sue Miller. Elizabeth Berg. Anna Quindlen. I could go on and on. I tend to enjoy and admire authors who show a genuine sense of compassion and understanding towards people and all of our glorious imperfections! I’m fascinated by villains who are not entirely bad and good people who sometimes do bad things.
Yes. I’m working on my third novel which is currently titled Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead. I’m at the line edit stage which is the bit I love best. This is when all the tricky structural stuff has been finished and I get to finesse every page, try to make the manuscript sing. So much fun! It will be out in Australia later this year and I will announce any foreign release dates once I know them.