In a recent episode of our weekly podcast So you want to be a writer, Valerie chatted with author Nicole Hayes. Among the various questions were three we thought we’d share with you. (To listen to the interview in full, go here.)
Why she chooses to write about teenagers in her books:
“There’s a big chunk of me, who’s still about 15 and half, that struggles every time she looks in the mirror… I think we’ve all had teenage years or teenage experiences that we would like to revisit or have another look at, or have another try at, if only that were possible. There’s some of that driving it – a sense of being able to take some control over at least this teenager’s life in a way that I couldn’t for my own.
“I’m also the mother of two daughters. One is 15 and the other is almost a teenager, she’s almost 12, and so it’s an easy place for me to go back to, but I’m also watching it unfold before me. So, I don’t see it changing anytime soon. I’m absolutely fascinated by those teenage years and all of the possibilities.
“I think too the fact that today’s teenager has such different and unique challenges that I didn’t have, it’s just ripe for exploration.”
On where she gets her most productive writing done:
“I am a big fan of the café. It has to be one that does not have wifi, because it’s a constant battle to avoid getting distracted by social media, emails, all of the things… There’s a part of me that’s aware that I have to answer those things, but… that does not work with the quiet time that you need to think.
“Something about the noise of a café, I’m very good at shutting it out. It doesn’t make me feel quite so alone, but still allows me to segment off that time for myself. I’m a big café fan… I’ve got a couple of favourite spots, they’re very good at leaving me alone and I always make sure I spend money there so I don’t I feel like I’m exploiting it…
“If I can get two or three hours straight there, I feel really good. I can usually get a couple of thousand words down. If I try to do that at home, it would take me seven or eight hours.”
On why she loves writing:
“Yeah, we haven’t got enough time for that! I’ll say simply it’s something that I can control; it’s a world I can control. It is absolutely therapy for me – not that I have great personal tragedy in my life or anything, but we are always grappling for control of things, I think.
“With these stories I have some measure of control. I can make worlds that operate the way I want them to — not initially because then there’s no story, but ultimately there is some sense of resolution and some sense of justice and hope. It’s a lovely escape for me because that is something that I don’t think we always get in real life.”
Nicole Hayes is an author, speaker and writing teacher based in Melbourne. She has an MA in Creative Writing and runs writing workshops at different locations in and around Melbourne.
Nicole’s first novel, The Whole of My World, was shortlisted in the 2014 Young Australian Best Book Awards (YABBA) and longlisted for the 2014 Golden Inky Award. Her latest book is One True Thing.
Nicole Hays’ website
Nicole Hays on Twitter