Ep 283 Meet historical fiction author of ‘The Land Girls’, Victoria Purman.

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In Episode 283 of So You Want To Be A Writer: Enter The Moth’s short story competition. Meet historical fiction author of The Land Girls, Victoria Purman. A new course on writing chapter books for kids is coming soon. Plus, we have 3 copies of The Library Book by Susan Orlean up for grabs and more.

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Show Notes

Links

The Moth International Short Story Prize

The Golden Ticket

Writer in Residence

Victoria Purman

Victoria Purman is an Australian Top Ten and USA Today bestselling fiction author. Her bestselling The Land Girls was published in April 2019. The Last of the Bonegilla Girls, a novel based on her mother’s postwar migration to Australia, was published in 2018. Her previous novel The Three Miss Allens became a USA Today bestseller in April 2019.  She is a regular guest at writers festivals, a mentor and workshop presenter and was a  judge in the fiction category for the 2018 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature.

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Competition

WIN: ‘The Library Book’ by Susan Orlean

This podcast is brought to you by the Australian Writers’ Centre

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Podcast artwork - episode 283 of So you want to be a writer. Meet Victoria Purman, historical fiction author of The Land Girls

Interview Transcript

Allison

Victoria Purman is a bestselling, award-nominated, Australian romance and women’s fiction author. She is the author of 15 novels and her latest novel, The Land Girls, is out now with Harper Collins HQ. Welcome to the program, Victoria.

Victoria

Thanks, Allison, for having me.

Allison

So we’re just going to go back, because we do like to go back into the mists of time as to how all these things came about. And I’m looking at your books page, which is extremely well laid out, and it looks as though you started out writing contemporary romance and then you’ve moved in the last few books into historical fiction. Is that a fair assessment of your writing and publishing journey?

Victoria

It is. But it wasn’t purposely done, I have to say. I’ve always wanted to be a novelist. I think that’s fair to say of probably every novelist you’ve ever spoken to. And I tried writing when I was as a teenager and I thought it sounded so romantic to write books. And I loved reading. I was an absolute book worm.

But back in the day, back in the 70s and 80s, I’m 64 so I don’t mind owning that number. But back then there weren’t creative writing courses. There wasn’t a career path for someone like me. I was a migrant kid from the western suburbs.

So the thing we did if you liked English and History, like I did, was to become a lawyer or a journalist. And I didn’t get the points to become a lawyer, thank god, because I would have been really terrible. I’m just so not detail-oriented. I can’t tell you. I do think of big picture stuff.

So that is what I went and did. But I always that nagging dream in the back of my head. And I tried it a couple of times over the years. And it was a bit directionless. And then my husband and I had three children and of course you don’t get anything else done ever when you have three children.

But I hit about 44 and I thought, if I don’t try this dream now it might slip past me. I’ll lose that chance. So I went to a workshop at Writers SA, and it was a romance writing workshop, because I loved reading romance. I still do. In my life, I’ve had really serious jobs. Really difficult jobs. And I don’t want to read about serious or difficult things when I come home. I want to read something escapist, and I want to read about great female characters.

So I enrolled into a romance writing workshop. And the person giving the workshop said there’s a Romance Writers of Australia Conference in August. You should join this brilliant organisation. And this was March. And if you write your book, you can pitch to an editor there.

And I thought, right. And I found a different voice. And that was when I wrote my first book.

Allison

Wow. So did you get it done for August? For the conference?

Victoria

I did.

Allison

Wow.

Victoria

I did. I was obsessed, as I tend to be about some things. And I wrote every night. I was working four days a week at the time. Our youngest son was 12. And I wrote at least every night, and on the weekends. I finished a 100,000 word book by August. And I pitched it at that conference. It was at the Gold Coast.

And I sat across from Haylee Nash who was then the commissioning editor at Harlequin. And I told her about my book and she said, yeah, I’d like to read the whole manuscript.

And I was overcome with such a nervous attack that I couldn’t quite hear what she was saying. I think I had a buzzing in my ears. And I couldn’t hear her say her email address as to where I should send the manuscript. So I ended up just handing over the piece of paper and pen to her and she kindly wrote down her name.

Allison

Oh bless.

Victoria

And I walked out of there and it was the whole sweat experience. I was just drenched. I was shaking. That was a bit exciting.

And they read the book and then offered me a three book contract by December.

Allison

So just… Wow.

Victoria

Yeah. It happened so quick.

Allison

Yeah. That happened very quickly. So that was the start of your publishing journey. And so that stage you were writing… Would you classify it as category romance?

Victoria

No. Not maybe longer. Categories are about 45 to 60,000 words. And I didn’t fit into any specific Mills and Boon categories. Mine, I describe them as contemporary coastal romances. They’re all set at the beach. Not in the regional, not on palms, as in rural romance. You know, the themes are the same.

But we spend a lot of time at the beach here, south of Adelaide. And I just thought it was a beautiful spot. And I just wanted to write a book about it.

So that was my first book, Nobody But Him. And that came out the following October. So by the time all that had happened it was October 2013, Nobody But Him was published.

Allison

Wow. So October 2013 was your first novel. And we’re now in, where are we? April, May, pretty much May, let’s face it, 2019. So six years and you’re onto your 15th book?

Victoria

Yeah. I can’t believe it either.

Allison

That’s a lot of books in a short space of time.

Victoria

It is. And I do stress to people who think that I’m some crazed workaholic, not all of them are what you would call a full length single title book, which can be around 100 to 120,000 words. Six of them are shorter – about 45 to 50.

Allison

Okay.

Victoria

I write for an American e-publisher called Tule Publishing. And they’re the ones that are shorter. And I’ve written a novella as well, so, yeah.

Allison

Yeah, wow, but still that’s a lot.

Victoria

It’s plot 15, is the way I look at it.

Allison

Okay. So in that six year period that we’re talking about, you’ve written quite a few contemporary romances. But you have also moved across into women’s fiction, but with a historical edge. Right?

Victoria

Yeah. It kind of started with the Three Miss Allens, which was my 2016 book. Again set at the beach. But I got the idea… It’s a bit of an amorphous thing about where ideas come from, really. But thinking about where do ideas come for books? We’re like bower birds, we pick and choose little bits of things and bake a cake out of it, I think. And put all of the ingredients together.

There’s a beautiful old building in Port Elliot, which is on the Fleurieu Peninsula down here. And it was a supported accommodation facility when I first saw it. So people with mental health issues were living there and it was pretty run down. There’s no money in that kind of business. No investment.

But it closed. And it was empty for a while. And then it became a youth hostel. And so it’s been completely renovated. So I watched the evolution of this building. And I wondered what it was when it was built in the… I thought it had been built in the 30s. But when I investigated, it had actually been built much earlier than that. And it had been a guest house on the south coast, right on the spot with the most amazing view down to the Coorong, where the Murray reaches the sea.

So that got me thinking about who used to stay in that house. I thought, there are guesthouses all along that part of the coast and people from the city, from Adelaide, would go down there for a month in the summer to escape the heat. And it was a real holiday destination. Honeymooners would go there.

So I kind of knew all that. And I just thought, who would go? It turned into a dual timeline book. So I had some modern day characters going down and finding a guestbook in this old unrenovated building and wondering who the people were in the guest book. And it soon took off from there.

And that started me on that research binge. I just absolutely going back into our past and digging up those really small details which make social history, I guess.

And a lot of history is about dates and battles and, you know, I’m more interested in how people lived and what the social mores of the time were. And so that’s where The Three Miss Allens came from. And then I loved it so much. And the next idea really, it was just serendipitous, I wanted to tell the story of my mother’s migration to Australia in the post-war period. And that became Last of the Bonegilla Girls.

So, as I said, it wasn’t anything I decided about doing it. I don’t in any way view them as an apprentice, those earlier novels. Although I think it’s inevitable that I think my writing has improved over that time. But I’d love to write another romance one day, if I get the time. But at the moment the historicals have really got me by the short and curlies and they’re really fascinating to me at the moment.

Allison

All right. So do you have a core readership? Like you’ve obviously with your romance novels, you establish a certain readership. Do you have a core readership that’s followed you through that journey into this new realm of historical fiction? Or do you have to create a new readership base each time you have a change in direction do you think?

Victoria

That’s a really good question. I think there are romance readers… And of course, lots and lots of books have love stories in them. Or elements of romance in them. The Land Girls is really the story about three women, all of them have romantic attachments, it’s the war time, you know. So many women did. And so I wanted to reflect that part of their lives as well. But really it’s about more than that.

And I think that those readers have stayed with me, because they still get that little kick of romance that we all love. But with the historical books, I’ve actually had more men reading them than my others, of course.

Allison

That’s interesting.

Victoria

Men don’t actually admit to reading romance. We know some do and they’re proud and we love them. But yes. The World War II aspect and the historical aspects of my last couple of books have interested men. And when I toured with The Last of the Bonegilla Girls, it’s just that name is so evocative to anyone who is a migrant in this country. And men would come along and tell their stories about coming to Australia. And how they remembered being at the Bonegilla camp, which is between Albury and Wodonga.

So I’ve had men readers too. And the covers are very feminine. There’s a whole other debate about covers. But men have picked them up and I’ve been really thrilled. It has messages for them too about being new to Australia.

Allison

So when you’re researching your historical fiction, is there a method that you use for managing that research? How do you decide what you are going to look for?

Victoria

Oh, that’s a really good question. And often I don’t know what I’m looking for until I’ve found it. Sometimes things just leap out at me. For instance, with The Land Girls, I knew I wanted to write a book about the Women’s Land Army. There were 6000 women during World War II, who left the city, who went out to the country to work on farms to keep Australia fed, actually. And to send food to our troops and feed the visiting Americans who were here.

So I knew we had a land army. I didn’t quite know… I spent a lot of time waiting for the inspiration for the opening scene. And I was reading some transcripts of women who had been in the land army and they were recorded in 1990. And one woman told a story about her inspiration for signing up. These were working class city girls. No one expected that we would embrace this land army idea so wholeheartedly.

But this one woman had a brother who was medically unfit to go to war and he was sent a white feather in the mail. This was World War II. And I knew that had happened in World War I, accusing someone of being frightened. And she was so incensed that this had happened to her brother that she decided to sign up in his stead, if you like, and do her bit. And as soon as I read that story in the transcripts I thought, there’s the opening scene.

But I didn’t know that before I’d read them. I was just waiting for… I’m a journalist by training, and I think sometimes you just, you would know, you know the hook as soon as you hear it. It’s not until you hear it that you think, ah, that’s it.

And that was that. That’s the way it happened for me with that.

Allison

So you choose a time period or you choose a building or you choose, as you say, the Bonegilla camp, and then you go looking for the story around that? Is that how you would describe it?

Victoria

Yeah, well, yes I do. I knew I wanted, say for The Bonegilla Girls, that I wanted to… The book opens in 1954 in April when the character, loosely based on my mother, it’s not my mother’s life… So I knew I wanted to write about them coming to Australia and being at Bonegilla before they went out to jobs around the country. All these thousands and thousands of migrants.

So the question arises when you’re a writer and you’re approaching it, where do you start that story? Do I start at when they get on the boat in Germany? Do I start it at the very end of the war when they were expelled from Hungary where they came from? Do I start it on the boat coming over?

And I made the decision to put them right in the middle of the action and arriving at the Bonegilla camp in the middle of the night on a train. Trains were very evocative for people who had lived through World War II and Europe because… I don’t need to say, but very evocative.

So the research I did through that little hint of a story up at me as well. So the fact that they were arriving on a train made people very upset and scared and triggered a whole lot of emotions for them.

So I decided to start the book right there with people arriving. It was the middle of the night, they didn’t know where they were. They didn’t know… It was pitch black. They were tired, they were hungry. They were cold. It was freezing cold, in Albury Wodonga in April. And then to have the next day revealed to them as the sun rises and they see where they are…

An interview I read with someone who was there said it looked like Texas. Because it was vast and empty. So again, those evocative things just really leap out at me sometimes.

And sometimes authors don’t know where to start and I do always try to start right in the middle of the action. You don’t want people to read the book and then three chapters later something interesting happens. For the type of fiction that I write, and that’s commercial fiction, you want to grab them.

And also when you’re pitching to publishers, too, you want to grab your publisher. If you’re pitching for the first time and you’re an unpublished author, in a commercial fiction pitch you don’t want them to have to read three or four chapters to find when the action starts, because they won’t.

Allison

No, that’s right. So what’s your process for writing then? I mean, how much time, let’s imagine… Because you’re pretty much doing about a book a year with those bigger books at the moment. Is that right?

Victoria

Yes, that’s right.

Allison

So what’s your timeframe on that? Like how much time are you allocating for research? How much for writing? Are you actually working on a few different things at different stages? Or only one manuscript at a time?

Victoria

No, I can only do one manuscript at a time. I do work three days a week. So I have about three days at home writing or researching. I’m almost done with all the research for my next book, which is going to be set in the immediate post war years in Sydney.

And I know vaguely what the story is going to be, but I need the research to inform that. Because you can have all sorts of ideas about what happens, but if your research doesn’t back it up then you’re in a hole. So I try to do as much research as I can and then match that with the story idea that I have.

The book that I’m writing now opens with the return of the first prisoners of war from Changi back in Sydney in September 1945. So I had to get that right. I had to honour that story.

Allison

Right. And how long will it take you to write? Once you’ve completed the research to where you’re happy with it, how long will it take you to actually draft that, the first draft of that?

Victoria

I have started now and I have a deadline of September the first. So I just have to finish.

Allison

And do you have a plan?

Victoria

Four months, maybe. No, I’m not really a plotter at all. I’m not a plotter. Once the story is in my head, and I know the story now, then I just have to sit down and write. And that takes immense feats of concentration.

And my week is particularly busy at the moment. And that’s also distracting. And The Land Girls has just been released. And I’m doing lots of interviews and touring for that, too. So that’s also incredibly distracting, albeit fantastically fun. But it gives me low level anxiety that I really should have written more of this book, but I’m not quite there yet. But it is what it is and I just have to fit it around everything else and write the best book I can.

Allison

Do you manage that by timetabling? The fact, as you say, you’re working, you’re in the busy period up to the election, you’re doing all the promo for The Land Girls, which as you say, until you’re in the middle of it you don’t understand how busy that actually makes you or how distracting it is. So with that going on, how do you fit the writing in? With your family and everything as well?

Victoria

Yeah, that’s a really good question. At the moment I’m feeling a bit exhausted. And talking about a book while writing another one is very confusing sometimes. And it’s a feat of concentration, actually.

And I’ve got an author event tomorrow night. I had one yesterday. I’ve got one Friday night. I’ve got one Thursday. And then I’ve got a couple of weeks break and then I’m off touring up to Queensland, new South Wales, Canberra, and then later on to Mildura. So I know there’s a big work load coming.

So I don’t schedule or timetable myself, really. I just use my Scrivener, writing program, which helpfully tells me that I have about 132 days left and I have 105,000 words to write.

Allison

Oh there’s no pressure there!

Victoria

No, not at all. And then I start doing that, so that’s 1000 words a day. Hm. No, I didn’t do any today. Okay, that’s even more tomorrow. So yeah.

Allison

Yeah. All right. So with love and romance being such a strong thread, and you’re managing the historical stuff, obviously trying to remain true to all those things as well, what do you think is the most difficult aspect of managing a romance within a story? Because people do it well, and they also do it to the point where they end up in those bad sex awards. So what do you think is the most difficult aspect of it? Of keeping that… Because it’s a completely different story arc, isn’t it? To the main story arc, the romance arc, as well.

Victoria

Yes. Yes. I will defend romance writers and say that to my knowledge no romance writer has ever won the bad sex award.

Allison

No, I defend them! I’m with you on that. They’re generally other people trying to manage romance within a different type of book.

Victoria

Exactly.

Allison

But that’s what I’m saying. It is a skill. The reason I’m asking you the question is it is an absolute skill. And where do you think most people go wrong?

Victoria

That’s a really good question. And I have to preface that by saying I’ve never studied creative writing. As I mentioned, I’m a journalist by training. I think what that does is attune your thinking to what’s a story. And it gives you an economy of words. And you’ve used your writing muscle a lot over the years.

So that’s sorts of plot points, I don’t plot out, but I know there has to be a first act, points here, then we have the second act. That three act structure. I think that comes instinctively to me, which I’m really relieved about. If I had to plot that out, I would lose interest really quickly. I’d get bored with it. And so that’s just not my process. Other people it works for them, and hail to them. It just hasn’t worked for me.

I do have an instinctive knack for the flow of the story. And when you’re in the middle of writing the soggy middle, boy you know it. Because you’re writing scenes without going anywhere. So there is that thread.

Fortunately for The Land Girls I had the structure of the war. So I did plot out, well, not in chapter terms, but I did have a chart with… The land army was formed in mid-1942 and my book picks up in December of 1942 as these three women join the land army.

So I knew that in December 42 the land army, they went off. What happened at that Christmas, who played cricket that summer, when were the… So I knew that Pearl Harbour had happened, that the bombings on Darwin had happened. What happens in 1943 in Europe. Where would the troops have gone. And this was the complicated thing, actually. If someone joined up in Sydney, they couldn’t have been in a particular division because that division was raised in Melbourne, for example.

Allison

Yep.

Victoria

So that I had to get right. And that dictated to me, I couldn’t for instance have my Sydney character join the war and go to New Guinea. Because the division he was in didn’t ever end up in New Guinea. And my husband is a war-holic, I should say. He loves war history. So he helped me when we searched the Australian War Memorial Archives, just to get that right. Because the minute someone reads that and it’s wrong, it lifts them out of the story.

So I had that structure and I knew when the big events happened in the war, and of course I knew what happened at the end of the war. So the story spans that 43, 44 up to August 1945.

So that was my historical timeline. And then I had to map against that the seasons, because the land girls were working in agriculture. So I couldn’t have them picking apples in September, when apples were picked in March, April, depending on where they are in the country. So that was another complicating factor.

But that gave me the structure to move them around. And the land girls did move around from place to place and town to town. The sort of main character, Flora Atkins, goes to Mildura to pick the sultana crop. And of course that had to be in sultana season, which is the summertime.

Allison

Okay. So how did you create three heroes within that as well, though? Because that’s the key with the romance aspect of it, is creating your three characters. Because you’ve got three girls, right? Three land girls.

Victoria

Three land girls, yeah.

Allison

And then you need three worthy love angles.

Victoria

Yeah, I do like it complicated. So I not only have the military history, the agricultural timetable with the seasons, and then I had three girls in three different cities, three boys… Three boys… Girls and boys. Three boys in very different circumstances.

Because that’s the thing with a multi-character book. If you don’t want to experience the exact same story arc, well, that’s really boring. So they all come from different places, different social structures, if you like. And so do the men they were in love with.

But then you have to, you can’t have them all reaching a critical point at once. It’s like riding a wave to the moral. You don’t want to have the moral to have that flat point in the one chapter.

So that’s a good question. And I think it kind of comes naturally to me, and my publisher certainly points out if it doesn’t, if it’s not working. But it’s just the way I work, that I don’t want them all to one, in that book, there wasn’t a happy ever after for everybody.

Allison

So would it be fair to say then that you use history to drive the structure of the book, and character to drive the structure of the story? Is that fair? Is it the character that drives the story?

Victoria

Yeah, that’s fair.

Allison

So you basically, you’re managing both of those things.

Victoria

Well, the characters have to, yeah. That’s right. And the arcs of those characters have to be meaningful and realistic. That’s the sort of book I write.

And history was the frame. But what I like is the social history within that and the characters and how they reflected the social history at the time. So they’re the things that keep me at the keyboard.

Allison

All right. So switching gears slightly, what do you think, you’ve been immersed in publishing now for six years, you’ve created 15 books. What do you think is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned about the publishing industry over your career so far?

Victoria

The biggest lesson? The biggest lesson is that they want you to do really well. It’s a tough thing when you’re starting out, it’s only natural to look around and say, why are they getting more publicity than me? And why is that book doing well? And why didn’t mine get such a big print run? It’s a really natural reaction to have.

But publishers will pace you as well, I think. And they will… They want the book to succeed because it’s their reputations on the line too. So everyone is in it to make the book a success. Sometimes it doesn’t happen for a whole range of reasons which have nothing to do with your book, or the cover, or their efforts. It’s just if people knew the answer to those things, they would all be working to the formula. But they don’t really.

And sometimes word of mouth makes things take off too.

So I think that’s the thing I would say is that they want to do the best for you and the book. They are on your side. They also work extremely hard. And they are more busier than ever, I think, in the publishing industry. And I have a tremendous respect for the team behind me at Harper Collins HQ because I know how hard they work.

Allison

Yep.

Victoria

They don’t sit around during the day reading manuscripts, eating a box of chocolates. We have this image that they’re all in leather chairs in a book-lined room that’s all beautiful. Things we see in the moves, to be honest. They read manuscripts at night on an iPad in bed, if they have a partner, when their partner is asleep next to them.

So it’s a hard gig. And retail is a hard market at the moment. And books are a retail product. And publishers are changing, people’s reading habits are changing. I try to understand as much of that business side of it as I can without it getting in the way of what I’m writing. Because at the end of the day I’m making a product that’s in shops. Whether it’s a widget or a book or a dress or a pair of shoes.

Allison

I actually think romance writers in their various many forms have been among the most savvy in riding the various waves of technology and the changes in reader behaviour and all of those sorts of things. You can see as a genre, that that group of writers, they work together and they work very hard to keep romance readers happy, and to keep that stuff out there. Why do you think that’s the case? Is that something that you’ve noticed? And have you learned something from being part of that cohort of writers?

Victoria

I have learned a tremendous amount. I think the reason it happens is because romance books have never been taken seriously by the literary establishment. And I’m not going to get into the whys and wherefores about that. I just think it’s a fact that it hasn’t been.

So what romance writers have been really clever at is connecting with their readers in ways that bypass the review pages, for example. And so I have a fantastic connection with readers on my Facebook page. One gave me a whole lot of old Tupperware, because she remembered I said I love vintage Tupperware. They’re just the most wonderful people and the most generous.

The changes in the media landscape too mean that there are fewer and fewer review pages anyway. So how do people find out what’s going on? Well they can visit my website or connect with me on Facebook or any of the other socials. On Instagram or whatever. And so it’s that reaching out to the reader, I think, that romance people have been so good at.

Because romance readers have felt belittled and marginalised as well. So it’s a relationship forged out of that kind of landscape, I think. And…

Allison

So are you actively… Sorry. Keep going.

Victoria

No, I was just going to say, Romance Writers of Australia is an organisation which has just been so dear to me. And I was on the committee for three years. Because it makes those connections with readers. But it also takes seriously and respects all the craft of writing.

And there’s a workshop every year, three days of workshops about the craft of writing. And the business side of writing and all those other things too. But we take it seriously, because it’s hard. People have an assumption that you can whip off a… Sometimes people say to me, gee, you churn out the books. But you know what? You know how I’ve written nearly 1.2 million words? People work really hard.

Allison

That’s right.

Victoria

And not everyone who tries it can do it and be successful at it. But it’s hard work and it’s craft and it’s dedication and all those other things.

The romance community is just really strong, supporting each other. And I hear people from other genres say that they wish that they had that in their genre. They don’t have it so much.

Allison

All right. Let’s finish up today with two things. Where can people find you online?

Victoria

They can find me online at VictoriaPurman.com. You can also find me at Victoria Purman Author on Facebook, because I’m there a lot. and yesterday we were talking about dressing gowns.

Allison

Dressing gowns?

Victoria

Yeah.

Allison

Oh, you bought a new one. I saw that! I saw that.

Victoria

Yeah. I was celebrating. And I thought I’m going to build a dressing gown. It’s getting colder in Adelaide, finally. We hadn’t had rain for a very long time and I thought I’m going to buy a new dressing gown, because this is a famous gig, this author life.

Allison

It certainly is. All right, go to Victoria Purman Author…

Victoria

You can find me there. And Instagram. And Instagram, Victoria Purman Author. And I’m not going to model my dressing gown. But you can see the colour.

Allison

All right and lastly, can you share with our listeners, our avid listeners, your top three tips for writers.

Victoria

Top three tips for writers. My first tip, read lots of books. Do you want me to elaborate?

Allison

Would you say, can I ask you this, cos we do get read lots of books a lot. So my question is always, for those authors, do you read lots of books within the area that you write? Or do you read lots of books across a whole range of different things?

Victoria

Across a whole range, actually. I can’t read in the genre I’m writing when I’m writing it, because I’m always so conscious of inadvertently stealing someone’s idea or something. Like I haven’t read any of the land girls books out of the UK, because I was so worried that I would read them and think, I can’t write that plotline I have in my head, even though there’s only eight plots, but I didn’t want people to think that I had done that.

So I read crime as a bit of a… To get out of my head. I read crime. I read nonfiction. I read memoir. I read lots of romance. Because I just enjoy reading everything. Except fantasy and sci fi. Not my thing.

So read everything. And read it for fun. And then read it for plot, for character, for description, narrative. And I think there are always learning experiences. But also read for fun.

Allison

All right, so that’s your first one. Read. What else?

Victoria

Bum glue, is my second tip. If you want to write, just sit in the chair and type. And keep typing. Because that’s the only way you’re ever going to finish your book.

And three would be find a community of writers. It can be a lonely business. I was involved for many years with Writers SA here. And I’m still a member there. And they have workshops and social gatherings.

And if you’re not a romance writer, for instance, and you’re not a member of Romance Writers of Australia, find a crime group, or find your fantasy group. Find your tribe and it’ll sustain you when you have setbacks and when things aren’t going well. And when things are going well, they will celebrate with you, and that’s the best thing too.

Allison

Yes, so true. All right. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Victoria. Very much appreciate it. Best of luck with The Land Girls and all those various promotional things. And with getting the next book written by September. Sounds like quite the task.

Victoria

Thanks Allison.

Allison

And we will look forward to seeing you around the traps.

Victoria

Thanks so much for having me.

 


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