Ep 291 We chat to Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios, author of ‘The Emerald Tablet’.

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In Episode 291 of So You Want To Be A Writer: In this week’s episode, how to get the most out of a writers’ festival and meet Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios, author of The Emerald Tablet. Your Kid’s Next Read live event. Plus, we have three copies of The Blue Rose by AWC presenter Kate Forsyth to give away.

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Show Notes

Your Kid’s Next Read Live Event

6 ways to prepare so you get the most out of attending a writers’ festival

Writers in Residence

Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios

Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios studied archaeology, art history, and classical studies, is an experienced archaeologist, and holds a PhD in art history and cultural economics. She is also a scriptwriter and researcher for film and TV, and the author of three novels. Her latest book is The Emerald Tablet, the second novel in her Benedict Hitchens series.

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Interview Transcript

Allison

Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios studied archaeology, art history, and classical studies, is an experienced archaeologist, and holds a PhD in art history and cultural economics. She is also a scriptwriter and researcher for film and TV, and the author of three novels. Her latest book is The Emerald Tablet, the second novel in her Benedict Hitchens series. Welcome to the program, Meaghan.

Meaghan

It’s an absolute delight to be here, Allison.

Allison

Now writing your introduction was one of the more aspects of my life, because you have crammed so much stuff in and just such big subjects that you’ve obviously been fascinated by over the years. So it’s all been very interesting thus far. But let’s talk about your novels and how your first novel, what was your first novel? And how did that come to be published?

Meaghan

It was called The Honourable Thief and all of it came about because I suddenly discovered that I could possibly have an ambition to write a book as well as just read a book. I’ve always been absolutely in love with books. It’s been my favourite pastime since I was able to read. And the idea of actually writing a book that I might actually be able to do it myself was quite a revelation.

And it came about when I co-wrote The Water Diviner with my husband Andrew Anastasios. And I got to the end of that process and thought, god, I’ve really enjoyed this. I think I might want to go again.

And there was an idea that had been germinating in my mind for a very long time. It was a story about a disgraced archaeologist who got himself in terrible trouble in Turkey in the 1950s. And so that was the germ of the idea that then developed into The Honourable Thief, which I then approached Cate Patterson, the wonderful Cate Patterson at Pan MacMillan who published The Water Diviner. And she expressed interest and, you know, the rest is history so to speak.

Allison

So your first novel, The Honourable Thief, that you wrote solo, so it wasn’t the first thing that you’d ever written outside of academic works, was it? Because you did co-write The Water Diviner, which was an interesting thing, because you and Andrew took a script and turned it into a novel. Is that correct? Have I got that right?

Meaghan

Yeah. You have. And in fact, if you look on Wikipedia, it’s the other way around. And I keep trying to correct it and they won’t. Which is why I always tell my students, never rely on Wikipedia as a reference. I actually point to that and say, here’s proof that it’s wrong.

Yes. It started, my husband Andrew – I’ve got too many Andrews in my life. So I’ve got my husband Andrew, and then Andrew Knight who is a very dear friend, and also a wonderful scriptwriter, co-wrote the script for The Water Diviner. And it was an absolutely beautiful nuanced story with really complex characters and a lovely narrative arc. It was just a beautifully written script and story.

And when the script was purchased, or acquired by Russell Crowe to make the film, inevitably when a script gets transformed into something on screen, you lose a lot of the original intentions of the story. And I was so in love with the story that the two Andrews had written that I insisted to my husband, I’m not a pushy, I don’t like being a pushy person, I don’t like being a pushy writer. I said, mate, you have to hold on to the book rights for this. You need to turn this into a book so you can keep the spirit of your original story.

And he did. And then did very little about actually starting to write it, so I started writing it. And kept writing. And he did about a quarter and I did about three-quarters. And then it became The Water Diviner, the novel. So it was a wonderful process. I had such a great time doing it.

Allison

But that was the first longer form of fiction that you had done?

Meaghan

Yes, it was.

Allison

And did you find it challenging? In the sense that you were obviously working off a screenplay. And then as you said adding the nuance, almost putting the nuance back in, weren’t you? To create the novel.

Meaghan

Yeah. Absolutely.

Allison

Was it challenging for you? Or was it just something that you… I guess because you’ve obviously done a lot of academic writing over your time…

Meaghan

Which I hate. Academic style, I hate it.

Allison

I was going to say!

Meaghan

It’s the worst! The worst! Can’t stand it.

Allison

One does not become a PhD in anything without having done quite a lot of it. So you would understand… Did you have to kind of bash the academia out of yourself to write the novel?

Meaghan

No, it’s the opposite. I had to beat the adjectives and adverbs out of myself to do academic writing. In fact, my natural way of writing is very non-academic. So it was actually the opposite.

Allison

Okay.

Meaghan

And so, no, that is effort, that is walking across broken glass for me. Can’t stand it.

Allison

Okay. So fiction’s obviously something that you really enjoy writing then. Is it something that you’ve done along the way? Have you always been someone who’s done short stories? Like were you writing stories as a kid? Or is this something that you’ve literally come to with the process of creating The Water Diviner novel?

Meaghan

Look, no, many false starts over the years from literally starting probably… The first book I wrote was probably when I was about nine or ten. It was about time travel. A time travelling brother and sister, actually. So no, something I’ve always loved the idea of. But it did seem utterly impossible. When you look at a book on a shelf, you go and buy books, I’ve got a study lined with books. The thought of actually creating one yourself is a little daunting.

And when I think about it, as much as I’m cursing my academic writing experience, when I think about it, writing a 120,000 word PhD, despite the fact that I hated writing in that style, that did actually, that was actually a bit of a revelation to me. The realisation that I could actually do something that long. So it actually probably was helpful in a way, when I think about it. I hadn’t really thought about it til now. So thank you for pointing that out to me.

Allison

There you go. No problem. This is my service to you.

Meaghan

Thank you very much.

Allison

So The Honourable Thief, then, which is your first book to feature disgraced archaeologist Benedict Hitchens, who is a lovely, lovely character.

Meaghan

Thank you very much.

Allison

When I say lovely, I don’t mean a really nice chap. I mean, just a fabulous nuanced character.

Meaghan

Thank you.

Allison

And that was also your first solo novel. So that experience of writing that longer work when you’re creating the world, when you’re writing on your own, when you’re not working off of a screenplay that already exists, what did you find the most challenging about that aspect of it?

Meaghan

Look, I think the most challenging aspect was wrestling the plot into shape. Because the characters sprung to life very quickly and easily and they sort of run around in my brain the whole time having parties. So the characters were very vivid and very immediate. And I sort of knew where I wanted to start, I kind of knew where I wanted to end. But as soon as you start contriving a plot that is relatively complicated, and you want to invent backstory and things like that, that involves major mental exercises.

And it’s quite funny because when I’ d been working in film and TV, it’s a very collaborative environment where you shout out to people and say, hey, listen, I think, we should go this, how we get there, oh yeah, that’s a good idea! So it’s very collaborative. But when you’re plotting for a novel, it’s a very solitary thing.

Fortunately, my lovely husband Andrew is a very good sounding board, because he is also obviously writing scripts and things for TV. So he’s been an enormous help where I’ve been thinking, oh, how am I going to get from A to B. And I yell out, hey, any ideas here? And he has stupid ideas but occasionally he has good ones. Even just the process of talking through it with somebody else is really useful.

So that was probably the most challenging thing. It’s something for The Emerald Tablet I feel my brain is sort of on track more and I found that process a lot more straightforward for The Emerald Tablet.

Allison

It’s funny you say that, because I’ve read both of them. And I found the first book to be, I felt like there was a lot more character study, almost, in that. There was a lot of character development going on in that. The second one, because the characters are actually quite well-entrenched, established, it was a much more, I could see the second book as a movie. Like, from start to finish. It was just…

And I wondered about whether the process of working through all of that in the first book did actually make the creation of the structure and the plot of the second book a more straightforward process for you?

Meaghan

Yeah. Look, it’s great that you picked that up, Allison, because it’s absolutely, I’m certain that that was what happened. Because… You kind of… In The Honourable Thief, I really wanted to introduce Benedict, in particular, with his very troubled background and the terrible things that had happened to him in his past, which didn’t necessarily make him at times the most sympathetic character, because I also didn’t want to just churn out… I’ve described him as, I want to see Indiana Jones and James Bond on their down days. I want to know what they’re like when they’re at home by themselves dealing with all the bad stuff that’s happened.

And we’re so used to seeing these heroes rampaging across the landscape coping with these enormous, enormously difficult situations and they pop out the other end and brush themselves off, jump, off we go! And we all know that’s not the way things really work.

So that’s why the first book really focused on his character development, in particular. And in my mind, I always wanted to then go back to a female character who will have to remain nameless, because things get a bit complicated in the second book, as you know. And I always had in my mind that The Emerald Tablet would be as much about her as it was about Benedict. Because she’s a character who I actually feel – I won’t say closest to. It’s not that I feel like she’s me. But she’s the one I probably have the greatest affection for, strangely enough.

Allison

Why did you write these books as novels and not screenplays? Because you do have that screenwriting, scriptwriting background. Why did you feel they needed to be longer form books and not… Because you know, I can see the TV series. Particularly with that second book. I can see the whole miniseries laid out in front of me. In a way, your TV, your screenwriting background, I can feel it in the two books, most particularly the second one. So I’m just wondering why they’re novels and why did you not develop them as a series or something?

Meaghan

Because I actually wanted to hold on to the stories. And I know, as I said, well, what happened with The Water Diviner, once you write a screenplay or a script, you lose control. I mean, unless they’re an auteur who does write, produces and directs yourself, which I have no ambition to be that, you lose control of it as soon as it leaves your hands. And you can have as many things in your contract about consultation, I can tell all the writers out there, good luck trying to actually enforce any of them. Seriously.

Allison

Just wave goodbye.

Meaghan

Yeah, exactly. It’s lip service. And so I know that that’s what happens. And I actually really wanted to be in control of these stories. I wanted them to end up the way I pictured them and the way I imagined them. And the process of working with Cate at Pan MacMillan and I’ve had a couple of wonderful editors there, Alex and Brett at Pan MacMillan, and also my agent Clare Forster who’s fabulous. And they have been absolutely brilliant at giving me advice and guidance and things. But it’s my, I’m driving the car, I’m driving down the highway and I’m in control of the wheel. And I actually really like that.

Allison

Fair enough.

Now one of the things that I absolutely love about both the books is that you obviously draw so much on your work expertise and your research, and the detail in them for anyone with an interest in history, archology, anything, is just fascinating. It’s really great. And it really sets the place. Like you can feel, you feel like you’re in the hands of someone who actually knows what they’re talking about, which is great.

Meaghan

Well, that’s good to know. First battle won.

Allison

Given how much you like to research, given that you’ve done all of that research for your various aspects of your life, your work life, did you ever find that it actually gets in the way of writing the story? Like have you ever kind of felt that it’s taking control?

Meaghan

Not really. Because I do the bones of the research before I even start writing. So for instance, in The Emerald Tablet, which focuses on the period around the Suez crisis, and the Arab-Israeli crisis, and you’ve got the Cold War, I did mountains of reading about the historical background. I already had a fairly good basic knowledge of what happened. But heaps of newspaper articles and newsreels from the period I watched. And just to really immerse myself in the history. So I actually had a very good handle… And also, and then the angle of the story which is looking at alchemy. I read for months alchemical texts and the history of alchemy and the philosophers who talked about it.

So I did this all in advance of starting to write. So I actually took copious notes and details that never got used. And so that was a pleasure. That was fun. And then I sat down and wrote with that information all there.

Where it sometimes gets in the way is when I’m going, you know, Benedict races out of the Cairo museum, across such and such a road and I go, oh, what road was that? Oh god, okay, I have to find out what road it was in the 50s. And across the bridge! Oh, but was that bridge even there then?

So it’s no big deal if I got those details wrong, and I’m sure there are details there that I have got wrong. But where possible, where I could get information like that, I actually would then research and find out exactly what things were like in 1956.

And it’s kind of fun. I love research, as you say. So I enjoyed it.

Allison

Okay. So you signed a two-book contract with The Honourable Thief. Did you experience any pressure or stress about delivering the second book to a deadline? Was that a difficult thing for you at all?

Meaghan

No, not at all. I think probably because, prior to that, prior to this, which is a completely self-motivated thing, I’ve always been operating to some very, very tight deadlines. Really tight. So my life, my professional life has always been governed by that. So no I don’t, I’m very good at planning and thinking, okay.

I mean, I wrote The Honourable – sorry, The Water Diviner, we wrote that in eight weeks. And so that was producing 95,000 words in eight weeks. And so I can… And the book I wrote for the Pacific, for the Sam Neill series, which was a 120,000 word manuscript, I wrote in three months.

So I set myself little, you know, I have to do this much by the end of this day, this much by the end of the week. And so I’m very used to that kind of thing. So no, I didn’t find that stressful, no.

Allison

Okay. So what does it… You said you set yourself word count goals, basically, on a daily and weekly basis. So what does a typical writing day look like for you? Is it a set number of hours? Is it a set time of the day? When do you do this? When do you get this done?

Meaghan

Look, I have so many other things going on in my life, between my work for TV and having children and all the other things that get in the way of all of our lives, that I grab minutes whenever I can. And that might be 15 minutes at a cafe while I’m waiting for my daughter to do her tae kwon do. Or it might be beside the footy field while my son’s playing footy. No, actually, sorry, I don’t do it when he’s playing. I watch him when he’s playing. When he’s training.

Allison

It’s okay. There are enough listeners who hear me say this every single week to know that it’s fine. Yes, we don’t watch every single second of the footy game. It’s good.

Meaghan

As long as they aren’t listening. No, they won’t listen, will they? They won’t listen. So that’s fine.

Allison

Of course not.

Meaghan

All right, okay, that’s the truth.

So I grab minutes when I can. And I’ll have my self an end by, like, I’ll think, all right, by the end of this day, I need this much done. By the end of the week, I need this much done. And if I find it gets to Thursday and I’m not as far along as I need to then the next day I have to do more.

And it’s not that everything I do is gold. But I just find by moving forward, even if you have to then come back and chop, chop, chop, I just find the progression means you feel you’re going somewhere. So I find that really important for my process. I can’t labour over a sentence and produce three words by the end of the day or I really feel like the wheels are falling off.

Allison

Yeah. And are you someone who… You’re actually managing, like in The Emerald Tablet, for example, you’ve got the mystery of the tablet, where it is, you’ve got a narrative arc of a relationship, you’ve got all the details of all the various crises and things going on. You’ve got the ancient text and archaeology. Like, there’s a lot happening.

Meaghan

Yes.

Allison

Do you plot all this out from the start? Or do you wait to discover what happens as you write? In the sense of do you know where it’s going?

Meaghan

I do. I do have things very tightly plotted when I start. The plot, as in the mystery, I mean that remains fairly unchanged. But as I’m going, I mean, it sounds silly, but you know how it works, the characters do actually sometimes take you off in a different direction. Which sounds weird, because they are my inventions. You’d think that I could, of all the things, I could keep them under control!

But sometimes things just go in a different… And you go, oh, actually, oh maybe we’ll go over there. And then that requires rethinking where you’re heading further down the track.

So I do start with it very tightly plotted, because I don’t think, as you say, it’s so complex that if I was to just go hell! Let’s go for it! I’d lose threads all the way. I’d have to keep backtracking and that would really frustrate me.

Allison

You talked about the mystery. There’s also a quest aspect to The Emerald Tablet. Do you find that that helps with pacing and structure? In that sense of that forward motion?

Meaghan

Absolutely. And sort of knowing where… Because I want readers to get immersed in the story and eager to see what happens next. Page turner is the term used so often, but I want it to be something that really draws people in and that they’re really engaged with. And so that does require… With the quest genre and set up is wonderful for actually drawing people through. Because are they going to achieve their goal? Is it going to go where they think it’s going to go? And I think it’s very important.

Allison

Okay. So you talked about characters driving the story and going off and taking control and doing all those things. But what do you think is the key to creating a character that can hold up a series? Like, Benedict’s shoulders need to be fairly broad to carry a series. So what do you think is the key to creating a character that will keep readers coming back?\

Meaghan

Look, I think it’s no different to human beings. I mean, they are basically human beings in paper form, aren’t they? And if you meet someone who is interesting and complex and engaging, as a person, and doesn’t always do quite what’s expected, then you’re going to want to keep watching what they do. Because you don’t quite know where they might end up. And hopefully, if they have some flaws and some chinks in the armour, you’re hoping that things are actually going to get better for them. You want to go on a journey with them and see where they’re travelling.

And so I think the more complex they are, and the more human they are, I think probably… We’ve moved to a stage now with everything from literature to film and TV where we want characters who are complex. We don’t want to the knights in shining armour anymore. And life’s not like that. We all know that.

And so I think to have complex characters that can go interesting places and really could keep going. I mean, I’m thinking, oh do you think we can do Benedict Hitchens at age 70? How far can we go with this?

Allison

As far as we can.

Meaghan

The octogenarian archaeologist.

Allison

I kind of like the idea.

Meaghan

Although, they’ve trotted Harrison Ford out again, didn’t they?

Allison

Exactly. Still going.

So where did you get the central idea of The Emerald Tablet? Where did that ding of this is what I’m actually going to write about, where did that come from? Is it something that you had thought about for a while? Or is it something that you spotted in a newspaper? How did it come about?

Meaghan

Well, strangely enough, I had always been obsessed with the politics, the history and politics of the Middle East. And the Sinai crisis has always really intrigued me, because it’s a weird passage of events. And so historically, it’s a really important period of time. And it didn’t really make sense… The French and British invasion of the Sinai it was ridiculous. It didn’t really make a lot of sense. They invaded and were there for a matter of days and then they turned around and left.

And I always thought, what was going on there?

Allison

Why were they?

Meaghan

Why were they there? Maybe it’s something nefarious or something else going on, but they’re not… You don’t know yet. And so I thought, well, I’ll come up with a reason they were there.

Allison

Fantastic.

Meaghan

But then also alchemy is something that has always intrigued me. Not the mumbo jumbo esoteric idea of alchemy. But real alchemy that’s been around for thousands of years where it was a precursor of chemistry. You know, al-chem-y, chemistry.

And so the idea that there were these extraordinary men and women, some of the best known alchemists were actually women, that they were basically describing sub-atomic particles and nuclear physics before they even had the instruments to prove what they were saying was true. They were just the most extraordinary thinkers. And the idea of transmutation, transforming material objects, we now know to be true. And they were doing this 3000 years ago. And that has just always intrigued me. So that was a wonderful opportunity.

And the emerald tablet was, there are Greek travellers who describe seeing the emerald tablet that Alexander the Great found. And their description, the basis in history, or the historical basis of the story is actually really quite strong. And so I hope people get something, really take something away from that.

Allison

Yeah well as I said, I actually found all that stuff absolutely fascinating. And what I did find interesting though too is the idea of knowing that as the author of this story that you’ve written, you’ve taken what is in essence incredibly complicated stuff that you’ve obviously researched, you’ve obviously been down some rabbit holes with some of these things…

Meaghan

Warrens! Not even holes. They’ve been warrens.

Allison

And then of course you have to bring them back, put them into a story and make them a) relevant to the story, but also accessible. And I think that that’s something that… Is that something that… I mean obviously you’ve done a lot of this kind of work. But is that something that you find a relatively easy thing to do? To take these incredibly complicated things and basically bring them to people who haven’t done all of that research that you’ve done, and don’t have that understanding of the context and stuff.

Meaghan

Look, that’s something born with years and years of training. Because yes the problem for me always was that I would get totally immersed in the topic, know the nuts and bolts and find this detail, and then to start throwing that at people, they just, you just see their eyes glaze over. Because they’re either bored or just completely lost because they haven’t spent months researching it as you have.

So I think it possibly goes back to my days as a lecturer at the university, and having to condense some quite complex concepts to people who are just starting to study something. And communicating in quite relatable and engaging ways.

I mean, it’s like you’re throwing a hook out. And a lot of fishes swim by but then there’ll be a few fishes that start flitting around and you get them hooked. And so I do really strongly…

I do the same thing with building history, I do a scene with a cooking show TV series, with a fancy chandelier and turkey, for instance. And so I’m trying to teach and impart knowledge of history almost subliminally. Like, I just get it in there.

It’s taken me a long time to get there. But I hope I’ve reached a point now where I can communicate the history in interesting… Often, quite life changing information and knowledge in a way that is not daunting or boring. More importantly, boring. Who wants to read something that bores you?

Allison

No, nobody. Trust me.

Meaghan

No, no.

Allison

What about the settings? The sense of place in your stories is very real. The backdrop feels very much like another character in the story. There’s a lot of immersion going on. So what are some of the things that you do to conjure up that sense of place? Are there any techniques in particular that you use?

Meaghan

It’s quite funny. The places I’m describing, almost all I have been to. Those I haven’t, I have a very strong sense of what they’d be like, because they’re like places I’ve been. And actually when I’m writing to set the scene, I actually get a weird feeling. It’s like I’m transporting myself and then describing what I’m seeing. I can actually feel it. It’s kind of weird. I can actually literally feel it in my bones. I can feel it like being there. It’s almost like goose bumps down the spine, down the neck kind of… It’s like I’m transported there.

And when it’s been places I’ve been, in my head I am back there. And so I’m communicating that in words, and hopefully effectively. Because they’re all places I feel very strongly about. And love deeply. So yeah. I hope that that communicates.

Allison

Yes. Well, it does. So well done.

Meaghan

Good. Thank you.

Allison

And what are some of the things – just switching gears slightly – what are some of the sorts of things that you do to promote your novels? Are you out talking to people a lot? Are you online? Do you do social media? What kinds of things are you doing?

Meaghan

I’m social media-ing. Oh yes, I’m social media-ing out the wazoo. I wasn’t until I started writing novels. I get a bit pigheaded about things for no apparently good reason. And I was determined not to be on social media ever. And then I was told I had to be. And so I was a good author and I got myself an account set up. And in fact, it’s been fantastic. I’ve really enjoyed it. I know! Yes, I know. I’m big enough to admit when I was wrong.

Communicating with people who have read my books and people I don’t know, it actually is a real buzz to hear from and communicate with people that I don’t know, who’ve picked up my book in a bookshop and read it. And that’s actually an enormous thrill.

So yes, the social media thing is a very important thing to do. I mean, that’s really, in this day and age, the main thing. Obviously, podcasts such as this one, it’s great, yes, to get the word out there. And I do whatever is necessary to get the book promoted.

Allison

What platforms, what is your preferred social media platform? Which one do you like the best?

Meaghan

Which do I like the best? That’s tricky. Because they all have their own thing, don’t they? I really enjoy Instagram. I do write too much, though. The captions often end up essays, which I know is not the intention. But people read them, so that’s all right.

And I mean, Twitter I find is a different beast where I kind of just talk about other stuff often. But that draws people in.

I mean, I love, I’ve had a WordPress account for, that is a thing I have had for a very long time, a blog. Which I used to write about art market matters and then transformed into writing about writing matters. So that’s probably the one I have the strongest emotional attachment to. But I’m probably using Instagram the most.

And Facebook is really useful too. All the writers groups on Facebook are fabulous. They’re really, really useful and supportive.

Allison

So where if people are looking for your blog, where will they find it?

Meaghan

They’ll find it at WordPress and it’s… Actually if they just Google, it’s MeaghanWilsonAnastasios.com. So that’s the website that will divert you to my blog. And there’s also, if you just, Facebook, if you look up Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios Author you will find me. And Twitter, I can’t remember exactly. I should remember what they are, shouldn’t I?

Allison

It’s okay. I’ll find them, and I’ll put them in the show notes, so that people can follow you there.

Meaghan

Thank you so much.

Allison

No problem at all.

All right, and what are you currently working on? Is there another, is there a third novel on the way? Or…?

Meaghan

There is. There is. I’m… Yes. Had a rethink on the plot, lately, a very positive one, that just for no apparent reason… Your brain just sometimes does these little skips and goes, hey, that’d be interesting. I can’t be specific because it’s a bit too spoilery for The Emerald Tablet. But yes, that’s where I’m headed. And yeah, so, it’s wonderful.

Allison

Third instalment coming our way. Fantastic.

Meaghan

Exactly. Yeah. Very much.

Allison

All right. So we’re going to finish up our interview today with our infamous top three tips for writers. So perhaps you would like to share yours with us?

Meaghan

Absolutely. Look, I think number one is don’t be daunted by what might seem like an insurmountable thing. And just start writing. Just write. Worst case scenario you can throw a lot of stuff out. But that doesn’t matter, because it’s practice, just like athletes practice. Everything you write will make you better. So don’t be scared.

Take advice and listen to advice. Get people to read your material and take advice. But always remain true to yourself because ultimately if you’re not writing something you love, that’s important to you and means something to you, then there’s no point. I would never write something just to market. I mean, I suppose I write… Yeah, I guess I write for TV. I’m asked to write something and I do it. But not my novels. That’s my world. So always, do something that’s true to yourself.

And the third would probably be to… The third would be to just have faith in yourself. And don’t be too hard on yourself. I think a lot of writers really, really punish themselves and suffer, feel they have to suffer terribly. And it’s not to say that it has to be a walk in the park and a load of fun all the time. But just be kind to yourself. I think a lot of writers are really, really hyper critical of themselves. And none of us are perfect. I think if you get something down, and you get a manuscript written, I mean, how many people have written a full manuscript? That’s an achievement. Even if it never gets published, you’ve done it. And I just, yeah… That would be my advice, is to be kind to yourself.

Allison

Excellent. And fabulous advice all round. Best of luck with The Emerald Tablet, Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios. Look for it out in bookshops as we speak. And of course, look for Meaghan online for her various extraordinarily diverse interests and other projects, and try writing an intro. That’s all I’m saying is, read the bio, and then you go write the intro. But thank you very much for your time, Meaghan, I really appreciate it.

Meaghan

Thank you, Allison. It’s been a delight.


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