Ep 355 Meet Rose Carlyle, author of ‘The Girl in the Mirror’.

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In Episode 355 of So You Want To Be A Writer: Meet Rose Carlyle, author of The Girl in the Mirror. Learn about the rise and rise of ‘stealth help' books. We congratulate the Ned Kelly award winners! Plus, we have 3 copies of The Windsor Diaries by Alathea Fitzalan Howard to give away.

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Show Notes

Criminally good writing in a year of unseen plot twists

The rise and rise of ‘stealth help’ books

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Writer in Residence

Rose Carlyle

Photo (c) Jane Ussher

Rose Carlyle is a law professor who has written intermittently throughout her life and who began writing fiction in 2016. She was awarded first class honours in her creative writing Masters at the University of Auckland and was granted a prestigious mentorship under which she developed and completed this manuscript. She spends her spare time in far-flung places and currently lives in New Zealand. The Girl in the Mirror is her debut novel.

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Interview Transcript

 

Valerie Khoo 

Thanks for joining us today, Rose.

 

Rose Carlyle 

Thanks for having me on the show, Valerie.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Right. The Girl in the Mirror, your debut novel, it's gone nuts. It hasn't been out for long. It's getting so much buzz. Gripping from the first page. For those people who haven't read the book yet, can you tell us what it's about?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Sure. So it's a book that poses a question really, which is an age-old question, if you could switch your life for somebody else's who seems to have a much better life, would you do it? Particularly if you knew that you could never go back? So the story follows Iris who's an identical twin who has always felt inferior to her sister Summer. And of course, it's a thriller, so not everything is going to be as it seems in the story.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Are you a twin or have twins in your family or close to you?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Not in my immediate family, no. My parents both had siblings who were twins, but they were not twins themselves. But I did actually write this book with close collaboration from my older sister. So it's been interesting to be writing a book about sisters with so much help from my own sister.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Yeah, right. How did your older sister help you? I mean, that's unusual.

 

Rose Carlyle 

Well, it was very unusual. My sister and I had both been trying to write novels and we really got to the point where we… I think your first novel is often a practice novel and you don't know that when you start. But we got to the point of realizing that we didn't really know how to go on. And she said to me, “I'm thinking I'll just stop and I'll start a new novel, and it's gonna be about twins.” And I said, “Oh, I want my next novel to be about twins as well.”

And that was just the start of the coincidences, because then we just started throwing ideas at each other. And it was just amazing how it just all seemed to fall into place as though the story already existed. And we just needed to share, pool our knowledge in order to put it together.

So then we realized that there was only one story here, and I'll always be grateful that Maddy said, “Well, you write the story, and I'll help you and I'll edit it for you.”

And that's what she's done.

 

Valerie Khoo 

And she's not going to release a book about twins?

 

Rose Carlyle 

We did talk at one point about how different would it be if she wrote the same story but a different author writing it. But no, she's actually working on a young adult romance. But that has taken a bit of a back foot because Girl in the Mirror just got so busy for us that she spent a lot of time editing.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So how did this idea form in the first place? Was there a lightbulb moment that you started chatting to your sister about? Or, you know, what made you think of this premise?

 

Rose Carlyle 

It was really a scene that happens in the middle of the novel. And it's actually a sex thing. It's not terribly graphic. It's just got really interesting sexual politics. And it was a scene that we felt it was surprising that it hadn't really been done before. It felt like such an intriguing idea. And we found that when, you know, our first readers read this scene, every single person reacted in a different way and had quite strong opinions.

We could kind of imagine a book club coming to blows over the thing because people had such different ideas of who was in the right and who was in the wrong and what people should have done.

And so we felt backwards from that scene to set up the novel and set up the premise of the novel. And we also sort of went forwards from that scene to figure out what the consequences would be of that moment in time.

So it's, you know, it's been interesting to write a book that really started with one scene. But then as soon as we had that idea, everything else seemed to fall into place.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Yes. Now, what I'm absolutely fascinated by is you have used the word ‘we' countless times, but there's one name on the book cover:

Rose Carlyle. So really, to what extent did your sister get involved in this? And on a practical level, how did you nut it out? Like did you meet every Friday at the pub or, you know, that sort of thing? You obviously feel compelled to use the word ‘we'.

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah. Well, definitely for that conversation because it was the two of us. And at that point, we hadn't decided who was going to write the story. But I mean, I wrote it. It's not a 50/50 collaboration, but it's really hard to describe the extent of Maddy's involvement because it was, I mean, it was more than you would get normally from an editor, you know, and she was very honest in her appraisal of the manuscript. So I would send it to her one chapter at a time, and it would often come back with, “Oh, this is boring!” Very honest feedback, which is absolutely what I wanted. I didn't need anyone to tiptoe around or to flatter me and tell me that it was good.

But she did also, she was always rooting for me. You know, she said to me, the day that we came up with the story, after I was driving home and driving over the Harbour Bridge, she phoned me to say, “Look, I just think this book is going to go all the way. It's going to be crazy.” And she mentioned Hollywood, actually.

And so that was the flip side of all of the feedback that she gave me. And all the times she told me that, you know, this scene's terrible, and I should cut it completely. I always knew that she had my interests at heart. So it's been wonderful.

And in fact, we talked about whether it should have two names on the cover or whether we should adopt a sort of pen name that meant both of us, like Liv Constantine, who is actually two people, two sisters.

But in the end, we decided that this one, this project was my book, and she didn't want her name on it.

 

Valerie Khoo 

And so tell me, I understand you're a law professor. Tell me about, like, if you can give me a very brief overview of your career to this point so we can get some context as to how you arrived here.

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah, I mean, law professor is the American term because they don't say law lecturer, which is how I would describe myself to other people in this part of the world. But I've actually quit the job as of June because I could see that this was… I think it was, ironically, it was kind of COVID that made me realize that it's time to take life by the throat and really back myself. And if I'm going to be a full-time writer, now is the time really.

So even though people said it's a bad time to leave a job, it did feel like the right time for me. So yeah, I'm now a full-time writer.

But I started practicing law at the age of 21 and practiced up until I had children. And then I became a barrister and practiced parttime as a barrister. But I had three children in four years old, in less than four years, and the third one was quite unwell. So in the middle of a very difficult year, my husband at the time and I made the decision that I would stay home with them. My daughter was in an immune compromised position where she really needed to be kept at home for quite a long time.

And so I went back to law as a teacher in 2018. So it was quite a long break from law. And it's been a great job to be teaching. It's given me the headspace to write the novel. And I wrote a lot of it early in the morning before doing my law job. But now, I've just been really enjoying this amazing freedom of just writing full time.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Yes. When did you start writing? You know, because obviously, you were busy with a career doing law. When did you a) become interested in writing and b) actually, you know, decide to dedicate some time to it?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah, well, I could say that I started writing when I was six. Because I remember that I nagged my parents to get me a typewriter. And my godfather actually bought me one and I started writing a novel on it. And then a very long time went by without me writing anything, you know. I mean, I remember trying to write fan fiction as a teenager and so on. But I didn't seriously try because I was very busy living my life. And as well as raising a family, we did some big sailing trips, we sailed across the Indian Ocean.

So I was really, really busy just being a mum, and, you know, doing these adventures with my family. So I didn't really start again until about 2017 when I just suddenly hurled myself into it and wondered why I hadn't done it sooner. But it's never too late.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So when you decided to get back into it just a few years ago, was it this book that you got into or were you writing something else?

 

Rose Carlyle 

No. I actually decided to do a course at the University of Auckland and I started writing a novel for that. And I think I would have been horrified if I'd known that I would write a first draft of that novel and then ditch it. But that was actually a really, really good move for me because I learned a lot from writing it.

And then the idea for The Girl in the Mirror came along, as I've described, all in a big rush, in one day, and that was just before I submitted the first novel for the purposes of the course. So I spent five more days finishing off that novel and submitting it for the course. And then I just never looked at it again. And I think that that is actually quite a good way to learn to be a writer. You've got to go through that difficult process and really struggle. And my sister says the same thing. I'm sure there are people out there who manage to publish the first novel that they try to write, but they've probably spent just as long trying to fix it up and, you know, rewrite the parts that don't work as if you did just start with a fresh novel. I don't know which way is the most efficient way to be honest. It's probably very individual.

 

Valerie Khoo 

And so can you just take us through, if you can remember, a bit of a timeline? I mean, you've got this idea in one day. And then what happened? Did you, you know, think about it for six months and then start writing it? Or did you start writing it very soon? And how long did that take? And so on?

 

Rose Carlyle 

No. So the idea arrived, came to my sister and I, on the 26th of October 2017.

 

Valerie Khoo

Oh my goodness, okay.

 

Rose Carlyle

Yeah, of course I remember. And so five days later I handed in my first novel for the course at the university. And I slept for a couple of days. And I'd been determined to give myself a bit of a break from writing but I just couldn't, I just had to start writing The Girl in the Mirror almost straight away. And so really started writing it in November 2017 and had finished the first draft by June 2018. So that was about six months.

 

Valerie Khoo

Right.

 

Rose Carlyle

And then edited it for a few months and sent it to Allen & Unwin at the very end of 2018 just before Christmas and didn't hear back from them until March 2019.

 

Valerie Khoo

What!

 

Rose Carlyle

Which is probably pretty standard because it was just sitting on the slush pile from someone they didn't know anything about, a complete unknown.

But once I heard back from them things happened really fast because, you know, they started sending it off overseas and sending it to translation territories and so on. So I thought when I got the publishing offer that it was quite, you know, more than a year between the offer and the proposed publication date, August 2020. But actually a lot happened during that time. It was very busy.

 

Valerie Khoo 

And so you had sent it to Allen & Unwin, but did you send it anywhere else?

 

Rose Carlyle 

No, I didn't.

 

Valerie Khoo

Why?

 

Rose Carlyle

Well, I guess, to be honest, they were my dream publisher.

 

Valerie Khoo

Okay.

 

Rose Carlyle

Because they've got, I knew that they had an office in Australia and New Zealand, and everyone I ever heard mention them just say great things about them.

And I guess I also thought, well, I just don't have a clue whether this manuscript is ready or not. So if they reject it, then that's the time to sort of go back and revise it and see if I can look at it with new eyes. It felt like it had been quite a rush to write a novel in, you know, a year, write it, edit it, and send it off in less than a year. So I didn't have a lot of confidence in myself.

But then when I got the offer, I just felt absolutely validated by how much they loved it. And obviously, I didn't need to go and do another draft of it. It was fine as it was, although, you know, then I went through the normal editing process with them.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So let's talk about the six months that you were writing it, six or seven months. At the time you were working as a law lecturer, is that right? So tell me how you fit it in. And did you have some kind of routine where you were able to produce a certain number of words per day or week or whatever? How did you make it happen?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yes, I think it is really important to write regularly, even if it's just for a short time. So I was by that stage a single mum. I was raising four teenagers, which is just crazy. And I was trying to… I started this new job just after I started writing the novel. I started it in January 2018. So that was a huge adjustment as well.

So I was very busy and very tired. But I heard an interview with Joy Cowley on the radio, who's obviously a hugely successful children's author, and she said that you must give your best time to writing. And I thought, “Well, for me, that's the morning because I'm a morning person.” And with teenagers, it's possible to wake up early in the morning and to wake up earlier than I needed to, to start work.

So I would wake up early in the morning and write early in the morning. And in a way I felt like it was sort of a blessing in that strict schedule that I had because I couldn't keep writing after I got tired and after I started to produce writing that was less than my best work. I really only had a short time and I had to really focus on that. I'd have a bit longer in the weekends, because teenagers sleep in quite a long time if you leave them.

So that was… That just worked really well for me. And in fact, I realized that I only needed 20 minutes to make some progress. I never had a daily word count that I was aiming for, because I had to stop when I had to stop. You know, if I had to go and get the kids out the door to school and go to work and everything then there was no way that I could keep writing. So I never had a word limit. And it probably varied wildly, but I got there in the end.

 

Valerie Khoo 

And so what was the most challenging thing about writing this book?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Well, probably one of the most worrying things was writing the final chapter because even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, and I can talk about this without spoilers, so listeners don't need to rush away with their ears covered, but I didn't know how I was going to write that chapter. And I knew it was going to be quite challenging. And I didn't really have a plan B for what to do if I couldn't find a way to write it.

So I mean, you'll understand this a lot better after you read it, but there were some questions that I had. And my sister kept saying to me, “How are you going to write the ending?” And I kept saying, “I've got an idea. I'm going to try it. And if it doesn't work, then I'm going to come running to you and say help.”

And luckily, it did work. It was very, very hard to write, but it did actually work. And of course, I probably edited that chapter twice as much as every other chapter just to get it to work. But yeah, that was particularly difficult.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Now you mentioned that you have spent some time sailing. And, in fact, an important part of this book involves sailing. Tell us a little bit about how sailing on your own yacht all over the ocean has had an impact on your creativity or on this book.

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah, it was interesting that that was one part of the novel that wasn't planned out on that day when my sister and I came up with the main plot points. So even though it seems like it's an integral part of the novel, that was not actually something that we had planned on that day.

But I knew that I had to write something that I had really done because I wanted it to feel really authentic. So I took some of the extraordinary experiences that I have had at sea, and I put them into the novel. So things like that amazing feeling, it's very rare, but sometimes when you're in the middle of the ocean, it's so calm that you can actually go for a swim. And if you're in the tropics, it's quite tempting. So I wanted to put that feeling in the novel of what it's like to climb off your boat in the middle of the ocean. And we would never jump because it's said to attract sharks so we'd just slip into the water. And you just feel like you're walking on the moon. You're just on the very edge of existence. You're only allowed to stay in the water for a few minutes in case you have attracted sharks. And I mean, I've done this with my children, so we're very cautious. It's very quickly in and out before too long, but there's just those few moments that you know you're going to remember for the rest of your life. And that's one of the things that I really wanted to capture.

And there are other things too, like sailing through a lightning storm, and so on. So I just poured everything into this novel. I didn't keep things back.

 

Valerie Khoo 

I wouldn't be slipping into the water even for just a few minutes out in the middle of the ocean! But anyway. So with this novel, you say you knew what was going to happen at the end. Did you also plot out the middle? Or did you kind of just see what happened?

 

Rose Carlyle 

The main plot points were plotted out but there wasn't, it was a little bit muddled in my head in the middle. So I had, I'm actually a real plotter, I had a plan for each chapter, including the first and last sentence of each chapter, which most other writers are horrified when they hear that or aghast or impressed.

 

 

Valerie Khoo

How do you do that? You plotted out each chapter and had already written the first and last sentence? How does that, how does your brain work in that way?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Well, a lot of them did change. A lot of them did change. So I had that. And, you know, when I first wrote it, I think it was 23 chapters in the book, and now I think they are only about 16. And it was really in the middle there that I found that some of those chapters just grew and grew and grew and you can't make a 10,000-word chapter. So that was when I would have to chop it up.

And you know, some new material came along. So there's one character who appears in part two of the book and I'd actually written the first line of his dialogue, and then I thought, what if I just make this be somebody else? Not who you think it's gonna be? So I just created a new character mid-sentence.

So I guess even a sort of uber-plotter like me occasionally just lets the writing carry me into new territory and a new character sort of appeared before my eyes as I was writing.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So you send this off, Allen & Unwin eventually get back to you and say that they want to publish it, and obviously some time passed before it's released. So, in fact, it's released in Australia in August 2020. But you quit your law job in June. What was the trigger? What was the thing that made you actually go, I can do this full time? Because the book hadn't come out yet.

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah, I know. But it had been sold to HarperCollins in America, and there had been an auction for that. And it had also sold into four translation territories, and it had sold into the UK and Commonwealth. And there had seen this interest from Hollywood as well. So I could see it was gonna do well.

And like I say, it was really the whole… I mean, who wants to talk about COVID? But it was really going through that experience with COVID, where I realized that, you know, life is short. And you've got to really grab it and back yourself.

And I just started to have faith that this novel was going to do well enough for me to at least give it a go, you know, give it a bash and see whether I can be a full time writer rather than sort of clinging to the safety net of my job.

It was a difficult decision because, you know, I did enjoy my job. But this felt like the time to follow my dreams if I was ever going to do it.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Fantastic. So you obviously sent that off, originally, at the end of 2018, I think you said. When did you start writing the next novel?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah. A few days after, I think.

 

Valerie Khoo 

What? Really?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah, I know. Because I mean that's, honestly, I would tell anyone who has sent their novel off to either a publisher or an agent to just start writing your next novel right away. Because the time really drags. The first thing is, the time really drags when you're waiting for your novel to come off the slush pile and have someone read it. And the second thing is that if your first novel really takes off, you're not going to have time to write your second one. So the more that you can get written, the sooner the better.

So I'm really glad that I… I was probably about a third of the way through before – or I thought I was a third of the way through – before I heard back from Allen & Unwin and I was really grateful for that. And then of course, I wrote some more of it in that time between getting the offer and the book actually being published, which that time just seemed to rush by so fast because I was busy all that time editing The Girl in the Mirror, working on my second manuscript and realizing slowly that this was going to be bigger than I thought.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So the thing is, though, if you were starting to write the second novel two days after you submitted the first, you must have already started thinking about it well before that. In fact, during while you were writing The Girl in the Mirror. Is that correct? And if so, to what extent had you formed that idea?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah, it was… Yeah, it's kinda hard to say. I had had a similar experience as with The Girl in the Mirror. But this time, I wasn't actually in person with my sister. It was a phone call. And we had a similar process.

 

Valerie Khoo

Oh my god.

 

Rose Carlyle

Yeah. And now I'm actually at the point where I've got about three more ideas for novels, which is quite exciting, but also frustrating because, you know, you can only write one novel at a time. And I can't bash one out in a month. I'd love to be one of those people who can, you know, do NaNoWriMo and be ready with another novel. But, you know, you have to love the idea enough to spend a good year to 18 months of your life on it. So you've got to really be happy with it.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So you finished it?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah, I have pretty much. Well, I'm not completely happy with it, but I have actually sent it off.

 

Valerie Khoo 

So you must be writing your third novel now then?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Give me a couple more days. I'm trying not to because, you know, I've… You know, we're on lockdown here. So the house needs a bit of work and I'm trying to actually, you know, spend a bit of time with my kids and catch up with all of the jobs that just constantly get juggled along with writing.

I mean, this is the problem with having a passion, isn't it, that everything else gets neglected? And now I'm actually managing to spend some time in my garden, looking after my hens and reading, and all those other things that normally get neglected.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Do you know when the second novel is coming out?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Well, I haven't really talked to my publishers, but I think the aim is to go for an August date next year. Yeah. I mean, it's, you know, it's a long process.

 

Valerie Khoo

Yeah, yeah. Oh my god. Okay, what was the most, in the actual writing process, so the six months when you were writing the first novel, what was the most rewarding part of it? Like, what was the thing that gave you the biggest buzz?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah, sometimes the most rewarding part of writing is also the most difficult. So there was one conversation that I wrote, I think it's chapter 18 now, just a conversation between two characters, but one of them has only just come into the novel. And I just, I spent a week on this conversation, which is a long time when you look at how long how, how quickly I wrote the novel on the whole.

But I felt really, really satisfied with it when I finished it, because I felt like I really got to know this new character who'd appeared. And I'd really made that conversation work. It was one of the most challenging conversations. And I think that was because I had such a strong sense of the relationship between these two characters. But I also had a very strong sense of where this conversation needed to end. And those two things were in tension with each other. So it was almost like the characters were trying to get me to let them sort everything out in this conversation, but because it's a thriller, you can't sort everything out till the end, so I had to keep pushing them, pushing the characters in a different direction.

It really felt like they were alive and they were trying to make the story go a different way and I just had to keep working with that.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Did you ever think that it would be this popular?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Well, I think all writers have dreams of their book being popular. But you sort of know that you're deluded and that it's not really going to be number one the week it comes out. And it's not really going to sell out. Which, I mean, in New Zealand that has happened, it's number one now.

 

Valerie Khoo

Amazing.

 

Rose Carlyle

And your book's not really going to attract interest from Hollywood. You know, you sort of… So I would just, it was quite weird because I would keep trying to tell myself to stop dreaming and then good things would happen and I would let myself dream again. I almost went a little bit crazy for a while there just when, you know, things were happening so fast.

But yeah, I was actually turning cartwheels at times. You know, I would get these exciting emails from New York. And I would, and I'd be home alone, the kids would be at their dad's and I'd be like turning cartwheels in my living room, which isn't really big enough to do that.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Like actually turning cartwheels?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah. Like, I'm literally saying that I would actually go and turn cartwheels. Yeah.

 

Valerie Khoo

Oh my god, that's so wonderful!

 

Rose Carlyle

Yeah, my sister and I, we danced a lot as children. And it's interesting how we keep bringing that into our understanding of being creative. So my sister would often stand up and sort of dance the way that she thought a novel should start. Which is hard to describe. But it's like she would be saying, you know, this is the kind of mood you need to establish on the first page of your novel. And it can't be like this, it's got to be like this, and she'd show me with dance moves.

And it's interesting that we've got that shared language.

 

Valerie Khoo

That is fascinating.

 

Rose Carlyle

And we quite often use our physical bodies to, you know, like we would act out a scene together. So, you be Iris and I'll be Summer and let's actually act this out as though it's going to be filmed.

And yeah, so then even that moment of jubilation has to be expressed in an actual cartwheel.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Yeah. So first of all The Girl in the Mirror: the musical. But also, when you say that you and your sister acted it out, you mean you actually acted out a scene? Not necessarily in dance, but the dialogue in the scene, for example? Is that what you mean?

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah, there's one scene that's sort of really building towards the climax of the novel where I started describing what I wanted to happen in this chapter. And my sister jumped up and started being Iris moving around the room, saying, “Oh, yes, she comes here, and she does this. And then she goes into this room.” And she's being Iris, acting it out for me. Yeah.

So I mean that was really helpful because it really gives you a sense of what the character is doing and thinking. And I'll quite often, you know, I've heard about method acting and I do method writing, you know, if I've got a character who needs to… Like I would go down to the beach and actually dive under the waves in order to describe what it looks like under there.

So yeah, I think that's… Some people have, other writers have looked at me like I'm crazy when I've described doing this.

 

Valerie Khoo 

I've never heard it. Not the thing about the diving, but the thing about the dance. I've never heard of it. It's unique.

 

Rose Carlyle 

Yeah, well, I guess it's just really individual. And it just depends. I think it's because both Maddie and I as very young children were dancing. So that is how our creativity comes out.

 

Valerie Khoo 

Fascinating. Okay. And so finally, what would be your top three tips for aspiring writers who hope to be in a position like you are one day, you know, with sold all over the world, multiple translations, whispers of Hollywood, and everything.

 

Rose Carlyle 

Well, yeah, okay, only three. I'll do my best.

Okay. So I guess the first thing I would say is that you've got to write from the heart. You've really got to believe in your story. And it's got to be your story. You can't say, “What do I think will sell? What does the world want? What's going to have wide appeal?” It's got to be your own individual story that really comes from you. Even though I don't mean that it has to be autobiographical, because I certainly hope people realize Iris is not me and the story is not autobiographical at all. So that would be the first thing.

The second thing I would say is that you have to be really persistent and work really hard. You have to put in untold hours. You know, that whole thing about 10,000 hours, probably true. And you have to really fit that in around your life. Because, you know, no one's ever gonna say to you, “Hey, how about you quit your job and I'll just pay for everything while you sit in the room and write?” So you've really got to make that happen for yourself and just really put in the hard work.

And I guess my third piece of advice would be that you've got to be humble and realize that you don't really know how to write when you start. And if you don't go through that process of thinking, “this is really hard and what I'm writing is bad, and it's no good,” then you're probably not going to get better. If you just think, “oh, this is wonderful. I'm writing great stuff,” you are probably never going to get any better.

It was Chris Cleave who said to me when I first started writing, and he came out to New Zealand, and I absolutely loved his book, so I really listened, he said, “Writer's block is actually your friend because that's the point where you realize that what you're writing is not good enough and can improve. And that's the moment when it does improve is when you get writer's block. So you just have to push through it.”

So that's only three things. I did well there, didn't I?

 

Valerie Khoo 

That's brilliant. Thank you. And congratulations on your book. I can already tell it's going to be hyper-successful. And thank you so much for your time today.

 

Rose Carlyle 

Thanks for having me. It's been a pleasure to chat.

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