Today we’re chatting with author Leigh Hopkinson about her new memoir Two Decades Naked. Now, we’re pretty sure even the staunchest of naturalists would struggle to spend that long starkers, so we thought we’d get to the bottom of this. (Pun absolutely intended.)
Hi Leigh, for those readers who haven’t read your book, can you please enlighten us?
“Two Decades Naked is a memoir about the 20 years I spent stripping in Christchurch, London and Melbourne. It's a celebration of the weird and wonderful world of striptease and the people who work in it.”
What made you decide to share this part of your life?
“I wanted to humanise the women, to confront some of the stigma that surrounds strippers and sex workers generally. I also wanted to provide readers with a sneak peek into a world that many might never get to visit – and to entertain them, because for me, stripping is primarily a form of entertainment.”
When you are writing, what's your typical day like – do you have a writing routine?
“I’m usually up by 7.30am and off for a run or a yoga session before breakfast over a good book, then I’m into it. Most days I head into my local library for a 10am start and work until around 6pm. Occasionally, I’ll write from home or at a café for a change of scene. I try to keep office hours and turn off my email and my phone — and try not to continually snack when the words aren’t flowing. I work best when I have external structure and deadlines.”
That’s a full day. So what's next for you?
“More time in nature and more writing! I’m working on some non-fiction pieces for the daily papers and some short stories. I think shorter forms are a great way to explore craft and play with ideas before committing to a longer work. I’d like to write a novel one day.”
And finally, what's your advice for aspiring writers?
“Persist. Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you. Take your writing seriously, work hard and learn your craft. And don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It can be difficult to keep going when it’s just you and your laptop and you don’t have a lot to show for your efforts.
“Join your local or national writers’ centre and make the most of visiting speakers and events such as writers’ festivals. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and get inspired. Short courses can be an awesome opportunity to share your work and potentially form a writers’ group for workshopping. (If it weren’t for my writers’ group, I doubt I would have finished my memoir.) Most of all, keep writing!”
Excellent advice! Leigh’s memoir Two Decades Naked ($29.99), is published by Hachette Australia. And you’ll find more information on her website.