By Valerie Khoo
Our podcast, So You Want to be a Writer, has now hit over one million downloads! When my co-host Allison Tait and I started out on this journey we never even considered this magic number. We were too busy loving the fact that we got to present this show each week, talk with amazing writers, and connect with our fabulous community of listeners.
We’ve had the privilege to interview more than 250 published authors and professional writers and publishers, covering everything from fiction, non-fiction, children's writing, reference books, copywriting, agents and publishing.
Phew! So somehow out of those, I thought I'd copy Allison and select a few of my faves – 10 to be exact. It hasn't been easy. I always learn something new from every single person I interview, whether that's seasoned professionals or debut novelists. Everyone has such an interesting story. You can read Allison’s selection of her top 15 episodes here.
In putting together this list, I noticed that I've got a real soft spot for our graduates. It feels wonderful to know that we were a part of a writer's journey, no matter how big or small. I also seem to like the outliers, people who switched careers or came to writing late in life. So I hope you enjoy going back to listen to some of my favourite interviews.
Gabriella Coslovich, Ep 243
I'm starting off my list with the wonderful Gabriella Coslovich, author of Whiteley on Trial. I never would have thought that a book about art fraud could be so fascinating. But as I told Gabriella, I read it one sitting, so it's very much for a general audience.
Steve Bisley, Ep 207
I was delighted to talk with Steve Bisley about his memoir All the Burning Bridges. He was so easygoing and open and honest – you'd never guess he was a famous actor. It was nice to learn that he also has a love of stationery – I guess all us writers do!
Grant Faulkner, Ep 205
Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month – also known as Nanowrimo – an event held each year in November where people try to write a novel in a month. He's also the co-founder of 100 Word Story. Basically, Grant thinks the key to writing is writing a little every day.
David Crystal, Ep 152
Regular listeners will know I'm a total word nerd, so talking with David Crystal was a bit of a dream. He's the author of more than 100 books on grammar, words and etymology – we were really speaking the same language!
Kevin Kwan, Ep 78
I spoke with Kevin Kwan, author of the bestselling novels Crazy Rich Asians and its sequel China Rich Girlfriend – or as he called it, the Downton Abbey of Asia. Of course, Crazy Rich Asians has now been made to a blockbuster film with global success. And during this interview, I was astonished to discover that we have mutual friends!
Pamela Freeman, Ep 104
It's always fun to interview writers who are also presenters here at the Australian Writers' Centre. Pamela Freeman, who also writes as Pamela Hart, is the award-winning author of more than 30 books! She's so generous sharing her knowledge and advice.
Graeme Simsion, Ep 1 & Ep 100
We've been lucky enough to have Graeme on twice – he appeared in our very first episode and as a special return guest in episode 100. He's the author of the bestselling books The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect. At the age of 50, Graeme had a career change into screenwriting, proving it's never too late to start.
Sami Lukis, Ep 232
This was a really fun chat with Sami Lukis, whose book about her 30 years of dating life, Romantically Challenged, is an absolute delight to read. Again, another really open, honest chat about the process of writing a memoir and all the pitfalls and pleasures along the way.
Denise Sutherland, Ep 227
If you've ever wondered who writes indexes at the back of reference books – wonder no more! Denise Sutherland is a professional indexer who also happens to write crosswords, puzzles and mazes. And no surprises – Denise loves using a bullet journal to keep track of her tasks.
Joanna Nell, Ep 256
I don't know who was more excited, me or Joanna, when we had our chat. Joanna has listened to every single episode of the podcast and calls herself a fangirl! And of course, I was super excited to learn about the success of her debut novel because she is a graduate of several of our courses including Creative Writing Stage I, Novel Writing Essentials, and Pitch Your Novel: How to Attract Agents and Publishers.
Enjoy and thank you for your support.