I’m really excited to share this next interview, because Jaclyn Moriarty is an author whose work I exceptionally enjoy. The Year of Secret Assignments is definitely one of the more memorable books I read when I first started getting into YA. And I have gone back to it a few times as well, because the characters and storytelling style were just that awesome. Feeling Sorry for Celia and The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie were also highly enjoyable reads. She currently splits her time between Sydney, Australia, and Montreal, Canada. She has just completed her new book, very exciting. And without further ado…
Where do your ideas for writing come from?
Sometimes I lie on the floor, close my eyes and listen to music. Sometimes I ride around on the ferry on Sydney Harbour and look at the water. And sometimes I listen in to other people’s conversations in cafes.
Ooh, those all sound relaxing and inspiring! Do you find certain characters harder to write than others?
I’ve just finished writing a new book in the Ashbury-Brookfield series, and it has some characters from earlier books, including Lydia and Emily. For some reason, it always takes me a while to get into Lydia’s head. I think it might be because she is complicated and secretive. On the other hand, I find Emily easy to write – she always seems to have something to say. The difficult thing with Emily is getting her to shut up.
That’s very exciting! I kind of like Lydia’s secretiveness; she’s quite mysterious. What would you say is one event that changed your life utterly and irrevocably?
Having a baby.
If you couldn’t write, hypothetically, what would you do instead?
I suppose I would go back to being a lawyer, but that would make me cry. I used to want to be a teacher, or a psychologist, or an astronomer.
All very interesting aspirations! I’m glad you chose to be a writer though ;) What do you do when inspiration is lacking (i.e. the muse has gone on vacation)?
Run up and down the stairs, eat chocolate, listen to music, or just sigh and start googling the names of old boyfriends.
Don’t worry if you find it difficult to finish your stories, or if you haven’t got anything published yet. It can be a good thing to shift between stories for a few years – it helps to develop your style and imagination. Every now and then make yourself finish a very, very, very short story, just to remind yourself that you can. And you’ve got your whole life to get published.
Well said! Name three things you couldn’t live without?
The ocean, blueberries, Charlie (my little boy).
Words of wisdom – give a quote you live by?
My mother’s philosophy is that you should take on any problem with relish, throwing everything you’ve got at it until it’s solved. My dad decides what he wants to achieve and then makes it happen, ignoring the problems completely. I think they both have a point, but I would like to add that you should give yourself lots of treats along the way.
Thanks for the great interview, Jaclyn!