'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 15 August 2017

10 Quirky Questions with author Gabrielle Williams

1. What's your hidden talent?
I’ve got a black belt in karate. I use it mainly to tie up my yoga mat these days, but still. Black belt. Don’t mess with me.

2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why? 
I adore Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights. He’s so vindictive and take-no-prisoners and crazy and bent – what’s not to love? Plus, he gets bonus points for being immortalised by such a cool chick as Kate Bush.

3. You're hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite? (alive or dead)
Margaret Atwood would be top of my pops (especially for The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin. And Cat’s Eye. And, oh for God’s sake, her entire catalogue). Also Ann Patchett because to be able to write such a masterful book as Bel Canto, well, I need to grill her and find out how she does it.

John Steinbeck for everything, but especially the wistful beauty of Of Mice and Men (by the way, have you read Robert Newton’s book, When We Were Two – it has that same masculine vulnerability. I highly recommend it). Emily Bronte for Wuthering Heights (if Heathcliffe is messed up, the woman who created him MUST have some stories to tell), and finally it’d be a toss up between Charlotte Bronte for Jane Eyre (what was going on in the lives of those sisters, for them both to write such gothic books?) and Jane Austen. I think I’d need to sneak another chair to the table, because I can’t decide between the two of them.

4. Which literary invention do you wish was real?
The literary invention that makes people want to buy all my books.

5. What are five words that describe your writing process?
Procrastinator, avoider, lunch-time napper, and then insane-crazy-person-write-like-a-maniac-to-meet-deadline (I know that’s more than five words, but you know…)

6. Which are the five words you would like to be remembered by as a writer?
Funny, interesting, compelling, writes from a place of truth, relatable (again, more than five words, but, hey, whatcha gonna do?).

7. Picture your favourite writing space. What are five objects you would find there?
Oven, cooktop, saucepans, salt and pepper. I have a study, but I tend to find myself writing at the kitchen bench more often than not, because the sun comes streaming in the back windows and it’s really lovely.

8. Grab the nearest book, open it to page 22 and look for the second word in the first sentence. Now, write a line that starts with that word. (Please include the name of the book!)
The word is ‘next’. The book is The Lost Pages, by Marija Pericic, which just won the Vogel. My line is, ‘Next time I’m going to open a different book with a different second-word-first-sentence, because ‘next’ is such an uninspiring place to start.’

9. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask?
I’d like to ask Lionel Shriver how she managed, emotionally, to write such a harrowing book as We Need to Talk About Kevin.

10. Which would you rather do: Never write another story or never read another book?
No contest: Never write another story. Reading is one of my most favourite things ever to do, and there are so many amazing books out there that I haven’t managed to get to yet.

Gabrielle Williams lives in Melbourne and has three kids, one husband and a dog. In the name of research, she has spent time underground with a clandestine group called the Cave Clan, conducted a series of in-depth interviews with a group of notorious art thieves, and spent some time animating strawberries and trawling Tinder. She is the author of the critically acclaimed YA novels Beatle Meets Destiny, The Reluctant Hallelujah and The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex, all of which have been shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards.