Briefly tell us about your book.
Sure! Thank you for asking.
The End of Cuthbert Close is the story of neighbours, Cara, Beth and Alex – three very different women bonded by a shared love of Bundt cake and a close attachment to the street where they live. The Close is an oasis of calm and kindness. The kind of street where kids play cricket together and neighbours pitch in each year for an end-of-summer party.
But when newcomer Charlie Devine – the glamorous wife of online lifestyle guru The Primal Guy – roars straight into the party with her huge removal truck and her teenage daughter with no care or regard for decades-old tradition, the guacamole really hits the fan.
Cara thinks the family just needs time to get used to the village-like atmosphere. Beth wants to give them home-cooked meals to help them settle in. Alex says it’s an act of war. Which one is right?
What are you hoping the reader will take away from reading your book?
I want the reader to be moved. I want them to smile, to shed a tear, have a giggle and furiously turn the page to see what happens next. I’d also love them to walk away and think about their own neighbourhood relationships.
‘You can’t choose your neighbours’ is the tag-line, but I hope readers get the sense that what you can choose is whether or not to befriend them. A good relationship with a neighbour is gold. A bad one can ruin your life.
If I looked at your internet history, what would it reveal about you?
Please – don’t look! You’ll think I’m quite depraved. In the name of book research (not just for this one, but also the one I’m working on now) I have searched everything from how to smuggle drugs, what bodies go through when they’re cremated, current slang terminology for cannabis, treatments for heart attack, and, for a bit of light relief, cassoulet recipes. I’m also googling a lot of nudism and naturist websites at present.
One day, the Australian Federal Police will no doubt come knocking, expecting to find a gang of cassoulet-loving, clothes-free criminals in my house. I trust they’ll accept my defence of but it’s book research!
What’s the easiest and most difficult parts of your job as a writer?
I do love working from home. The fact that I have to neither shower nor dress strikes me as being tremendously appealing, not to mention efficient. I also have to say that writers are a generally terrific bunch, and when we do choose to shower, dress and venture outside of our writing caves to meet up, we have the loveliest time. Discovering this wonderful community has been a true joy.
The hardest part of the writing life is dealing with the nasty voice of self-doubt that constantly sits on an author’s shoulder. I call mine Dorothy, and she’s a grade-A pain the neck who tells me everything I write is rubbish. She turns up for work every day, showered and dressed. She loves cardigans.
Do you write about people you know? Or yourself?
The conventional wisdom is that each character an author creates is one-third someone we know, one-third ourselves and one-third from the imagination. I think that’s about right. There’s a piece of myself and everyone around me in every character I create. I’m not a particularly imaginative person (though the internet history might suggest otherwise) but I’m a good observer of life.