One of our favourites here at Better Reading is Jenn J McLeod. Jenn writes her novels while travelling Australia in her van Myrtle the Turtle. Over the next month, we’ll publish a series of interviews Jenn has done with authors who write from some unusual places – a boat, a van… even a tractor. We think you’ll enjoy reading about these Authors On-The-Go, with Jenn’s own story being the first posted.
If you know of any authors who write On The Go… let us know.
Jenn J. McLeod and Myrtle the Turtle
Where do I write?: I have a purpose-built desk inside Myrtle the Turtle. I also tote a regular office chair around the country, but I actually prefer to sit in a camp chair outside with the sights and the smells of the country landscape I’m usually writing about.
What are the challenges of writing on the go?: I’m not a writer who can lift the laptop lid and make use of a spare thirty minutes. While I can physically be anywhere, my head has to be ‘in the zone’ so I need to stay put for days to be really productive.
Best thing about writing on the go?: The changing scenery. When writing A Place to Remember, I was camped in a paddock on the QLD fifth-generation cattle station that inspired the setting. Right now, I’m writing a father-daughter story set in a NSW beachside caravan park back in the 1980s. Ahh, the memories!
Worst thing about writing on the go?: Internet! Are you seeing a theme amongst us nomads! I’m currently pulling my hair out trying to get this article to Better Reading with an intermittent 3G mobile connection. I miss not having a printer to print my manuscript and also a bookshelf full of books to inspire me. I do, however, carry my own book stock on board and regularly hand-sell to holidaymakers. (Then I walked around the van park every morning asking them what chapter they’re up to!!)
What is the soundtrack you write to while on the go?: County life! It’s a theme that runs through my contemporary family dramas. I can’t write to music—especially when it’s coming from the caravan next door—but I don’t need silence to write either. Some sounds can interrupt the flow, but some turn into writing exercises. Right now I’m hearing the fierce emotions that accompany a loud adult argument, while up the road is the heart-breaking screech of a five-year-old with a scraped knee. (Both are perfect for my current book.) Living outdoors, surrounded by real life and mother nature, is an energy source for my brain and my writing.
Do you think writing on the go has changed anything about your process?: Not my process, but travelling has changed my writing. When not cossetted in a house, in an office, at a desk, I’m surrounded by sights, sounds, smells and other sensations. I love it when a reviewer writes ‘I could taste the dusty plains’.
About the author . . . Living in a purple and white caravan called Myrtle the Turtle, Australia’s nomadic novelist is ticking things off her bucket list and finding inspiration for her contemporary family stories with a backdrop of country life. Her 6th novel is House of Wishes. www.jennjmcleod.com