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. This week, Jenn interviews Helene Young.
If you know of any authors who write On The Go… let us know.
Jenny Old and Priscilla
Where do I write?: Usually on my computer, at the table inside the caravan we call Priscilla, because the flies drive me nuts and people stop and chat. Once we’re set up, I make a cup of tea and settle in with my thoughts. My wonderful husband, Rick, grabs a beer and heads off looking for alternative companionship. On travel days when I can’t type, I jot ideas in a journal.
Challenges of writing on the go?: Distractions! As I love exploring new places, my writing has to fit in with my adventures. (Also known as ‘research’!) A lack of internet and phone connection also makes life difficult, especially when editing or speaking to my publisher, or editor. Attempting to explain the order in which photos should appear in my recent book over a crackly line in outback Queensland, and with a friend’s toddler wanting attention, was very challenging.
Best thing about writing on the go?: No distractions! No demands: no babysitting, family, housework, friends, or commitments. Having the choice of where we will be and what we will do is real freedom. It makes every day different and presents interesting ‘meat’ for a book. The characters we encounter, the places we visit, all create a tapestry of experiences.
Worst thing about writing on the go?: Having to be disciplined with my manuscripts and commit to ‘working’ to deadlines set by others.
What is the soundtrack you write to while on the go: A lot of silent contemplation. I do most of my thinking in the car while we’re driving from A to B. (As Rick and I have been married for 50 years, we’ve said it all! AND he is deaf, so conversation is non-existent while driving.) I use driving time to formulate my ideas and plan the next phase. When we stop, I can’t wait to get it all down on the computer.
Do you think writing on the go has changed anything about your process?: Yes, I love the freedom from regular commitments. I can focus on my work without guilt, and every day is different. It’s inspiring to travel through our vast and spectacular country, which in turn helps my creativity. There is, however, the constant distraction of new places to experience.
It’s very different to work on the go and Rick and I have a lot of fun.
About the author . . . At twenty-two, Jenny fell in love, moved to far north Queensland’s Gulf Country, and found herself living in a shed with a 44-gallon drum for a stove and a shower rose and a bucket in a tree for a bathroom. Her debut novel, Back of Beyond, is published by Allen & Unwin. Jenny’s second book is due for release in March 2020. www.jennyold.com