Insta Perfect: Q&A with Holly Wainwright about her hilarious new novel How to be Perfect

Insta Perfect: Q&A with Holly Wainwright about her hilarious new novel How to be Perfect

About the author:

Holly Wainwright is a former-Mancunian Sydneysider who came to Australia as a footloose traveller more than 20 years ago. Since then, Holly has had a long career as a journalist and editor, originally in travel and celebrity magazines and now online. She’s been working in digital media for three years, most recently as Head of Content at Mamamia. She hosts two podcasts: This Glorious Mess and Mamamia Out Loud, has two small children, lives by the ocean and wishes there were four more hours in every day.

Purchase a copy of How to be Perfect here 

Read our review of How to be Perfect here 

How To Be Perfect is all about the ‘cult of self-improvement’. Can you tell us a bit about this phenomenon and what inspired you to write a novel about it?

I start every Monday morning paleo. I go to bed every Monday feeling disappointed with myself for giving into the siren song of grains. I am not alone in this. In the era of “overwhelm” we (and I’m making the bold claim to speak for quite some number of women here) are always looking for ways we can control anything. In our noisy, relentless environment, the promise of the life-changing benefits of a sprinkling of gold dust in your smoothie or a ‘no carbs after 3pm’ rule is ridiculously attractive. That was the starting point. Well, that and two of the main characters from The Mummy Bloggers. I felt we really needed know what had happened to those women.

There is an entire cast of female characters in your novel, each trying to navigate their own unique experiences of womanhood and motherhood in today’s modern age. Are some of their experiences influenced by your own?

Certainly. My experience and the experiences of many of my friends fill this book. I work in digital media and deal with “influencers” constantly. But what I’m even closer to is the experience of “real” women. How does the constant commentary on how to be a perfect, funny, sunny, happy, skinny woman help and harm us?

The concept of your novel is very funny and relatable. Was it intended to be satirical? Did you want How To Be Perfect to make a comment about modern society?

Yes, of course. Just like with The Mummy Bloggers, the idea was to take a very visible part of our culture – social media and the power of comparison – and hold it up to the light. With humour, smarts and not too sharp a tongue, hopefully.

Who do you think will enjoy this book?

Well everyone, of course! But if the enthusiastic readers of The Mummy Bloggers are an indication, they’re mostly women who recognise this world.

What are you reading at the moment?

Like almost everyone else, I’m reading Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton. It’s absolutely perfect in my eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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                      Publisher details

                      How To Be Perfect
                      Author
                      Holly Wainwright
                      Publisher
                      Allen & Unwin
                      Genre
                      Fiction
                      Released
                      29 August, 2018
                      ISBN
                      9781760633486

                      Synopsis

                      In the rolling green hills of Australia's hippest hinterland, a new guru is blogging about her breakfast.ELLE CAMPBELL is back, holed up in an exclusive retreat where women pay thousands to mimic her extreme lifestyle, or die trying. But who's bankrolling Elle's new empire? And why are her two tiny sons suddenly absent from her glossy public image?All ABI BLACK wants is to marry her true love under a tree in the garden on New Year's Eve. But her ex-husband is building a financial cult in the shed, Elle is looming and her teenage daughter's YouTube channel is gaining followers for all the wrong reasons. The wedding might have to wait.FRANCES GRAHAM has a colicky newborn, an absent husband and a WhatsApp Mothers' Group that's giving her anxiety. But she's certain that if she can just be more like those fitmums on Instagram, things can only get better. And surely, if she can scrape enough money together to make it to Elle's retreat, everything in her life will be just . . . perfect.Through a world of fake gurus, green smoothies and bad influencers, How to Be Perfect follows Elle, Abi and Frankie into the cult of self-improvement that's taking over your phone . . . and your breakfast.
                      Holly Wainwright
                      About the author

                      Holly Wainwright

                      Holly Wainwright is a former-Mancunian Sydneysider who came to Australia as a footloose traveller more than 20 years ago. Since then, Holly has had a long career as a journalist and editor, originally in travel and celebrity magazines and now online. She's been working in digital media for three years, most recently as Head of Entertainment at Mamamia. She also hosts a parenting podcast, has two small children, lives by the ocean and wishes there were four more hours in every day.

                      Books by Holly Wainwright

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