It’s mid winter here, so what better way to make the most of a rare day of sunshine than to hit the highway with the Wimmera Wordsmiths in my car for the 260km return road trip to Mount Gambier, South Australia for a gorgeous fan-girl/writerly luncheon with Monica McInerney.
She was delighted when I asked to take a pic to post on the RWA website and had been pre-warned that a writing group was attending! So when she opened her presentation she made special mention of us, and said she expected lots of questions about writing from us. The readers took up much of her QA time, so as a nice gesture she called for one more question and stared straight out at me…
She’d talked of being a pantster so by the seat of my own pants, I asked something that’s been occupying my thoughts this past month – characterisation. She’d said while she writes in a daily ritual word count which must end in 9 – don’t ask – she spends around twelve months prior thinking about her characters, allowing them to grow and develop in her mind (& heart I suspect). It’s no wonder when she sits down in her Irish attic each day that the story flows.
As I’m writing with an elderly protagonist, I was captivated at hearing of her muse-like relationship with one of her most prolific characters, Lola Quinlan. She also mentioned how so many readers let her know they have loved her older characters.
There would have been around 80 guests to her luncheon and she gave a beautiful insight into her writing. It was a privilege to hear her talk with such love of her characters – which is obvious between the pages. To cap it all off, ‘The Trip of a Lifetime’ went to national No 1 yesterday.