Interview by Belle McQuattie.
Nicole has been telling stories for as long as she can remember and been writing them down since primary school. She’s had five novels published – three as Nicole Murphy (the Dream of Asarlai trilogy with HarperCollins Australia) and two as Elizabeth Dunk (contemporary romance with Escape Publishing).
Her two main occupations thus far in her life – teaching and journalism – have taught her a great deal about writing. As a teacher, having to explain the nuances of story to young children helped to hone the information in her mind. As a journalist, Nicole has won awards for her writing (in particular a series of articles on mental illness) and has interviewed people such as Gary McDonald, Noeline Brown and Roy Billing. She is now onto her third occupation – professional conference organiser where again, her writing skills are at the fore.
This year has been quite full on for you (to put it mildly!), do you have plans to return to writing before the end of the year?
It’s been a year I wouldn’t wish on anyone. The fact I was able to stop writing for several months and I didn’t care told me how little I had in the tank to write. I think if I’d tried I would have created crap. Thank goodness for fabulous publishers who are happy to give you a break when needed. I’ll definitely be writing again soon. I’m starting to get itchy – ideas flooding my head, fingers literally itching to type at times. I’m thinking I’ll be easing back into it by the end of the month.
How do you balance your time between the spec fic and romance writing? Have you ever found that a story that started in one genre worked better in the other?
Up until the last year I’ve only had a contract for one genre or the other at a time so it’s been easy. Now I have two contracts so I have to be really strict with myself about when I work on what. I tend to plan out my year (because I have to fit it around work) and I focus on one project at a time which helps. My main issue is keeping romantic relationships out of all the spec fic – but it’s such fun!
Can you give us any sneak peeks of future projects?
I have two more contemporary romances coming out over the next 12-18 months. Then there is the new Gadda trilogy which I’m working on with Ticonderoga Publishing. Fans of the first trilogy will meet a whole new group of characters but their favourites are still there from the first books and things aren’t going brilliantly for them all… Plus someone is going to make a surprising comeback.
What Australian work have you loved recently?
Defying Doomsday was just amazing. Such fantastic stories that just happened to feature people with disabilities of various kinds. I’m so in awe of the amazing short story writers out there. Also I’m lucky to be an Aurealis Awards judge but you’ll have to wait until next year to find out the great books I’m reading there.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
Wow – what a question! Ok – Jane Austen. I might as well fan-girl out properly and I adore her work. But really I’d be happy sitting and gasbagging with anyone in the industry here in Aus. We’re an awesome bunch!