Nicola Moriarty lives in Sydney's north-west with her husband and two small daughters. She has a serious literary pedigree as the younger sister of bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Jaclyn Moriarty. In between various career changes, becoming a mum and while studying teaching at Macquarie University, she began to write. She has now published Free-Falling,†Paper Chains and most recently Captivation. We are delighted that Nicola was able to join us today.
Your name is well recognised by readers. Both your sisters, Liane and Jaclyn, are writers. Was this a help or a hindrance when establishing yourself as a writer?
Being part of a family of writers has most definitely been helpful throughout my life Ė to begin with, watching my sisters succeed certainly contributed to the inspiration and motivation that I needed to take my love of writing to the next level. Add to this the fact that it means having access to two people who are in the industry and are happy to read my writing, offer feedback and provide support. But, on the other hand, there is of course the added pressure that comes from following in the footsteps of my two extremely talented big sisters, and it is scary knowing that most people are reading my work with a certain level of expectation or even scepticism in mind.
How do you fit writing around caring for your two daughters?
Iíve found that my life seems to work best when Iím juggling as many different things as possible! Otherwise for me, boredom leads quickly to depression. My girls are at childcare / preschool three days a week and I use this time to study (Iím almost finished an arts degree at Macquarie university), to work (with my husband who runs his own graphic design business) and to write. Sometimes though, when a story is going really well and I canít bear to stop, Iíll also write in the evenings as soon as the girls have gone to bed.
What are the three essential components in popular fiction?
I donít know if I feel qualified enough to state outright any three elements as essential across the board, however, Iíll suggest three components that I personally like to see when Iím reading popular fiction! First, a likeable, or perhaps I should say, a relatable character Ė even if theyíre not the lead. Second, I want to see something in the story that evokes emotion for me Ė whether that means making me cry, making me laugh or just an ĎAha!í moment. Third, a satisfying conclusion Ė and that doesnít mean you canít leave parts of the story as open-ended Ė but I still want to have that feeling that I found what I was looking for when I turn the last page of a book.
Your latest release moves into the paranormal. Was this a deliberate shift?
I think perhaps Iíd call it more of a tangent than a shift Ė if that makes sense! Because Iím not sure if Iíll continue down the road of paranormal fiction. But yes, it was deliberate in terms of my wanting to try something different. Iíve found since switching to a Writing Major for my Uni degree that more and more I love trying out different genres and styles of writing, so it seemed to make sense that this experimentation would drift across into my career as well. In all honesty though, making that change was much more difficult than I thought it would be.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Two things: First, donít force yourself to write; write because you want to write, because you enjoy writing, because you canít imagine doing anything else. Second, write about something you feel passionate about, something you care about; write within a genre you yourself love to read, within a style you feel comfortable writing within. And then later, when youíve hit your stride - if you want Ė move outside your comfort zone, experiment, try new things!
What is next for you?
Right now Iím working on a third full-length novel. Iím making yet another shift, or perhaps taking another tangent and working on something that it is a little unusual for me in terms of style and plot Ė but Iím loving writing it so weíll just have to see how it goes!
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