Kate Mildenhall

Australian writer, podcaster and educator

S2 Ep26

Kate Mildenhall

Listen and Subscribe on itunes, spotify and google podcasts

Welcome back to 2022, Season 2. My first guest of the year Kate Mildenhall, a writer, educator and podcaster from Hurstbridge Victoria on Wurundjeri lands, and a mum of 2.

Kate is the author of two novels. Her debut novel, Skylarking, (2016) was named in Readings Top Ten Fiction Books of 2016 and longlisted for Best Debut Fiction in The Indie Book Awards 2017 and the 2017 Voss Literary Prize and The Mother Fault (2020) which was Longlisted for the 2021 ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year and Shortlisted for the 2020 Aurealis Awards, Best Science Fiction Novel.

Kate also co hosts The First Time podcast a podcast with fellow author Katherine Collette about the first time you publish a book, and she is currently working on her third novel and undertaking a PhD on creative process.

We enjoy a lively chat about failure, creating in a covid world, judgement of mothers, how her mothering influences her writing and why everyone should think like a 40 year old woman.

**This episode contains mentions of post natal depression*


Kate website / Instagram

Twitter @katemildenhall

Books mentioned

Rufi Thorpe article - Mother, Writer, Monster, Maid

Four Thousand Weeks - Oliver Burkeman

The Divided Heart - Rachel Power

Making Babies - Anne Enright

Listen to Claudia Carvan read The Mother Fault on audible


Purchase Kate's books here

Podcast instagram / website


​Music used with permission from Alemjo -

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Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page

Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast


I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!

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Thank you!

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Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.

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Welcome to the Art of Being a mum, the podcast where we hear from mothers who are artists and creators sharing their joys and issues around trying to be a mother and continue to make art. Regular topics include mum guilt, identity, the day to day juggle mental health, and how children manifest in their art. My name is Alison Newman. I'm a singer songwriter, and a mum of two boys from regional South Australia. I have a passion for mental wellness, and a background in early childhood education. You can find links to my guests and topics they discuss in the show notes, along with music played a link to follow the podcast on Instagram, and how to get in touch. All music used on the podcast is done so with permission. The art of being a mom acknowledges the bone tech people as the traditional custodians of the land and water which this podcast is recorded on and pays respects to the relationship the traditional owners have with the land and water, as well as acknowledging past present and emerging elders. Welcome back to season 220 22. My guest today is Kate Mildenhall, a writer, teacher and podcaster. From her speech Victoria orangerie lens, and a mom of two. Kate is the author of two novels her debut novel skylarking, released in 2016, and her most recent released the mother fault from 2020, Kate also co hosts the first time podcast with fellow author Catherine collet. About the first time he published a book, she's currently working on her third novel, as well as undertaking a PhD on creative process. Today, we enjoy a lively and fun chat about failure, creating in a COVID world judgment of mothers, how her mothering influences her writing, and why everyone should think like a 40 year old woman, I hope you enjoy. Thank you so much for coming on case.

Oh, thank you so much for having me. It's delightful to chat to you.

It's lovely to meet you. Let's share with the listeners. what your background is in what you create.

Well, these days, I am a writer. So I've written a couple of books. And my last one was called the mother fault. My first was called skylarking. And I'm currently working on my third book and just added a PhD because you know, COVID times was like times to do crazy things, right? So I'm doing that so and beautifully at the moment. I'm getting to do that, you know, full time in whatever kind of capacity being a full time writer is what that looks like. I know, it looks like really different things for different people. But that's what I do.

eautiful So, can you share what your new book is gonna be called? Are you still working on a time we're

still working on that one. And I've actually just been away for a week, which says lots of things both about motherhood and guilt and Christmas and being an artist and to work on it. Because it's just been so crazy to try and work on creative projects during the homeschooling and the rest of it. I'm over here in Melbourne. And and I've exploded the book. I've I've I've done something quite radical with it. So that's fine. Just letting it simmer all the all the crazy things I've just done. But yeah, but it's been really fun. I've been working on that for about a year because the mother fault came out last year in the midst of of lockdown. So yes, I've been I've been working away.

Oh my goodness. So what's your PhD?

So the PhD is is it's really fun and exciting. It's at RMIT. And it's practice based. So it means that I get to do my writing. And I also am a podcaster. So I co host the first time podcast, which is interviews with writers. And a lot of just oversharing myself and my co host Katherine about our general publishing journeys. And, but I get to include all of that. So I get to include the my kind of interviewing and my obsession with creative process because that's what I am utterly obsessed with. So I'm and then my novel is kind of part of it as well. So it's a little bit different to a traditional kind of PhD. So I'm looking really particularly at journaling, and dealing with the kind of creative process and how writers do their thing how writers do their process.

That sounds really fun. Like it sounds like it's just it's just a part of what you're going to be doing anyway. So it's not going to be like a tremendous I mean, I'm not saying it's going to be you know, hard to make your life anyway, but it sounds quite doable.

Yes, and like it's almost like it's given it a kind of a shape all of the other work that I do you know sometimes when you're in a position and you can describe vibe, you know, this is my writing, this is the podcast and it all kind of links, you know, and having the PhD kind of around that goes, oh yeah, this is really validating to me, because it's a serious thing that I'm doing. Yeah. And also just community. Yeah, you know, I think one of the things that happens when you're writing often and might in before I was a teacher, so I was really used to having lots of people around me and a big collaborator. And so I have often found the writing process to be quite lonely. And so even just having the system of the PhD and colleagues and supervisors and to be able to part be part of that network already, like I'm in the six months in MIT, it's, that's wonderful.

Yeah, so it's really meeting that need the that creative space that Yeah, to do so.

Also, now the kids are really excited, cuz they like, oh, my gosh, you're gonna be adopted one day? Yes. So they're super pumped about that?

Before we get to the kids, I know that was you gave me a beautiful segue there, but I'm gonna go take you back. Yeah. Did you do have you always been a writer? Or you know, when you? No, no,

no. So I was at school, like, passionately into it kind of wanted to be a writer, wrote lots, you know, at high school and did the Friday anthology and won awards and things like that. And then I wanted to do this tape degree, Brian MIT writing and editing as, when I left, I went talk to the careers teacher about it. And apologies to people who've heard this story, if any of your listeners had, because I've told it so many times, but the TAFE their careers teacher said, Kate, Smart Girls don't do TAFE and basically said, don't do that course. And I was like, Ah, right. And, you know, not having not having kind of much goal of my own at that stage. I went off and did something else, which I promptly dropped out of, you know, after a year and went off traveling. But I went back and did that, that that course, eventually, which is the delightful thing, but no. So I went and traveled for a while, then I went back to uni and did teaching. And at that time, I kind of, I was writing a little bit like journaling a lot, but writing a little bit, and I, I put something in for a competition, and I didn't get anything, didn't, didn't get anything at all. And after all of these years of like, you know, winning things or getting commended in them. It was such a rude shock to me. I mean, I laugh at it. Now I tell this story to students because and they have a laugh at my expense. But I just I saw it as a huge failure and rejection. And I was like, Oh, I can't I can't write, I'm not going to write. And so I stopped. I stopped for like, all of these years, and I taught and you know, I was passionate about reading about teaching writing, and but I just I, other than my journal, I don't think that I wrote anything during all of those years. And then it was actually when my firstborn arrived that I felt compelled to write again. So yeah, so I writing wasn't, I never thought that I could be a writer when I grew up or that you know that that was a crazy outlandish kind of a thought.

It's really interesting you say about that validation that you put that entry in, and it didn't get anything. And then that defines how you feel about your creativity. I had a similar experience years ago, because I used to do in a we had to do a Stanford's when we were proud of this group. And I was used to doing pretty well. And then I went in this larger competition and didn't even place and so I stopped performing. Because I'm not as good as I thought I was. You know, and for years, I let that define me that I wasn't, I wasn't as good as I thought I was. So I just went well, I must be very good anymore,

isn't it? It's how do we it's ridiculous. I know. And, and heartbreaking. And often, when I'm talking about it with other writers, I'll say, you know, prepare for it and expect it and like get them in early, get as many values as you can eat early because I wasn't you know, I wasn't I hadn't developed any muscle in that area. So I so exactly like you say I just I did let it define me and like what a waste. I mean, I eventually came back to it. And I'm so glad and I think that you know, anyone who is an artist of any description probably has that kind of pulse in them that it's going to come out at some stage like you've got to make space for that at some stage or else it'll eat you up. And I'm so glad that it did. But I still think gosh, those, those wasted years in there as well.

So these days, how do you view that kind of experience? Now? Like, if if you put yourself in something and you don't get it? How do you process that for yourself?

That's such a good question. The, the, the last one that I had was actually, in the middle of the kind of process of the mother fault. I, I lost the original publisher and had to go and kind of start, start shipping it out again. And I was in, you know, I was broken for a little bit like it was it was rock bottom, I, I didn't think that I would be able to look at the manuscript again, I was hurt, and yet felt a lot of self loathing, I think. And what I realized during that period, was that I was going to do the damn thing anyway. You know, like that, I think that I had got to a point where I was like, Well, I don't care. I'm going to, you know, this, this book is kind of bigger than may sounds a bit wonky. But you know, we're in that sense, where you're like, I've got to see this thing through to the end, and see what it does. And so that was the thing, in the end that that got me through, and I think it's just layers, isn't it of rejection and failure along the way. I mean, you know, often, and you might be in the same position that, you know, people will say, Oh, yeah, but you your published like, How could anything ever go wrong from here, or you've got the thing, you know, you've already reached the goal, or you've been able to perform there or do that. And, and, I mean, the stakes just get higher, in a sense, and you just get rejected more publicly, with, with bigger stakes along the way. So yeah, yeah, that, that it's been a good, it's been a good learning process. For me, I think. And I just, I really do wish that I just failed more and failed more often.

I think, too, when you're younger, no one sort of teaches you how to how to fail, like no one, no one says, Okay, now that now that you've lost, or they were better, or someone thought they were better, what how do you talk to yourself about that? Like, how do you do that, like, no one teaches so true. So you sort of know, just find your own way through. And unlike in both of our situations, it takes a long time. So you sort of think, gosh, if I hadn't done that earlier, what could I have achieved, you know, in all that time and space, instead of pushing things away, you know? Yeah, yeah. I agree. Teachers listening tapes. Had a flat. And that's I'm going on a tangent now. But that's the thing too, like, are we so afraid of those emotions that we don't want kids to lose? We that's why we give them everyone gets a for trying sticker and everyone gets Yeah, more than when we play pass the pass like kids parties. Everybody has to get a wrap up?

You know, I know. And it's really hard.

Everyone has to keep one has to be happy all the time.

Yeah, I think that the hardest thing to do you find like sitting with your kids disappointment, and all those emotions that you can't fix, you know, something going on at school, and you just have to have to resist the impulse to try and fix it and make it make it better all the time. You know, and to take the discomfort away because it's, you know, you do have to feel all those horrible emotions and get and get used to them. That's thing

if you don't have the opportunity to feel them, you could never work through them. So then all of a sudden you feel them and you go, what's this? I don't know what to do with this. And yeah, you deal with it in inappropriate ways. Like eating too much or drinking. Absolutely. All of the above.

Oh, my gosh.

Let's lean into your children. Tell us about your family.

Okay, so I have I have two daughters. Gracie is my eldest. She's 10 going on 11 kind of you know, going on 19 And she is fiery and amazing. And then my youngest is Etta. And she's eight. Also fiery and amazing. And, you know, it feels very funny kinda I'm talking about them. At this point, I was actually really looking forward to, you know, to doing this because the book that I wrote is the last one is very much informed by my experience of motherhood. But you end up kind of packaging it in certain ways, like for the book world, you know, you package it in these kind of little sound bites. And, and in fact, the girls think it's hilarious because they were around so much when I was doing promo for the book, because we were all in lockdown. And they, they got really cross a couple of times, because they must have heard me say things like, you know, parenting is really hard. And I didn't like it all the time. Like, yeah, it's true, you know, and I'm gonna have to live with the fact that there's all these sound bites out in me talking about, you know, how kind of shit parenting has been at various times. But they are, they are glorious beings. We've just spent a lot of time together in the last 18 months. And, you know, it's kind of, I never realized the joy of watching them go off to their independent things, and all come back at the end of the day and be able to like, we've all done different things for the day is a very new and strange experience that I think only parents who've lived through this kind of last 18 months really understand. So they're my two.

Yeah, they've done things during the day that you don't know about. That would be nice. Yeah,

exactly. We're all really, really excited to tell each other about what?

Oh, my goodness. So during that time, how did you manage to continue to do stuff during lockdown?

Ah, we, you know, we didn't I think we just we just kept on failing beautifully. And when we first went in, so who even knows when that was maybe March, last year, I'm I'm sitting here in this little studio that my darling partner built for me in the backyard, and it was just finished, like, literally just finished the week before locked down. Where Of course, he also moved home and had to kind of write out do his work from home as well. He's a psych nurse. So he was kind of out and about, but also doing a lot of his work here. So this saved us having this actual separate space, because I used to work in the corner of the lantern. So I actually don't think that we would have survived at all, had we not had this. And the other beautiful thing was that because Adam, you know, his workplace was really good and quite flexible, so that he could do a lot of the homeschooling stuff in the mornings and then go out, you know, we just kind of juggled a bit between each other. And, and the kids, we live, we live kind of on the outskirts of Melbourne, there's a lot of trees, there's a big reserve behind us, like, I did feel extremely lucky that we had a bit more space around us. And, and we did you know, some of it, maybe the first two locked, it wasn't really, some of it was really lovely. And I think we did do that stuff of going, okay, we can have a fire in the backyard on a Wednesday night. And, you know, I would walk with one of the girls in the morning before they started just to give them a bit of space away from each other. And we did really pay attention to the flowers and the mushrooms and the birds and you know, so So for all that it was incredibly difficult. And there's also quite a few kids in our street. And we live in, you know, a little space where we could offer each other that support with other families and, you know, playing in the street, and across driveways and things like that. So I think really, we didn't you know, I lost a fair bit of work but but was still able to carry on, you know, we weren't in a really difficult kind of position with our jobs, and Adam kept his job. So for all those things, I think, you know, we were in incredibly, incredibly lucky. But also, as I said, to all of my mates and all of our WhatsApp threads, who had kids, you know, as we all kind of know, you know, we would all spiral down at certain points and just say like, I can't do this, I cannot do it anymore. I can't because it was never part of the deal that we signed up for right as parents, especially when then especially when you've already sent them out into the world and off to school and the rest of it like to suddenly have these big, curious, active social kids home with you all the time. And we're just we're just not equipped to provide everything that was partly

out of the better the deal. Oh, man, look, hats off to you guys over there like we've we've had Touchwood we've had nothing as extreme as that. So yeah, you guys were often in our thoughts over here, all the Melbourne people, it's just unreal what you've been through. So, thank you. Yeah. Yeah, it's sad, and to be able to maintain your creativity maintain. Yeah, and

I think creativity, you know, at times, and I've talked about this with a few friends in the writing world. You know, I was like, oh, gosh, maybe I should just go and train, retrain, I'll retrain to be like, a personal care attendant, or, you know, like, if there was that sense of, like, what is the point of doing my art in, you know, in a burning world, in a burning world, in a world that's collapsing, and so there was that pressure, but also the kind of focus or deep work that I find I need to do creative work just wasn't there, you know, I couldn't you at any stage knew you're going to be interrupted, couldn't get purchase on any kind of thought to go deep on it, I am often need to go away, or that's the way that I've done my kind of writing practice is that a few times a year, when it works, I'll go away for a few days, either with a writing group or on my own and, and go really deep on it. And that's where I find you know, I have real breakthrough, so to not have any of that, but also to not have any of that kind of friction of being out in the world, you know, and, and seeing people or interacting with people or observing things, or being able to go to the ocean, or all the things that would normally fill me up so that I have some kind of something to give some output. Whereas I felt like what what do I possibly have? I've been inside my house, with my children, you know, worrying and that anxious, you know, that kind of being in lizard brain mode of at any stage about that uncertainty, but also thinking? Am I supposed to panic now? How am I protecting my children, you know, and being fearful of other people, for the first time was a very strange kind of thing. And I think it'll take a while for us all to get to the other side of that.

Hmm, absolutely. It's sort of I had a moment where I was going for a walk one day, and all of a sudden, I just thought, oh, shit, has that person got COVID? Like, I was just starting to panic. And I felt myself sort of shiver and, and I just sort of backed up and went home real quick. I thought, this is a horrible thing to be thinking. Yeah, well, but it was like, and then every time you turn the telly on everything on the radio, you just couldn't escape it. And it was just disastrous. So that's when I basically came into my studio and started music, more music stuff, I just had to get out of the current world and go back into a different world.

So you found it. So you could do that. You could then put your energy into that space.

Yeah, that's I basically had to, I use it as an escape. Maybe. I just had to end. What I ended up doing was I look, I was I was listening to a lot of older music, I think to take myself out of the current time space to Yes, yes. So I started doing covers of, of older songs. And I ended up releasing them all because it was like, I created different versions of the songs, got different backings, got a piano player, change the tempo, all this stuff. And it was sort of my way of looking back on it. Now. I don't think I realized at the time, but, but making sure that things were different. That changing. I didn't like what was happening. So I was changing it in some way. You know, I love that. Yeah. It's really that's the first time I've actually articulated that out loud. That's really interesting.

Well, it's very profound.

You mentioned before about your mother's hope novel, now you write fiction. So yeah, at school, I could never remember the difference. That's your struggle. I'm just,

yeah, fiction made up, which means

it's made up. But you mentioned that your mothering role had a lot of influence over that. So what sort of themes were you exploring in the book and I apologize, I haven't read your books. No, absolutely. Read say that. Because I I'm not a very good reader. I don't like to sit still and read.

Isn't that terrible? No, not at all. Not at all. Then they, the mother fault is a it's a kind of a thriller. It said in the very near future, and it's about a woman MYM, who's got two kids, Sen. Sam and when the novel opens, her husband, Ben has gone missing on an overseas mine site. And in this very near future, Australia, everyone has tracking chips in their hands. But he's offline, they can't work out where he is. And very quickly, she's told to stay where she is, and not to investigate it any further. And so she does. So she does, because they kind of threatened to take her kids away from her. And she says stuff this, I'm gonna go and find him. And so she goes on the run. So she crosses Australia, with the two kids and then gets on a yacht and, and sails to Indonesia to try and search for him. So, you know, where the idea came from. My first book was historical fiction, so nothing at all in this kind of world. But when I finished skylarking, I was kind of sitting with this idea of the kids at that stage. Maybe Esther was like, two and Gracie was four, I think. And I was deep in that bit that those trenches where you like, wow. Not at school yet. So you're doing that kind of childcare, kinder, you know, crazy run every day is no more than kind of two hour, lots of anything. And I, and still that period, where it's just really hard.

It's just really hard, you haven't I hadn't kind of totally I'd had this moment when the book came out of kind of re re identifying as, as, as a writer, and while I'm a professional out in this world, but also, then I just come home, and it's just, you know, back to packing snacks and feeling guilty about them not being organic, and the rest of it. And so there was that stretch, there was that kind of huge amount of feelings, both positive feelings, I adore these kids, I will do anything for these kids, I would kill for these kids at the same time as sometimes wanting to run away. So there was those feelings that I had. And at the same time, it was very deep in the political kind of craziness of the asylum seeker debate, and which, of course, we haven't at all fixed or done anything good about in this country. And so I was kind of like having that daily thing of the news of watching, particularly women who were, you know, crossing oceans in really unsafe ways to try and make their kids safe. At the same time going, I just want to run away from my kids like, how, how are these two? How can I reconcile these feelings? Yeah, so for that reason, you know, over time, I realized that I wanted to write about a woman, you know, on the run, trying to kind of protect our kids, but also trying to make sense of who she is, and what she's allowed to want. Now that she's a mother, and is she allowed to want the things that she used to want. She you know, she has a kind of crazy affair with an ex lover on the boat, in, in the book, not not a real spoiler, because lots of people talk about it when they read the book. And, you know, it was that kind of thing. And people have got cross, like, it's one of the things in the book that people are really cross about. Because that, I think, when we, when we look at mothers in fiction, and mothers in general, in society, we have all these expectations of how they're supposed to behave and how they're supposed to feel, and what they're supposed to prioritize. And if you kind of, you know, poke the bear, I suppose, and say, well, maybe this isn't what, what we want, or what we always want, and maybe it's complicated. You can get some big responses out of people. So, you know, that's what I kind of wrote in my, my feelings. I also, you know, there's a kind of thread of, it's not named, but postpartum depression, which I think I probably had but never really understood. The first time around with my first with my first daughter. Yeah, so everything, all of the feelings, all of the feelings, I kind of composited into the book.

Did you find that was the way view of you're dealing with that stuff? Like you use that as a way to work through things?

Yeah, I do think so. I think I was so compelled at that point to write about the motherhood experience, and in a way where I really wanted him to be kind of this superhero figure. And in fact, beautifully a couple of reviewers have kind of commented that you know, like, she's the kind of Jack Reacher of she's just like mum version of Jack Reacher and I love that. I love that because it was about it. saying, you know, I definitely don't have any answers in there. But, but being able to talk about it and being able to look at this idea that instead of, instead of what I feel like there's some pressure to do, which is to say, oh, okay, I'm a mum now. And so now I do things in a, in a mum way, like, I erase this kind of version of myself that was there before, which, it just seems so crazy, but I think to a level where or compelled to do that a little bit like, okay, you know, now we do things this way. And, and it was great to be able to examine this, this feeling of going on, I am still that young version of myself too. As part of it, I went on a yacht, I'd never been on a yacht before. And I, I crude, I volunteered to crew on a yacht, from Darwin to Indonesia, in a race. And, like, it was, it was crazy. It was one of the craziest things I've ever done. And it was incredible. And part of what was incredible about it is that it was scary, you know, and, and I, I reached new levels of fear. And when I was underneath, you know, at one night in my cabin, before, when I came off the late shift and thinking, we're going, you know, this boat is going to tip over which of course, that's not what happens. But if you think I'm gonna die in this boat, and that's going to be ridiculous. And my daughters are going to think, Oh, Mom was doing this stupid research for a stupid book. And she drowned in the middle of the table. It's a, but when I got to Amazon as well, I got to travel around a bit. I stayed there for a few extra days. And on my own, like traveling on my own, like I hadn't, you know, kind of really ever, but also, I remembered that my 19 year old self who was a backpacker who, who could make a decision on the corner about which way they were going to go and not to reach consensus with an entire family about what they wanted to eat or what snack they wanted it. You know, it was remembering that kind of that kind of sense of myself, which I think

was powerful. Oh, that's incredible. That's, that is so good. And that's when you had your sordid affair.

Yeah, no, definitely not. That part wasn't true?

Yeah, that's that is so cool. Because what you're saying about society's expectations of what a mother should be? I feel like that is that that's what seems to drive the mom guilt. I think it's like, you see, or you do a post on your socials or whatever, or you see someone else's. And there's all these comments and you think, across what are we supposed to be doing then? Are we supposed to be spending time with the kids? And we're not supposed to be spending time? Are we supposed to be going getting our hair done? Without? Like, it's all this constant? Yes. Judgment.

Yeah. Yeah. How do you do that? So I think, you know, I actually had a gorgeous, gorgeous dinner last night with, with very old friends that I went to school with. And, you know, as always, as we talk about work and life, and our marriages and our kids, you know, we were commenting and we've all just we're in the the years of old turning 40 that we've just reached part where we an excuse the language, you can put a language you want to have no fucks left to give. And, you know, but but we were commenting, like how that's been a slow process, and that in all those early years, like, all those things, am I packing the right snacks? How many cakes? Should I bake for the cake store? Should I be on the Kinder committee? Should I you know, how will we how are we approaching this way of parenting the kids like, just constant self judgment, constant comparison? And then additionally, if you're a creative, so you've got all that world over there, and then if you're a creative, you've also got the like, how much of myself can I give to my parenting and how much of myself can I can I keep over for my art and how selfish I was just rereading this amazing article by roofie thought which I'll send through to you. It's called Mother writer monster made and it was something that I was really touchstone for me while I was writing the book, and it's about her kind of really grappling with this idea of, I think it's Jenny awful, who says about being an art monster, like, you know, that, that, that there's this sense that throughout history, you know, all of the, you know, the old white male writers like they just set up in their studios or whatever their attics writing while they had a wife to do everything else, they didn't see their children, they could, they could spend all of their energy, all of their intellectual space, all of it on, on doing their work. And I don't, I don't want to do that, like I, I do want to kind of be involved and go down and see the carols at lunchtime and do those things. Like I feel very lucky that it's worked out in a way that I do get to be present. But also sometimes I do not sometimes I want to go away for two weeks and work on my book and forget, honestly, forget for a minute that I have children, because I think part of it is that that enormous part of our brain, which is constantly, constantly with the kids somewhere, you know, worrying about or just ticking over slightly, you know, have they got something today? Have they got that bag, all that present that I need to get, you know, and then and then the biggest thing is, are they happy? Have we made the right decision? Should we send them to an alternative school sheet, you know, all of the things that just wind around in your head all the time? And sometimes I think, Wow, if I? What could I do with that space? You know, what can I do with that space? And I think I had the most I had the beautiful kind of opportunity to interview Helen Garner for our podcast. A couple of weeks back, you bring that up? Well, it was incredible. But you know what I had? I you know, I've read her for so long. And I asked her about why she hasn't had to answer the motherhood questions so much. I mean, she talks about motherhood in her journals, particularly, but I was kind of wondering whether it was just my age that she did get asked that, you know, maybe when she first published monkey grip, and she says, this most glorious thing about, you know, when she had her daughter who's about to turn 50. So that gives you a sense, or who's a bit older than 50, I think. She said we didn't have a choice. Like it wasn't a decision to make, we just had kids, there was no anxiety about it, there was no thinking that it was a choice. And she's she tells this beautiful story about you know, for better or for worse that basically she kind of strode out into life. And she, she told her daughter to, you know, to kind of keep up. And she and she, you know, typical Garner always says, I don't know if that was the right way to do it. But that's how I could do it. And I and and she acknowledges also that there's just an an incredibly different level of anxiety around even the decision to have children now, which has made it all the more complicated. Think, yeah, because everything is a decision and you're so conscious about what am I saying? Yes to what am I taking away from my kids? Should I just be sitting here kind of being around for them? Or should I go out and do the thing that I really want to do, which takes me away from them, but, you know, maybe in 20 years, they're going to say, Gee, mom really did what she loved. You know, that's what you have to kind of hope right?

across you. Be in therapy talking about us?

Exactly, exactly. We can I mean, we can't do it. Right. You know, there's ways that we can, I suppose, try and mitigate against a failure and really bad ways every day for them. But I, I have got better we talked about failure before I've also got better at realizing that um, you know, I'm going to stuff this gig up this parenting gig up constantly, constantly, I'll stuff it up and, and being able to say that to the kids as well, you know, maybe is, is one way of getting through it.

You're listening to the art of being a mom with my mum, I wasn't even. You mentioned, do you have girls have heard you say comments like that, while you're at home doing you your book launch? Is it important to you that they actually see that you are going out and doing stuff? I don't want to say not just being a mom, because there's no Yeah, being a mom? Of course, you're I'm hearing that. Yeah,

no, it really is. And you know, the first time that that was truly validating, so I went on mat leave from at that stage. I was working in this at the State Library doing education there. And I went on mat leave. And that's when I realized I think I said before, you know, when Gracie was born, I just felt this extraordinary urge to write again and it kind of came at me in different ways. I tried to join a local writing group, it didn't work then you know, and not until Esther was born. Did I really go Okay, that's it. I'm gonna I'm going back to uni. I'm going to do it. And which led to some of the first kind of guy games that the kids played when they were, you know, doing imaginary play, were picking up laptop bags and going to you playing going to uni. And I thought I remember thinking, Oh, this is a good thing, let you know, like that they are seeing me do this, that it's this kind of crazy working life that I have. But they're, you know, incredibly proud of it. They like googling me, they think that's really fun. But, you know, and so they liked that part of it. On the other hand, it you know, at some point they will, maybe they will read, the mother felt and that's terrifying. Like, I think I will feel really unscanned by that process, because I you know, it has, it is really revealing of the fact that sometimes you don't want to have to be both, you don't want to have to be a mother and artist and friend, and you know, partner and all of those things. You just like, just give me some space, just do one thing. But But I also think I've tried to be really open, the kids have seen me at rock bottom, the kids have seen me on the days where I've had to close the door and have a cry and say, just let me have a cry, Nia, you know, I need I need time out. And for better or for worse. That's the kind of way that we've run with it. So hopefully, they will, you know, they will see that as an honest part. But I am conscious to that. You know, I haven't written memoir, and I think it must be really hard for people who are writing nonfiction and kind of living living their lives. And their children's stories far more openly. Like I'm conscious of that. And I do read with with close interest how people navigate talking about their kids, when they start to have a profile in terms of what their art does as well, I think that's just hard. I don't have any answers to that.

Is you have to think you'd have to be so considerate of them. Have them exactly be so aware of. Yeah, it can be quite hurtful for them. You know, it's

Yeah. And as they start to talk about, you know, I think one of the things that happened which is really funny in the process of it took me four years to write the mother fold is that, you know, Gracie, Gracie grew up, and I and so I changed the one of the characters se she actually grew older, I made her older in the course of it because it was suddenly became so fascinating talking with my daughter, you know, like, when they get to that part where they start, you know, you start having really interesting kind of conversations and they're curious and and they've kind of leveled up in the intellectual stakes. So much so that you think whoa, whoa, what have we got ourselves into here? This is a real little human who has like, really big thoughts about the world. So you know, that's interesting as well, to me, that's, that's wonderful. And I love their perspective or perspective on the world and the way that they can so throw you with their truthiness. Sometimes,

oh, gosh, yeah. I work in childcare. That's That's my day job. And I see you get those. I'll never tire of the amazing things children really funny things, but things yes. Just makes you stop and think and go, Oh, my gosh, you're seeing the world in such a different way to me and it's wonderful. You know, it might pull yourself back of seeing this whole you know, where they're oblivious of so much stuff and it's wonderful love to be able to be like that again. Be overawed by all these big things that are happening and just be concentrating on this. This crayons not not the crown the next sharpening biggest thing in my world right now is to get that sharpener, or I'm not gonna be able to do what I need to do you know, just Yeah. Oh, just living so simply and

in the moment, in the moment, not worrying about not worrying about you know, the possible trials that will come when they're teenagers. I love that they're doing it right. It's

beautiful. I love that. Do you think that that huge desire and drive that you had to get back into your writing when when Gracie was a baby was that some of that born from sort of finding your, I don't wanna say, reclaiming your identity, but perhaps trying to discover who you were at that time. Like, I'm a mom, it's

really interesting that mean for

pre K,

yeah, it was, you know, I had, I had done these little tiny baby steps to stepping away from what I thought was expected of me. So, you know, I thought that my parents were both teachers, while I had attempted to do this little kind of attempted at the end of school to do this, something else, you know, media, TV, whatever, it didn't work out, and I thought I will, you know, what you do as a, as a good member of societies that you work in nine to five job and you it's actually more than nine to five, because they were teachers. So it was kind of, you know, all consuming, and you do that really well and passionately, and then you, you know, you have a partner and you get married and, and buy a house and, you know, go camping and all the things like I was really like, this is what you do with your life. And when I had this opportunity to go to the State Library to work for under secondment kind of thing just for for three months. And suddenly I was like, Oh, wow. Like, the world is not just like a school, you know, like, there are other people and they have better like work life balance than I do, you know, and all of this kind of stuff. So I started unhooking myself a little bit from what I thought was expected of me. And then the shock of being a parent. And, you know, it was we had, we were 10 days late, Gracie was breached out to have an emergency cease, like it was not, it wasn't how we planned it at all. So it was all a bit of a shock. And in the first six months after Grace's birth, I lost two grandparents, both who have whom I was really close to. So it was kind of just a bit of a shitshow. And I think I found the capacity to write things down. Kind of hilly or like that there was this enormous force, you know, that visceral kind of thing, when you when the kids are born, you're kind of leaking, no one tells you how much you're going to leak like you just kind of wet for, I don't know, for six months, maybe longer, you know, like and how much and the sleep deprivation and all of those the just the craziness of the world that you're in, as well as that feeling of being affronted that no one told you it was gonna be like this, even though they attempted to. But no one really, no one really kind of told you and then I think being out in the world, I clearly remember, you know, I had that I had a year's worth of maternity leave. And I remember like, I don't know, go into the park or something immediate friend for a coffee on a Wednesday, lunchtime and going like, Wednesday, lunchtime is a time in the world where people are not just at their work, like people are out there in the world. And they're doing other things. And I know it sounds really crazy now. But I really did have to deprogram myself to what I thought life was meant to be. And even in that first year after skylark in, you know, and since the mother faults come out, it's still a daily practice of going this is a kind of a life that I've made for myself, that makes me incredibly happy and fulfilled and it does not meet, it does not check all the boxes, like doesn't check the financial box doesn't check, you know, a lot of the boxes, and yet I am so much kind of mentally healthier and happier than I was when I was killing myself trying to you know, be a teacher

lot of the writing of the mother fault is about geology as well, I did all of this incredible kind of reading about geology, and I think it is that, um, you know, you kind of, they shift you off, they shift the axis, you know, you kind of it's kind of like and start you're spinning in a in a different kind of direction. I think having having the kids and I don't think, you know, I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea that they make you better or wise or anything like that, because I know plenty of incredible humans who are not parents and they are incredibly wise and amazing and have kind of lived the full breadth of experience. But I think in terms of what it does for you personally is that it kind of just kicks you off where you are, and you have to look at you have to look at everything differently and and in that act of shifting I think I think Matt label or you know if you're lucky enough to have it or at least that space where you're kind of recovering from actually birthing or or having a newborn in any way that because it it so dramatically changes your day to day that you are forced to to reconsider things and often I think it's a real shame like, especially for friends who, particularly the men, who didn't necessarily get any parental leave or things like that, like life just kind of rolled on. And that, that what I'm so grateful for is the big kind of abrupt shift that made me go, Okay. Well, how do I want this to be? You know, how do I want my life to be? And I've got, I've now got a little human on the outside of me, who's also my responsibility. But how do I want our life to look?

Yeah, and without that, you probably would never have come to that realization, you would have just kept going along, doing it slowly

along exactly.

I just wanted to touch on, you mentioned about the mother for having like, the geology. And so the title of the book is that, I'll give you my take on it. Yeah, because I really loved English at school, and I loved analyzing things. And to this day, my sister, it drives me nuts. When we watch movies, I'm always picking up the love that she's in the light. He's higher than her. She's all this sort of, you know, so basically, this is my take on it. And I say, again, I haven't read it. So I can't say, but it's, to me, it's two things, right? It's the fault. As in fault, as in the mother does things wrong, whatever, you know, no, one's perfect. Finding your way, whatever. And then the fault of like, the geology, like the fault lines of the things that move the earth, sort of Yeah. Yeah,

absolutely. Brilliant. Absolutely perfect. And it's not, um, it's not a technical one, someone who did a read for me at one stage was like, Is this a technical term? Like the greatest, you know, fault line? And I said, No, I totally just made it up. But in terms of, but yes, absolutely refers to that. But the funniest thing was that when I kind of got to it, and and it is that one of those beautiful things we I, I came up with the title myself, because often, you know, often publicy and you know, the publisher will do a title for you, because the one that you've got is shocking. But um, so I did come up with it myself. And I called my mom. And I was like, Ma'am, I've got it. I think I've got the titles of calling the mother felt. And she said, Oh, you can't call it that. And I said, why? And she said, Ah, because it's always the mother's fault. Like people associate those words together all the time. And I was like, Yeah, I know. Like, that's the point. And so many people have said, booksellers, particularly that like, women will comment on it, whether or not they buy it, and sometimes they do, but they will comment on the phrasing of it, because, and, and it provokes a lot of feelings. And I think that I think, you know, we love to a fault. As well as all of that guilt stuff about, you know, me in the book, you know, is kind of like running across the country, you know, escaping from the government, these shady government forces who are looking after her looking after the kids, and she's still wearing, like, oh, maybe we've had takeaway too much this week, like, you know, you know, because that is, that is how the brain works, you know, that you're, you're in absolute kind of danger mode. And the other thing is that, you know, when, when I won't give away the ending in the book, the part that I often read out, too, is that towards the end of the book, when MIM kind of works out what her husband's been up to, and she's really cross and she says, You know, I would have liked to be a hero too, but I was at school pickup, you know, and that, that in the end is what happens to us, you know, like, that is, that is literally in a nutshell. Brilliant, yeah, you know, that you you could do anything you could do you could be anything, you know, that this the possibility of what we have available to us. And of course, part of that is also being a parent and, and that the possibilities that are opened up with that, and the kinds of highs of our our extraordinary, but also the day to day logistics of it are just shit. You know, they just really, and I'm sure some people enjoy it, but I do not. And I know lots of people who do not, and they take up time and brain space and energy and and if there was one thing that I think kind of delicious thing that came out of COVID and lock downs is this tendency, which I hope we can try and hold on to which is to say, okay, maybe we can just have a fire in the backyard on Wednesday night and not do 18 afterschool activities and go to every party and say yes, they have We think maybe we can just, you know, hold on to a little bit less to think that it's enough the way that we're doing things. And then we have space for those other big, crazy wild possibilities that we want for ourselves or for our families. That would be a nice thing. I think I totally, totally agree with that. I can recommend a book which I just listened to on as an audio book. It's called 4000 weeks. Oliver Berkman, I think his name is. And the premise is, if we live to AD, that's what we've got 4000 weeks, that's only, you know, 4000, Saturday nights, 4000, Sunday mornings, and it was kind of like, it was very confronting when I first started listening to it, but his premise is, you know, it's limited, it's finite our time here. So you got to be when you can't do everything. And we think we've been fed this lie that we can, particularly women, particularly in the last 20 years, you can do everything you can have you agree, you can be kids, you can look amazing, your house can look amazing. You can see all your friends, you can have a great marriage, like bullshit.

Yeah, you actually just cannot get to doing this. Yeah. It's impossible.

It is impossible. And, you know, the book, I keep saying to my partner, you know, like, it's changed my life. He's like, your only two days in my blog post finishing the book. So just, maybe it hasn't changed your life yet. But I feel like it's got the capacity to have I keep reminding myself like, you know, I'm 40. Now like, that's it. I'm halfway through my 4000 weeks, like, come on, what are you going to do with the rest of them? You know, make them count?

Can I ask I don't know if this is a sacred or not, but does mean get another book about it? Does she? Does she ever come back?

You know, what she not at this stage? Lots of people were super duper interested in that, because it's left on a bit of a cliffhanger. Oh, hopefully. Hopefully. Yeah. I hadn't I hadn't planned there to be and hopefully. Yeah, I can't, I can't make any large announcements about such things. But hopefully, hopefully she gets a turn to, you know, be adapted into screen in some way. Oh, yes, but not that I would say anything about that. But hopefully, that's something that happens.

I love this podcast because I find out things about other artistic pursuits that I know nothing about. So tell me how, when you write a book, do you then have to go you have to go find someone to publish it for you. You have to send it off to lots of people and stuff. Well, essentially, what we're how it works,

that that's essentially how it works. One of the one of the great lucky breaks of my life is that when I was starting the course that I did the writing course at RMIT, I started writing skylarking as part of, you know, subject to their novel subject. And I actually managed to get that picked up by a publisher before it was finished. So it's very rare that that happens. And that happened. Which was incredible. And since then I've got an agent. So in Australia in particular, definitely in the overseas, the best thing to do is to find a literary agent, if one can you know, I mean, the other thing about it that's been so strange, is you kind of think, oh yeah, I got my first book published. And now I'm just gonna get books published. Like, that's the way it rolls. And of course, that doesn't happen either. Like every single one is still, you know, has to be great. It has to be ready to be published, it has to there has to be space in the market, there has to be all those other you know, everything has to kind of align and combined. So that's why so often, you know, writers in this country, in on average $12,000 A year from their writing, like it's ridiculous. I mean, there's a few outliers, but that's why so often they've got all the other hustles that they have, whether or not they're in writing, like any artists in this country, in fact, because we're so ridiculously and chronically underfunded and undervalued. But you know, that's why having this little bit of time where it has been, I have been able to do it because I got an advance for the book. So I have been able to just focus on writing and feel validated that I don't also have to take on every teaching gig and every workshop key you know, and because that's, that's really hard and that's the other side of the you know, Being an art monster, or, you know, being creative is that then you've got to also manage your own business, about that. And all everything that that comes along with that, which I think often too, is not instinctively where an artist strengths might be. Yeah, yeah. And so yeah, it's very hot, you know, and we want to collaborate, and we, and we want to do all the things and we want to be excited. And it's really hard to kind of insert yourself in there and say, Actually, but hang on, am I being paid for this? Or Hang on? How many hours? Is this gonna take me? Um, one of the things that one of my gangs do have women all have, we're all right, as we're all parents. And at certain times, we've written each other's like, hardcore emails for each other. Whether we're saying, no, actually, we need to be paid more than that, or this is how much I'm charging, because it's still so instinctively hard to do it yourself. I'm getting better at it. But it's still really hard to do it. To do it yourself. Yeah, so the business side of it is just an absolute mess. But I must say that having a my incredible agent on board now. And she's amazing, and she just no bullshit. And she does the, the bits that I both don't understand. And I have no energy for and she lets me in, which protects the time that I have then to write, which is what soulmates? Absolutely.

Wow, that's awesome. So because you've written because, like you said, about getting your advance is that because you sorry, if I'm Hope I'm not being too personal. Like,

no, no, go ask. This is what we should be doing. We should be talking about the business stuff. Yeah, really? Yeah.

So did you have to present the idea for the book? And then they were so we really liked this. So we're gonna give you the funds to give you the time and space to create it?

Yeah, what often happens is that you'll get sued by Agent took the mother fold out and took it to various publishers, and then the publishers all kind of, you know, I was in the fortunate spot to kind of have a number of bids in from different publishers. So then you kind of talk about it, you talk to everyone and see who's a good fit. And who's let's be very frank, who's got the most money. And at that stage, they'll often say, so people will often get contracted in a two book deal or a three book deal. So they'll say, What have you got next. And hilariously, we were off, and we were doing a trip around Australia to visit our mates who live up in the Kimberley. So we take him through, you know, eight weeks off, put the camper trailer on, we were way out in this remote community had very little phone reception. And I'm trying to like pitch my new book, which I hadn't written a word of. The second book is cut, it's kind of a little bit of this, it's kind of a little bit that so that's often what happens is that you kind of pitch a concept or, and some people really don't like being contracted, like some writers will say, Oh, the pressure of having a contract hanging over my head for the next book is too much. I can't write like that. I'm a bit of a deadline person. So I kind of like it. Having said that, I've already missed my deadline. So that's that's the way things go to.

So I wanted to ask you about your podcast. Yes. The first time. It's funny. Do you get this a lot when people google it, they think it's about something else?

Yes, yes. Yes, we do. We do. And in fact, there is another one which is about the which came after us. And of course, now we've now it's hilarious, because it's we're forcing we're about to start our fifth season next year. And we've also now you know, I'm up to publishing my third book, Katherine's publishing her second book. So the premise at the start was that it was about the first time you publish a book. And because Catherine was about to publish her, so we chat to each other about all the things you know, what do you do for a launch? The kinds of questions you're asking as well, like, how do you find an agent, you know, what's meant to cost? As well as interviewing Australian writers about their kind of the first time they published a book and what they've learned since which is, which has been nice.

Yeah, cool. So you're gonna change the show to the third time that you've heard? Yeah, I

know, we were like the first and subsequent times. And now we've got such a brand that I feel like we can't change it. But this year, or next year, we're actually going to, we're hoping to focus we got some really kind of, I talked to Maggie Chipstead, US writer who was shortlisted for the Booker Prize this year, and, you know, getting Helen Garner to speak, you know, we've kind of been begging our friends in the first season to like, Well, you talk to us to now. You know, all these books arrive every day the publishers are out. We get pitches all the time, we can't possibly fit on everyone who, you know, we've been asked to have. So it's this real switch. But you know, a bit like you I think I just I'm, I'm so obsessed and curious about how other people do the thing that they do and how they manage To make it work, and I'm like a bow burden. So I saw I still little bits of everyone's processes and ideas. And, and I just think it's incredibly, it's incredibly interesting. It's incredibly interesting to have those conversations with people. And, and also, I don't think I realized Katherine actually was at an event the other night, and she messaged me afterward. And she said, people really listened to us, like people really came up and said, like, it's really helpful. I really, you know, your voice is so familiar. And I think the beauty now of podcasting, and you would know this is that it feels you know, you forget that however, many people are going to download it later. And you just, you're very, you're sitting often now in your own home, and you're very intimate, and you're very frank. And then you forget sometimes, what you've said, when someone comes up to you are random, and oh, I loved what you said about this about your marriage. I'm like, shit, and I say that. But yeah, you know, I I've become, yeah, I've become really digital. I mean, my dream, my dream is that I get to write books. And then someone on the ABC gives me a show. And I can just talk to creatives about what they do. You know, and someone can pay me to do it. That's the That's the dream. Really, let's be frank Ellison. That is, that's my train. That's what I want to happen.

That is so good. I love that anyone listening for the AV? Yeah. Give us by the show. I found the same thing. I, I found that mostly why I started this is I needed to find out other people's opinions on how not necessarily how to do the physical stuff. Because everyone's so different in there are different, you know, requirements or whatever, but how to change my perception about stuff because I was finding I was getting really challenged, being interrupted and that kind of thing, like, you know, having to having to look at things in a different way and needing to for my own sake, because it was I was just going to have to stop creating, because I just was too wound up and too, you know, almost resentful. That sounds horrible. Yes. But yeah, so I've really enjoyed hearing how other people do it how how they think about things. Yes. And how they, how they still meet their needs, but not at the expense of their own mothering. Yeah,

so yeah,

I've just love it.

I think it's the range too, don't you think Allison that like I am? Have you read the divided heart? Oh, I

interview? Yes. You have you? Yes, of

course you did. You

interviewed Rachel. That's how I knew about your podcast. You know, like, that was such a profound book. For me. I got that really early because someone recommended it to me. And then since then, I've read lots of this and and right, who's a writer, her extraordinary book on being a mother and all this, there's heaps, there's heaps and, and often you're drawn to those ones, too. Like I read all of them, for people who aren't parents as well. But I think it's the range of going, well, this person did it like that. And then this person didn't like that. It's so permission giving when you go, okay, I can be away from my children, and do my work that way. Or I can do it amidst the interruptions. And I can write a chapter on my phone while I'm doing, you know, there's no right way to do it. And I think in the end, sometimes I worry about my obsession with reading about other people's process, but then I'm like, no, because the more you read, the more expensive your idea of what it can be is. And yeah, so I'm totally there with you. It's made my practice so much better.

And which is why it's so important that you know, and so amazing in such a generous kind of actor that you that you do this podcast, too, I think because it is. It's that talking about the unspoken or which, which, you know, there were there were people. Yeah, there were definitely people who, who let me know, I'll always remember a gorgeous friend, Amy, who messaged me on day three and said you might start crying today. And that's okay. And I have since then, I have always sent that message to people, you know, to because I was like, that was so incredibly helpful, that she told me that, you know, and then and I think that there is this act of and you have to know when to say it because you don't want to burst that gorgeous, pregnant, first time pregnancy bubble either for people but the sharing of stories and the way that women in particular share stories. What a lifeline that is. Oh, that's that's happened.

Absolutely. I couldn't agree more and I think the rise of Social media of this showing this perfection this, you know, this beautiful staged photo like we're talking about the Christmas tree, you know? Yeah. Is that really reality? You know? Or if you've got that Christmas tree hidden in a different room where no one can tell you why can't we just be honest with each other and just getting rolled out like don't be afraid to, to share and I think that would help so much not just in, like what we've talked about, but also like the whole mental health thing like actually saying, Yeah, I had a lot of trouble. And now I'm going to use that to help everybody else. Yeah, it's just so powerful. And it's not incredibly ashamed often scared of and embarrassed about, you know, it's laugh and it's reality. And the more we talk about it, the better. No, absolutely. I get a bit precious I think sometimes. Yeah. Yeah.

And scared, scared. Scared of how scared of what people will think, you know,

I can say this as a 40 something year old, but there's no way I would have said this 20 years ago, you know, yeah, like we're talking right back at the beginning about this judgment. Yeah, absolutely. What he has to start thinking like a 40 year old woman. Yes, we

actually,

oh, that's. So basically, I was gonna ask, what you've got coming up.

I've actually got a couple of, I've got some great workshops that I'm teaching in the new year in 2022. And the first one is a kind of a kicking off your creative year. So it's for writers Victoria, I'll send you through the details. But it's a full day online workshop. So people can do it from wherever they are in Australia. And we're looking at it's for emerging, or mid I think it can be for anyone really, but just looking at ways to kind of really kick off the year going, how am I going to make space for my creative work in whatever kind of situation that I'm in that my my work and my family is in? And how I'm going to do that. So that is that's really fun. And yeah, people I mean, people can find I try and keep up to date on socials, I'm having a bit we're having our three weeks at the beach offline, which I'm just so excited and thrilled about. So January's always off. But yeah, podcasts new podcast season, coming up with the first time and then lots of lots of little events in the New Year as well. So and then the book eventually.

You know what, now that now that I've spoken to you, I'm gonna read your books. And a big thing for me because I

love that well, and you know, if you're if you are into audiobooks, I can highly recommend although I haven't listened to it myself, because it's just too weird and hard to do. But the gorgeous Claudia Karvan read the mother fault for Audible. Yeah, or audio book or whatever. And I got to talk to her quite a bit. She's really into it. And everyone who I know who's read it that way, has loved it. So that might be a way that works for you.

That is definitely something I can do. Thank good. That's okay. That's it's been such a pleasure chatting with you. Thank

you. So,

so lovely speaking to you, Allison. I feel like that's like been a debrief as well as just a little therapy session.

Thank you as Digby,

it was lovely to meet you, too. Are you in the middle of your first publishing experience long to get a deal for already been there and want to know how others experienced it? Maybe you're a writer, a reader, a lover of Australian fiction, this podcast is for you. Here's the deal. Adams first book, the helpline is hitting shelves in Australia very soon. And she has got some questions.

Like how do I plan a launch party? What else should I expect? In the Green Room? If I get invited to a festival? Will I get invited to a festival? What if I get invited to a festival and no one shows up? Like my day job? Is my life gonna change? What does it feel like to have a bad review? Do I need to get my nails done to match my book cover? Should I be on Twitter more?

And even though my first book skylarking came out a couple of years ago, and I can give Katherine some advice already has lots of our experiences that are vastly different. So we thought we'd cast the net a little wider. And ask some other Australian writers about that first time.

I just ticked that box novel and started this incredible adventure. It's great to have a deadline to work towards you know, there's this tendency to obviously procrastinate or not even procrastinate. Just keep reworking and reworking and never really deciding that it's finished never pressing them and I distinctly remember the moment I got the idea for what With become the first novel, that moment is vivid in my mind

full of those things had a choice, I write the story down or I go completely mad that first

shortlisting that you get is just this amazing validation. And for some reason, it tends to happen when you're at your lowest point. And it always just kind of buoys you up, and allows you to keep going. There's

three parts to being an artist of any sort, there's talent, there's hard work, and the third one ever forgets as luck, good luck, the lucky chance comes and you're not ready for your lucky chance, you're not gonna make it either.

In each episode, we'll ask a writer to come clean on all the fields and the logistics of their first time, and will hone in on advice on a particular aspect of the publishing process. I'll also ask Catherine to update us on where she's at with her own adventure into the world of a debut novelist. Whether it's chatting to her editor, getting her social sorted, or speaking to an audience of booksellers, we are taking a bit of a risk here. We want to take you behind the scenes of the hype, and the instant deliciousness of the debut Experience and find out all the lows along with the highs. We're asking our guests to be candid, and to give us the warts and all of how it feels. And we don't know how it's gonna play out. But Katherine, Will her book end up on billboards at the airport? Will she hit the coveted top 10 On release? Will Hollywood come knocking? Or will As one writer attests the experience all be a little anticlimactic? subscribe via iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts and check out our website, the first time podcast.com or connect with us via Twitter and Instagram at the first time pod. And let us know about your first time and the questions you want answered. We look forward to getting into your ears.

Thanks for your company today. If you've enjoyed this episode, I'd love you to consider leaving us a review following or subscribing to the podcast or even sharing it with a friend who you think might be interested. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on the podcast. Please get in touch with us via the link in the show notes. I'll catch you again next week for another chat with an artistic mom