Welcome to Sunday Spotlight. Today our guest is Pip Drysdale, a debut author from Perth whose psychological thriller, The Sunday Girl, was released on the 1st September.
When did you start writing and what was the catalyst?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a writer; even when I was too young to put pen to paper, I used to make up stories (complete with sound effects) via a tape-deck. Then came poems and songs. But in terms of writing novels, I started The Sunday Girl three years ago and that’s the first novel I’ve ever written. As for the catalyst, I have a feeling it was simply ‘time’.
How many novels have you written and published?
I’ve written two. The first is The Sunday Girl and the second was recently completed and submitted to my publisher.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Books tend to simmer away in the background of my mind for a while before I actually feel compelled to write them. But once I start, I have a first draft after about three months and a submission level draft after around six to eight months.
How has being Australian AND a woman impacted on your writing and/or writing career?
I’d say both have helped me. I write stories about women for women, so to my mind being a woman gives me a distinct advantage there. I also feel like we are living in a time when female voices are being listened to more than ever which is brilliant. In terms of being Australian, I’ve found the Australian writing/publishing community to be extremely supportive and nurturing, so that too has helped me.
What authors and types of books do you love the most?
I love books that make me feel, challenge me to see things differently, are addictive and/or escapist.
What is your favourite childhood book? Did reading as a child have any bearing on your decision to become a writer?
I loved the Famous Five, The Secret Seven, The Faraway Tree, and anything with fairies.
What inspired your most recent book?
Heartbreak and pent-up frustration.
As an author of contemporary fiction, how much research do you do, if any? How do you weave it into your story?
I do a lot of research. I try to really get into my characters minds, lives and skins. I wear their perfume, watch their TV shows, sit on their bus route to work. Not all of it finds its way into the work, but I find that gives me ideas I might not otherwise have. It’s also a lot more fun that way.
Do you read your book reviews? Do you appreciate reader feedback and take it on board, even if it is negative? How do you deal with negative feedback after spending so much time writing your book?
I try not to read my reviews when I’m working on something else as it makes it hard to focus, but when I’m not: of course I read them! Any feedback is welcomed so long as it is constructive; that’s the best way to get better. But the reality is: reading is subjective. We can read something one year and have it make no sense to us, then three years of life experience later we can read it again and love it. And so instead of focusing on having everyone like what I do, I focus on being brave in my work.
How much planning do you do? Do you plan / plot the entire story from beginning to end, or let it evolve naturally as the writing progresses? In terms of characters, are they already a firm picture in your mind before you start writing or do they develop a personality of their own as the story progresses?
I always think I know exactly where the plot is going when I start, but I’ve yet to be right.
Have you ever had to deal with a situation where someone feels they recognise traits of themselves in one of your characters?
No, I haven’t. All of my characters are children of my imagination. But if you’re writing realistic characters then people probably will recognise traits of themselves in at least one, if not more, of them at some point. I recognise parts of myself in almost every character I read (and write). Because none of us are totally unique, we share characteristics and life events with many other people. Drawing from that is what makes a character relatable.
Can you tell us something about yourself that not many people would know?
I used to be semi-fluent in French. Now, not so much.
If you could sit down for an afternoon with one person, real or fictional, who would you choose to spend that time with?
God. Either somebody would turn up, or they wouldn’t. Either way there would be a book in that…
The Sunday Girl
The Girl on the Train meets Before I Go to Sleep with a dash of Bridget Jones, The Sunday Girl is a chilling tale of love gone horribly wrong. Any woman who’s ever been involved with a bad, bad man and been dumped will understand what it feels like to be broken, broken-hearted and bent on revenge. Taylor Bishop is hurt, angry and wants to destroy Angus Hollingsworth in the way he destroyed her: Insidiously. Irreparably. Like a puzzle he’d slowly dissembled and discarded. So Taylor consults The Art of War and makes a plan. Then she takes the next irrevocable step – one that will change her life forever.
The book caused a huge stir at this year’s London Book Fair. Pip is based in Perth, and would be happy to set up an interview if that might be of interest.
“Some love affairs change you forever. Someone comes into your orbit and swivels you on your axis, like the wind working on a rooftop weather vane. And when they leave, as the wind always does, you are different; you have a new direction. And it’s not always north.”
You can read more about Pip on her Goodreads author page or contact her via her website.
Published by Simon & Schuster
Released 1 September 2018