Cath Crowley is a children’s and Young Adult author and winner of the most prestigious literary awards in the country. Over at www.cathcrowley.com.au you can learn about her love of coffee, her sleepwalking tendencies and her yearning for a pet fish. Here, you can dive down into her writing process and space…
Where did you write your latest book? How important to you is the space in which you write?
I do most of my writing away from the page. I get out in the world and look at things, travel around and take notes. For Graffiti Moon I sat for hours under the Westgate Bridge, trying to describe the landscape of the west. I love the lights and the industry, the packing crates on the docks.
I think of scenes while I’m walking or swimming, and then come home to write them. Sometimes I just stop at a café or in the park.
I move my desk around the house – sometimes a different view can shift my thinking. I like writing in this corner – where I can see the fire.
Headspace is more important to me than physical space. I need to know that I won’t have any interruptions for a long period of time – no noise for a couple of weeks. A month with no phone calls or emails would be bliss.
If I have headspace, then I can write anywhere.
Do you transform your space in any way for each book? Do you ‘get into character’ at all?
I don’t transform my place for the book. Sometimes I shift to my lounge room to write. My place is small, so most of the time I’m in my bedroom. (It’s the size of about three rooms though, and it has a lovely window. I quite like writing in there.)
I get into character in the usual ways – I write as them. I go to places I think they would like. I watch and listen and take notes. I watched a lot of glass blowing when I was writing Graffiti Moon. I went to a lot of galleries. I took photos of graffiti. And then I shut the whole world out and wrote the book.
|A magical place in Daylesford where Cath escapes to write from time to time.|
How has the place that you write evolved or changed since you first began writing novels?
I started writing while living in a share house. I used a communal computer that was in a room off the lounge, near the kitchen. I’d write listening to my housemates talking. I loved it. I’d write all night and people would come home and I’d have a chat with them. They’d go to bed and I’d keep going.
I didn’t seem to need as much headspace then.
Do you keep regular writing hours? If not, when do you write?
I write when I can get the time – around school visits. I would write all day if I could. Ideally, I like to start at about five in the morning, go through till twelve, go for a swim and come back to it.
Do you have a morning ritual? Roald Dahl was said to sharpen pencils. What settles your mind for writing?
If I have one, it’s making a good coffee.