Tell us about your work background.
I’ve been a research scientist (where I played with DNA), a high school science teacher (where I went to formals as an adult), and a counsellor (where I’ve learnt about Jungian theories and other philosophical and psychological concepts).
Right now I write full-time. I also do work related to writing, like poetry gigs, workshops, and writer in residence programs.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Growing up, Mum would deliver me at the library where I would seek out new books and emerge with a pile to read over the next month. I devoured books. I loved to read. It was a natural progression for me to begin writing my own stories. At school I loved when the teacher wanted us to write a creative story. Mine would go on for pages and pages - about talking kittens, dolls, caves by the beach. And once I wrote about a shipwreck.
It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that the idea of pursuing a writing career began to grow in my mind. I never thought of becoming a writer. I don’t know why. Other things just got in the way perhaps? In my early thirties, I decided to take the risk and pursue a writing career in earnest. I’ve not looked back. Writing is what I’m meant to be doing – if a few days go by and I haven’t written I tend to get a little grumpy. As the saying goes, ‘it’s in my blood’, it’s who I am, and I’m happiest when writing.
You’ve penned stories involving fantasy, sci-fi, steam-punk and horror, and recently tackled a rural romance. Is there anything you can’t do, and why not stick to one genre?
I don’t like to think about what I can’t write. I did that once. The gauntlet was thrown down – to myself – and I ended up writing a novella in the area I didn’t think I could write in (intense horror). It opened a new door for me, and my writing has been expanded because of this, which isn’t a bad thing. What inspires my writing are ideas. This is why I write in different areas. It's the ideas, or the questions I’m asking myself, and the what-ifs that create the characters and the situations they are in that dictates what genre I write in.
Writing for you does not appear to be a solitary activity. You’ve done everything from being a writer in residence at the SA Writers' Centre and Unley Council to a café poet at Rundle Mall's T-Bar. Do you think it’s important to get out and about as a writer and be 'seen'?
For me writing in public is a way to stay connected to the ‘real world’. I also write more productively. The noises, the smells, the interactions with people - while they aren’t going on the page, they are indirectly sparking my own senses and are reminding me of life. People seem to be drawn to me when I’m writing. They are interested, curious, and like to take a peek over my shoulder to see the words on my computer screen!
On your website you state your aim to write a poem a day for a year. How’s that going?
What was I thinking!? I’m hanging in there – just. I’ve written a poem a day since January 1. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I wanted to stretch my poetry writing in different ways. This process forces me look at life around me with ‘poetry eyes’ and at things from different perspectives. Writing exercises offer me a platform for writing new stories and poems, and this is exactly what this goal had done. I’ve got a lot of poems - some aren’t very good, some are very short - but I can come back to these poems in years to come.
Can you give us the log-lines of any recent stories you’ve had published?
New Skies published by Less Than Three Press (2012)
All Opal wants is to spend time with her beautiful, fiery lover and continue to build a life together—when she's not building and testing new inventions. But their peace and happiness is shattered by the appearance of a ghost—a ghost Opal does not believe in, despite the evidence.
Creating Wings (poetry collection) published by Infinity Dreaming (2012)
Life can pluck out your feathers and clip your wings, leaving you stranded and alone. Until you remember to begin again and create a new set of wings.
Browsing published by Bewildering Stories (coming out Autumn 2013)
An over-charged shopaholic prowls the cells of the living, breathing organism of the shopping mall.
Following Dreams published by Alfie Dog (Aug 4, 2013)
Ashley is scared of failing and misusing Nan’s money to set up her dream organic café. When she finally rents a shop, Ashley ends up with support from a stranger - and more than a café.
What made you get rid of your trademark blonde dreadlocks? And why the obsession with wings?
You do ask the hard questions! Girls like to change their hairstyle once in a while, and for me, it was just time for a change! At the time, I had more important things to do than style my hair (so many stories to write!) and dreadlocks were the perfect solution. Who knows? Maybe I will get them again in the future. ;)
For me wings usually represent being free, hope, potential and they are a sign change has or is occurring. Wings began fluttering in my writings when I was emerging as a writer, which was symbolic to the start of my writing journey. I believe I have many muses - most of them have wings, from angels to harpies.
Visit Lilliana's site here.