Interview with Georgina Gregory

What's the story behind your latest book?
'Wajemup: Place across the water where the spirits go' started as more of a non-fiction project, detailing the brutal history of an island which is now a popular tourist destination. I had a conversation with one of my Mum's friends on holiday at the beginning of the year about her visit to Perth, and she told me a bit about the history of Rottnest Island. I couldn't believe that I had lived in Perth for nearly a decade without realising that this white man's playground used to be an Aboriginal prison. I had visited several times before, but there were no signs, no brochures, no acknowledgement. It's literally like the history has been wiped away so that people can get on and enjoy themselves. The more I thought about it and researched, the more I thought that a powerful critique could take a fictional form, and that's what I hope I have achieved.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am an ESL teacher, so I spend a fair bit of time at work: preparing lessons and teaching English to multi-nationality adults. I also run my own business - freelance editing - and I'm on the committee of Editors WA. On top of all that, I've been studying for the past three years, so I haven't had much free time. When I do get some time off, I love going to the beach, food and wine, spending time with friends, and (of course) curling up with a good book. When I lived in Europe, I had the chance to travel a lot, which I really miss.
What do you read for pleasure?
I have a really eclectic taste, and I'll give anything a go. Until a few years ago I had to finish every book I started, even if I wasn't enjoying it, but when I started at university, I forced myself to change that habit.
I like going to writers' festivals and book launches, and tend to buy a lot of books after hearing the author talking about them. I have been reading mostly Australian fiction over the past few years and have Julie Koh, Miles Allinson and Charlotte Wood on my 'to read' stack at the moment. My favourite Perth short story writer is Susan Midalia, and on my bedside table at the moment is Helen Garner's 'Monkey Grip'.
What is your writing process?
I tend to write short stories, and I don't do a lot of written planning for them. In fact, I like to develop the ideas and the characters in my head first, before putting any words on a page. I feel like I'm carrying the characters around with me, and I'm constantly wondering how they would react to certain situations. I'm always watching people and listening to their conversations (watch out!) and I would say most of my stories are very character driven. I still like writing my first draft with a pen and paper, but I'm really trying to embrace new technologies and platforms - hence this arrival at Smashwords!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the south-west of England, before living in Bulgaria for a few years, then moving to Australia. Although I'm now an Australian citizen, I feel more English now than I ever did when I lived there. These themes of belonging and cultural identity really fascinate me, and tend to be something I think about a lot. I feel like I tend to focus a lot more on character than place in my short stories, but having said that, I always have a clear idea in my mind of where the story is supposed to be set.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Nothing profound, I'm afraid; just the need to go to work and the fact that I have so much to do! I am not much of a morning person, and I don't really like waking up early. As soon as I'm awake though, there's no chance of going back to sleep; my mind starts going over all the things I have to do that day. If I'm working on some writing at the time, the characters wake up in my head at the same time as I do, and don't give me any peace for the rest of the day.
What do your fans mean to you?
When I get some, I will tell you! At the moment my only fans are my mum and a few people in my writing class ...
Published 2016-10-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Graylands
Price: Free! Words: 670. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Australia & New Zealand
This flash fiction received a commended award for prose in the 2016 Talus Prize. It looks at themes of longing, belonging and family, and was inspired by an article on the front page of The West Australian Newspaper on 9 December 1952: 'U.K. Migrants In W.A. Complain'.
Wajemup: Place across the water where the spirits go
Price: Free! Words: 1,760. Language: English. Published: October 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas
On the surface, this short story is a snapshot of an Australian family holiday. Look a little deeper and you'll find a subtle critique of a society that buries its head in the sand, ignoring a brutal history to focus on its own gain and enjoyment.