Interview with Inez Baranay

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney. It is/was a working class and migrant area, far from the inner city, Harbour and beach suburbs that I fled to as soon as I could. Being a migrant in very Anglo 1950s and 60s Australia, as much as the places lived in, influenced my sense of myself, my relationship to the English language and therefore my writing. It gave me a sense of outsider-ness, of needing to move on, of a past and a future somewhere far away. I was lucky to live in Malaya (as it was then) for a couple of years aged 15-17, which gave me a taste for South-East Asia and travel. I've lived in many places since then, and foreignness is my nationality.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Stopping the pain of not writing.
What do you read for pleasure?
My reading pleasures are many and very varied. I read classics and new things, serious works and light works, fiction and non. I read things to stimulate and nurture my current writing project/s or things that give me a rest from them. My favourite writer changes with my moods and my needs. In past interviews I've named Colette, Jean Rhys and Graham Green as favourite authors. One of my novels (With The Tiger) is based on a Somerset Maugham novel; he was an early favourite. I go back to Chekhov and Nabokov frequently. It's as if nothing has the power of the writers you first read when young, and read again. I discover new writers who arouse pleasure and admiration all the time.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My precious time of solitude first thing every morning, for yoga and writing. And coffee. Nothing like that first coffee of the day!
When did you first start writing?
When I was a child. I always wrote. But "just for myself" for a long time. I came out of the closet and outed myself as a writer when I was about 30.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle. It's a more book like experience than the others. But I also read things I can only get on pdf on iPad.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm going to find that out.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was published by mainstream publishing houses for many years. Anyone who's interested in these things knows how much things have changed in the worlds of publishing and book-selling and reading. My back list went out of print and rights reverted to me. I knew those books were still finding new readers and potentially still had a long life ... if they could be kept alive. Everything I read and heard increasingly convinced me that self-publishing was the only way to keep my back list available, and e-publishing the best way to make them easy to obtain by anyone anywhere. And then soon I began to like the idea of going indie for new works as well.
What do your fans mean to you?
When someone likes one of my books and tells me so, it makes me feel as if the book has been completed. It has traveled from my imagination to another's.
Why do you also have a paper book publishing project?
Some people insist they only want my books as paper books, which they call "real" books. I understnd that: as much as I love ebooks I also love reading a paper book. I created Local Time Publishing to publish back list and new titles in a series beautiful new editions. They can be found at and there's a Facebook page for Local Time Publishing at
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, mostly.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. Maybe not the very first, but one I completed. I was 13 or 14 when I wrote it. I described a woman as seen by three different people, who were all looking for some kind of ideal woman: a little girl, a man, and I forget the third. It's as if I was always interested in the different ways people experience events and other people. My work typically features shifts in voice and point of view.
Where can people find other interviews with you?
Print, audio and video [mostly on YouTube] interviews are collected on my website, under the "About" menu,
or copy and past this url:
You've been to India many times and some of your books were first published in India. How did that come about?
I had spent a lot of time in India over many years, from early travels in the 80s to the research trips for my novel Neem Dreams, a novel about globalisation and tradition. When I was in Delhi on a writing fellowship in 2002 I met the newly appointed commissioning editor at Rupa & Co., an old Indian publishing house. We had some great conversations about books and writing; he read my manuscript and said he wanted to publish it. Neem Dreams had a tremendous critical reception in India; I realised I had had an Indian reader in mind as the model reader. My next novel, With The Tiger, also has its first publication in India; based on Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge it is, among other things, a contemporary look at the idea of India as the place for the Westerner's spiritual search. And probably my most wonderful publishing experience was meeting the late Professor P Lal in Kolkata and his taking my book Sun Square Moon, about yoga and writing, for his Writers Workshop publishing house. I've made lifelong friends in India and keep going back. I've published several short pieces about India and my non-fiction book A Passage To Neem Dreams includes some of those writings.
What's the story behind your latest book?
"Always Hungry" is a vampire novel for adults. Partly its origins lie in hearing about the mythical Bloody Countess since I was a child, with a sense of her as a kind of mysterious ancestor. Past research into witches made me wary about the kind of reputation given to certain powerful women. Also my novel is influenced by the film The Hunger (Scott, 1984).
I've written in detail about writing this novel in an Afterword for the ebook edition, which you can read online at my website, here:
How do you approach cover design?
I find a designer I trust and we work on it together.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is a user-friendly, reputable platform for publishing ebooks. My research brought me here when I was looking for a place to re-publish my back list as well as new works. I trust that as my books find their potential readers Smashwords will make that connection work smoothly.
What are you working on next?
More fiction and memoir.
Published 2014-02-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Always Hungry
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 43,760. Language: English. Published: April 29, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Transgressional fiction
Described in reviews as “refreshing, sophisticated, playful, beguiling, horrifying and sexy” this is a vampire story for literate adults, in a world of writers, cult figures and international travel. Always Hungry is an erotic entertainment about ambition, mortality and relationships, a social comedy with a chilling edge.
With The Tiger
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 97,770. Language: English. Published: November 7, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
With The Tiger is a retelling of the Somerset Maugham novel the Razor’s Edge (1944), which popularised the idea of the Westerner’s search for meaning in “spiritual India”. With The Tiger opens in 1979; it’s the story of Larry, an Australian who travels to India many times over 20 years. First published in India by HarperCollins in 2008.
Rascal Rain A Year in Papua New Guinea
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 91,740. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » By region
Australian Volunteers Abroad sent novelist Inez Baranay to Papua New Guinea’s chaotic, violent province of Enga. Within months she went from sipping cappuccino in inner-city Sydney to a culture where brides are bought, rape is commonplace, and women aren’t allowed near men’s food because it’s thought it will make the men weak. Her experiences have resulted in a highly readable account.
A Passage To Neem Dreams
Price: Free! Words: 61,310. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Partly a memoir about writing Neem Dreams, partly a critical study of her own novel, themes include the creation of a novel, travels and research in India, neem as a symbol of the clash between globalisation and tradition, and the influence of EM Forster. Neem Dreams was published in India in 2003 to widespread critical acclaim.
Neem Dreams
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 69,750. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Set in southern India in the mid 1990s this critically acclaimed novel deals with the clash between tradition and globalisation. Four characters, an English lawyer, an Australian feminist scientist, an American buyer for a New York store and an Indian development worker, are all on quests centred on the neem, the tree known since ancient times for its beneficial properties.
My Transylvanian Cousin
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,500. Language: English. Published: October 20, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Urban
The narrator Inez is contacted by the mysterious Vlad from Transylvania who claims to be her cousin and wants to introduce her to the tradition. As Inez becomes drawn to Vlad’s gifts, Vlad discovers new pleasures at the Gold Coast, enough to even make mortality acceptable.
You set the price! Words: 56,870. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Urban
Based on a true story, set in Sydney in the 1950s, Pagan is about the new music, the new migrations and the old magick. First published in 1990, it was described as brilliantly written and a narrative tour-de-force. This new ebooks edition has Afterwords by the author.
Sheila Power An entertainment
You set the price! Words: 117,260. Language: English. Published: September 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Urban
Sheila Power has been described as “A rattling good read that defies pigeon holing into any one genre." It combines a comedy of manners with a thriller. First published in 1997; seen as both a continuation and break with the author's writing. This new ebook comes with the author's Afterwords.
Between Careers
You set the price! Words: 40,270. Language: English. Published: August 30, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
A novel set in Sydney in the late 1970s, described as witty and satirical, taking us into the life of a classy call girl. First published in 1989, the new ebook edition has new Afterwords by the author. Between Careers takes a close look at the moral values of both the ancient profession and of more conventional ways of living. The prose is spare and sparkling.
Sun Square Moon writings on yoga and writing
Price: Free! Words: 25,310. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2011. Categories: Essay » Literature
Writings on yoga practice and writing practice, how yoga and writing reflect, support or conflict with each other, by a widely published author and a long-time yoga practitioner. Practice, discipline, dreams, the body, tradition and life are some of its themes. First published in India and with a review by N Sjoman, author of The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace.