Viva La Novella Shortlister – Christy Collins

What do you do in your day job/life?

I’m a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania.

What’s the earliest thing you remember writing?

I remember, before I could read, writing groups of letters on pieces of paper and taking them to Mum and asking: 'what does this say?'

As far as actual, intelligible writing: I recently dug up a copy of 'The Inventing of the Homework Machine' which even has chapters and a laminated cover. According to the bio in the back it is my second book(!) the first being 'How the Kookaburra got his Laugh.'

When do you like to write?

It changes. I wrote my shortlisted work in the mornings before work, but at the moment I write mostly in the evenings. Generally: when the house is quiet, and there’s minimal chance of being interrupted.

If you could brunch with anyone, who would it be?

Last October, my husband and I walked the Camino de Santiago across Spain. I’d love to have a big, noisy brunch with all the friends we met along the way.

Most important thing the internet has taught you:

That I’m not alone. Writing requires a lot of solitude, but it’s good to be able to connect with other people out there working on their own novels or short stories – and I don’t even have to leave my desk.

A quotation you have used more than once:

'Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.'  E. L. Doctorow

Life’s a bit like that too.

What’s next?

I’m working on a novel set in the Netherlands in the mid-2000s as part of my PhD studies. It was a strange era with two assassinations that dramatically highlighted the changing face of the country at that time. These events form the backdrop to my story, which is about religion, migration and taking hold of our own lives when the past is complicated for reasons beyond our control.