Viva La Novella Shortlister – Jane Rawson

What do you do in your day job/life? I work full-time as a technical writer for a non-profit organisation that helps other non-profit organisations with their technology. In the past I've been the environment editor for a news website, written sustainable transport policy for government, and looked after part of Lonely Planet's website. The rest of my time I spend drinking, talking, thinking, reading, writing and forgetting what I was meant to be doing.

What’s the earliest thing you remember writing?

I don't remember writing the poem 'My pussy cat', but there's documentary evidence I completed that, and a poem for my dad, around my fifth birthday. It's possible my writing memory doesn't stretch back before 1996, which was when I wrote the first tiny scraps that finally grew into the novella Formaldehyde.

When do you like to write?

Whenever I can. I don't have a system or a schedule, I just try to find chunks of time - from 20 minutes to a few hours - and do whatever's possible.

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

My brother, because he lives in Hanoi and I never get to see him, and I reckon he's pretty great.

Most important thing the Internet has taught you:

Be kind, be truthful and sometimes ignore both those rules if you can be really funny instead. But really: do try to be kind. You'll avoid a lot of regrets.

A quotation you have used more than once:

It seems like my most regularly used quotations were sourced from my nephew when he was two ('of course cows!') and my cousin when he was four ('go to bed or to gaol!'). Maybe I'll start saying 'The sea, the snotgreen sea, the scrotumtightening sea' at random times.

What’s next?

My co-author and I are just finishing up the manuscript of a personal handbook for surviving climate change – it should be out late this year or early next year. When that's done I'll have a small nap and then I want to get back to writing a novel about a terrible shipwreck. One day I'd like to figure out how to write at least three days a week: that's on the agenda too.