Before we announce the winner, we're running profiles on all the shortlisted authors in our Viva la Novella competition. First up is Veronica Gleeson. What do you do in your day job/life? My professional title is Senior Development Executive at Screen Australia, which makes me sound as though I have a steel trapped left brain, desk tapping talons and a gleaming Newton’s Cradle. The truth is I’m very fortunate to have a job where I get paid to collaborate with some excellent filmmaking minds (something I do most days with leftovers smeared down my jeans. That no-one in the office bothers to point out anymore). I also have a family, but I’ll spare you the rhapsodic maternal overshare. Suffice to say the leftovers aren’t solely my doing.
Do you have a process for writing or does it depend on the project? I’m at the mercy of a compulsion when it comes to writing, so that’s usually how things get to first draft. Then I look at them with one uncovered eye in an unholy concatenation of self-loathing and vain curiosity, draw on something like courage and go back and rework. In that respect the process is pretty unvaried. A decade of working in film development has left me struggling to write in anything other the present tense, so my current process involves worrying about that.
What’s the one invention that you thought would have been invented by now? As a Reagan child the answer has to be the De Lorean. But if I’m going to allow myself a moment of sincerity here, it’s that precise, humane storytelling is a more important means of transportation. We don’t need to invent it. But not being afraid of its reinvention seems fairly key.
A piece of advice your sixteen year old self would give you. Don’t wear those bogan pants. And stop talking to me as though you understand who I am.
What’s next? A novel about the social schisms the Sydney real estate boom has produced/amplified called Jealous People. And a bunch of movies with equally straightforward titles – I’m drawn to things that at least purport to do what they say on the tin. I’ll probably try to produce some films and TV at some point, because deep down I don’t really believe I’m a writer. Although being called an author for the purposes of this questionnaire may well have turned my head.