I remember being a wee little thing, about seven years old and starting to write a book about my toys, who all came to life when I was asleep. No - I didn't write 'Toy Story' - (I wish!) but I think my love of stories and imaginings was alive and well waaaay back in the 1960s. I played around with writing and dreaming about being a writer for the next 45 years or so, but didn't really commit to anything concrete, until a couple of years ago when we moved from Brisbane to Melbourne for a year and I found myself in a small city apartment with an abundance of that elusive and precious commodity - time. I took myself off to the Italian cafe down the road and wrote every morning long-hand, then typed it all up in the afternoons. It was a tremendous system, with only one drawback - I put on 6kg with all the fabulous treats on offer at the cafe! Since coming home to Brisbane, I have continued to write every day and consider writing my job now. I have to say, the thrill of saying 'I'm a writer' never dulls, as writing is my absolute passion.
What are you working on at the moment?
My debut novel 'Distance' was digitally published last year by Really Blue Books and I completed the sequel 'Further' on Christmas Eve. I've now started the third and final book in the series, which has the working title 'Surfacing.'
Do you plan your novels?
Yes and no. I write the final scene in draft before I start the novel as I think it's so important to know where I'm going with the story. I don't want to be wandering about with no clear direction, so in that regard yes, I do plan it. I'm not a creater of graphs or spreadsheets though as I have the story arc in my head.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
At the risk of sounding corny, I'd have to say that one of the best thing about being a writer is knowing that I'm living my dream. I love completing a section, or chapter and having that 'Yes!' feeling of having managed to convey what I meant to say. There is always, always room for improvement of course, but just sometimes there's a sense of quiet satisfaction when the right words just come of their own accord. Another joy, is when a reader tells me that they have been somehow affected by my writing. I feel that my main job is to create emotion and if a reader tells me they were moved to tears, or felt frustration, anger or happiness, then I am touched beyond words. It's humbling.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Family is super-important. Spending time with my lovely husband and our grown-up children is always awesome! We are a family of talkers and we love to eat, drink and be merry! Walking Toby-the-dog is part of my daily routine and I love reading, yoga, meditation and being with friends.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Write something every day. It doesn't have to be any good, but make sure you write something. Some days I've struggled to even get a shopping list written, so I know it's not always easy. They say that you can't edit a blank page - so no matter what - flex your writing muscle!
If your book was made into a film what actor would you like to play the main character?
My novel 'Distance' is very loosely based on our own experiences of emigrating. The protagonist in 'Distance' is the mum of the family, so I would say she's the one I identify with the most. With that in mind, I'd like somebody incredibly glamorous, witty and beautiful to play her in the film! Rachel Weisz would be my first choice, I think.
Tell us about your current book?
I have just started on the third book in the 'Distance' series. This time, I have jumped forwards in time by 9 years so the children are adults now. As with the previous titles 'Distance' and 'Further' I will be focussed on one of the kids in particular - in this case, daughter Becky, but this whole series will always be mum Isobel's story.
How do you settle on a title?
My first novel 'Distance' follows the Richardson family as they emigrate across the world, but apart from the bones of the story dealing with a physical distance, other major themes are connnected with the idea of distance in a different way. Emotional distance can occur when people are standing right next to one another. A widening gap in a relationship is another form of distance. I wanted to explore the various aspects of distance, as they affect my fictional family. The sequel is called 'Further,' partly because it follows on from the first story, but also (because I was keen for it to be a stand-alone novel too) because the characters are, in some ways, forced further and further apart.The third book has the working title 'Surfacing,' because I'd like the series to end on a hopeful note. The protagonist has many many fraught, difficult and painful times in her life but I'd like to think that ultimately, she is a strong and independent woman.
What do you enjoy about being a writer?
Actually writing and creating something new will never grow old for me. The flexibility of writing is a real bonus, after working for years within an employer's rigid timeframes. I love writing, so it never ever feels like work.
What are you reading at the moment?
I'm reading 'The Hand That First Held Mine.' By Maggie O'Farrell.
Tell us an interesting fact about you.
Well I don't know if it's very interesting, but Nene is not my given name. My 'real' name is Linda, but at four years of age, I apparently grandly announced that my new name was Nene. My amazing parents went along with it - and I've been Nene ever since!
AND JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT ...
SWEET OR SOUR
Sweet. Especially ice cream. Oh and chocolate of course. Oooh - and cake. With icing....
CITY OR COUNTRYSIDE
Much as I'd like to think of myself as a cool city dweller, I'd have to put up my hand to being quite the country mouse at heart. If I could live anywhere though, it would be right on a beach.
ICE CREAM OR SORBET
TEA OR COFFEE
Tea! That first cup of the day (with a tiny dab of honey in it) is unbeatable!
FACT OR FICTION
FACEBOOK OR TWITTER
DOGS OR CATS
Dogs (though we've had cats too and loved them to bits)
EREADER OR PAPERBACK
I've been published digitally, but I have to admit that I love a good old fashioned book-book. Bookshops are the business!
SUMMER OR WINTER
Brisbane summers can be brutal, but our winters are divine. When we lived in Wales, it was all about the summertime.
CONCERT OR THEATER
Oooh a toughie. I love both. And don't do enough of either. If I really had to choose, I'd have to say theatre I think.
Born in 1959, Nene Davies is technically a Baby Boomer and hopes that's a good thing. She lived in England for her first ten years, until her parents returned to Wales where Nene was raised in beautiful Pembrokeshire. In 2002, Nene and her husband packed up their three children and emigrated to Australia.
Nene's short story The Edge was commended by FAWNS in 2009. In 2012, her short story Miss Understood was published by Narrator Australia, Day One appeared in Foreign Encounters by Writers Abroad, Santa's Helper Helps Herself appeared on the ABC Open website and Nene's writing group e- published Ten Minute Tales. Her first novel Distance was digitally published in June 2013 by Really Blue Books, Australia. Nene lives her dream in sunny Brisbane and writes full-time.
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