Fiona Wood, author of Wildlife
Tell us about your latest creation…
‘Wildlife’ is set in a boarding term at a co-ed school’s outdoor education campus. It’s a story about friendship, first love, jealousy and betrayal. It follows the stories of Sibylla and Lou. Sibylla is in the early days of a new romance. She’s not sure about the whole girlfriend ‘thing’, and doesn’t need the added stress of the boarding school scrutiny. Lou (from ‘Six Impossible Things’) is a new girl, determined to keep to herself. But as Sibylla’s so-called best friend Holly starts acting like a trouble-making Iago, Lou decides to get involved and help Sibylla work out what friendship actually means.
Where are you from / where do you call home?
If anyone ever asked I always said I wanted to write and illustrate children’s books. But when I left school, the first thing I did was to study law.
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?
I’ve written TV for a number of years but it is my two novels ‘Six Impossible Things’ and ‘Wildlife’ that are my best work because with them I was free to write whatever I wanted and so their characters and stories and themes are close to my heart.
Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?
I work in a tiny space about a metre and half wide. It’s quite tidy apart from the piles of books. With my chair in the right place I can see sky.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?
There is such a big group of writers whose work I love, it’s not possible to make a list without leaving off far too many. But I think William Trevor and Penelope Fitzgerald both write with a thrilling understated brilliance.
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?
During school years I came across writers such as Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, EM Forster, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett for the first time.
If you were a literary character, who would you be?
I still have a secret yearning to climb the Faraway Tree. But the gender stereotyping of those characters doesn’t appeal, so I guess it’s more a literary destination.
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?
I love cooking. And eating. And mooching with family and friends. And parkour! (That’s the surprising bit.)(Also, it’s not true.)(But if you haven’t heard of parkour read Tim Sinclair’s ‘Run’.)
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?
Again – too, too many to name. But right this minute I’m eating a great sandwich from The Woodfrog Bakery in St Kilda – rare roast beef, horseradish, spinach, onion, and beetroot relish on sourdough rye. It’s a party in my mouth. And I like making fizzy water with my SodaStream because it has reusable bottles.
Who is your hero? Why?
There are so many varieties of heroism. Anita Sarkeesian is doing a great job in raising awareness of gender inequities in the media and popular culture and her blog Feminist Frequency is worth visiting.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?
A healthy industry means as many publishers and as many outlets for buying books as possible. As readers we need to keep buying
books and borrowing books from libraries and talking about the books we read and giving books as gifts because as long as demand is strong good books will keep getting published.
Website URL: www.fionawood.com
Twitter URL: @f_i_o_n_a_w_