Player Profile: Kelly Doust, author of The Crafty Minx at Home

kelly-doustKelly Doust, author of The Crafty Minx at Home

Tell us about your latest creation…

The Crafty Minx at Home: 50+ handmade and recycled objects for beautiful living is about the things closest to my heart: living the handmade life and appreciating the beauty of vintage objects. It also shares the joy in making things yourself and sharing them with loved ones.

Where are you from / where do you call home?

I was raised mostly in Sydney’s Inner West which is where I live now, but I spent my twenties living overseas in Hong Kong and London.

When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?

From the age of about six or seven I wanted to write and started making up short stories and prose for my family (most memorably, a poem imaginatively titled ‘My dog’ when our beloved childhood pet died). My dream of being a writer never really changed, but I’ve certainly had a few failed careers in the interim. I’ve finished exactly one year of a hairdresser’s apprenticeship, and I never quite cut it in the corporate world. I also thought that if I couldn’t write, I’d study to be a fashion designer. I might still do that one day.

crafty-minxWhat do you consider to be your best work? Why?

The next book I’m working on… I always think I can do better and I’m naturally still learning and improving with each book. I consider The Crafty Minx at Home the best book I’ve published so far, because my taste has evolved along the way and I think we’ve created a beautiful, visually-inspiring world for readers to fall in love with.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?

I’m pathologically tidy so I always clear my work area at the beginning of each day. That said, I write at the kitchen table so it’s important to get rid of any distractions before I start, such as the morning’s dirty breakfast bowls and my daughter’s half-finished craft projects. It’s also near the kettle and my digital radio, both of which I couldn’t live without.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?

I read in every genre, from autobiographies to investigative journalism and non-fiction, but my favourite indulgences are novels and beautifully-illustrated lifestyle books. Writers such as Jeannette Winterson, John Irving, Wally Lamb, Jonathan Tropper and Annie Proulx blow me away with their intelligence and talent.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?

Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Tolkein’s The Hobbit. As a child, I couldn’t think of anything more exciting than escaping to other worlds where magic and adventure existed.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?

Flora Poste of Cold Comfort Farm. She has a plucky sense of humour and made the best of herself in straitened circumstances. She’s my heroine.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?

Watch horror movies. Dance hip-hop. Put my body through stupid challenges like Tough Mudder, just to see if I can.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?

Pasta. My mother’s family is Italian, and despite being told I’m gluten intolerant, I can’t seem to give up the good stuff. Favourite drink would have to be red wine. Or mojitos. Or champagne (I have several favourite drinks).

Who is your hero? Why?

People who stay true to themselves but manage to do so with respect for others. In terms of famous identities, I really admire Jamie Oliver for his passion, ambition and success. He seems like a good
person to me. Ditto Barack Obama.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?

Definitely all the other forms of entertainment available to us. I remember being despondent if I ever found myself on a bus or in a waiting room without reading material when I was younger, but now I rarely travel with anything other than my iPhone and use it to watch videos, listen to podcasts and browse online instead. But I think there will always be people who want to sink their teeth into the meatiness of a full-length book. I don’t think anything can replace the beauty of books as objects to covet, touch and possess. Especially illustrated titles, which only grow more tailored and exceptional as time wears on.

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Published by

Clayton Wehner

Clayton is the founder and managing director of Boomerang Books. In a past life, Clayton worked for 12 years as an intelligence officer in the Australian Army and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Royal Military College Duntroon and holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science and a Master of Management Studies (Human Resource Management) from the UNSW. He is also a trained Indonesian linguist and served with the United Nations in East Timor as an interpreter/translator.