Persephone Nicholas, author of Burned
Tell us about your latest creation:
My book is called Burned and is the winner of this year’s Random House/National Seniors Literary Prize. It’s the story of four families on two sides of the world brought together by one terrible event.
I was born in the UK but have lived in Sydney for nearly 10 years now. I live a stone’s throw from Balmoral Beach in Mosman – it’s a great place to call home.
When you were a kid, what did you want to become? An author?:
I’ve always loved words and writing, but did go through a long stage of wanting to be a vet.
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:
Burned is my first novel so it’s definitely the best so far. I was very humbled to receive an award for it – it’s made me determined to try and make the next one even better.
Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:
I write at a beautiful silver desk I bought in London many years ago. My dog lies underneath it and keeps my feet warm in winter. I like peace and quiet when I’m working and if I need some inspiration I just head down to the beach at the end of the street.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:
It’s very important to me that the books I read are well-written. At the moment I’m reading M L Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans and then I’ll be moving on to Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed. R J Palacio’s Wonder was a favourite earlier this year.
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:
I particularly loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series. The tv series just didn’t do it justice.
If you were a literary character, who would you be?:
I could pick a different character for every day of the year!
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:
I love the ocean – swimming in it, walking beside it, watching it… I find it very therapeutic and restorative.
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:
Champagne, coffee, chocolate… anything beginning with a ‘c.’
Who is your hero? Why?:
My real life hero is Annie Crawford, founder of CanToo – a not for profit organisation that helps people get fit and raises money for ground-breaking cancer research.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:
Instilling a love of reading and great books in our children – so entertainment doesn’t always sink to the level of the lowest common denominator.