Author Interview with Rebecca Sparrow

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Author, Columnist, and Charity Ambassador for War Child Australia and The Pyjama Foundation, and a woman I admire greatly….Rebecca Sparrow. Having been a big fan of Rebecca’s column’s in the Sunday Mail for a long time now and being a huge admirer of her tireless charity work, I was very excited to be given the opportinity to ask her some questions and gain a little insight into what makes her tick.  Being a working mother myself I was curious to know “How does she do it?”, I hope you find her answers as amusing and enlightening as I did.

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1. First off, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m the author of four books including The Girl Most Likely (which is in development as a feature film) and Find Your Tribe (and 9 other things I wish I’d known in high school).  I am also a columnist for Mamamia.com.au and I write a column for the Sunday Mail in South Australia. 

2. There is a common thought that many authors début books are semi autobiographical, is any of The Girl Most Likely based on you?

Certainly my real life circumstances inspired that book.  I was a magazine editor who went to Las Vegas, married my boyfriend in secret only to wind up unemployed, and broke and living back in my childhood bedroom at my parents’ house nursing divorce papers and working as a nanny.  So about 30% of the book is from my real life. The other 70% is pure fiction.

3. You co-wrote your third book Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight, with fellow author Nick Earls, how was that? Did you find it changed the creative process for you?

It was a wonderful experience. Nick and I wrote alternate chapters (he wrote from Joel’s point of view, I wrote from Cat’s point of view). We were living in different cities at the time and would just email each other the next “bit”.  Our goal was really to make each other laugh out loud... it was great fun and not like work at all.  Interestingly we had to go through magazines together to find images of what we thought all the characters looked like.  We had to make sure that when Nick was describing Cat’s mum — we both had the same image in our heads (if that makes sense!).

 4. Do you read reviews of your writing? And if so, do you allow it to influence you?

It’s hard not to but I try not to go on the “review roller-coaster”.  You get a good review and all is right with the world. You get a bad review and you want to stick your head in the oven.  The thing is reviews are subjective.  And you can’t write to please critics. You have to write for yourself. Not your editor. Not your agent. Not your fans. Just yourself. If you can write a book that you would actually enjoy reading — that’s the goal. 

5. You have written fiction and non-fiction (Find Your Tribe), do you prefer one over the other or are they totally separate in your view?

They are completely different. Fiction, for me, is a hundred times more challenging.

6. If you were to do any job other than be a writer what would it be?

I have no idea. Maybe a teacher. I love working with teenage girls. But the truth is I will always write — regardless of whether I get published. 

7. Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?

Zoe Budd! Rachel Hill’s best friend in The Girl Most Likely.  She’s hilarious and fiercely loyal. And I think I’d try to talk her out of her obsession with writing (bad) erotic fiction!

8. Do you have any strange quirks or rituals that you have to undertake to get into the creative process?

I’m the mother of a toddler (Ava is 2 years old and like a hurricane).  That means I don’t have the luxury of rituals!  Here’s my ritual — “Quick!  Ava is playing with her toys; let’s see if I can grab 15 minutes on the laptop!”

9. With your first book The Girl Most likely being made into a feature film do you have a desire to act in it?

Officially No, Secretly Yes.

10. Do you have anything new in the works?

I’m just today writing the last chapter of “Find Your Feet (the 8 things I wish I’d known before I left high school)” ….  Of course, it all depends on whether Ava has a nap!

If you also harbour secret desires to be an actor or are interested in more details about the film of The Girl Most Likely,  then check out the Facebook fan page for the film. Want to know more about Rebecca, her novels, her column or her charity work? You can read all about her at her blogspot www.rebeccasparrow.com 

I hope you enjoyed our interview as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you,  being a fan of Rebecca’s for many years I wanted to share a bit about her writing and her charity work in the hope that she might inspire you as much as she has inspired me and many other women. 

Courtney Nicholas for TLC Books

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