Born in Dublin, Ireland Nadia L King moved to Western Australia at the tender age of 11. She worked in journalism and media relations before a fateful meeting with a playwright from New York encouraged her to put pen to paper. In recent years her essays, articles, and short stories have been published in Europe, Australia, and the United States. Her influential first book Jenna’s Truth was published in October 2016 by Aulexic. It is taught in a number of schools in Australia and Great Britain and is a powerful anti-bulling tool for teens.
What made you want to be a writer? How did you begin writing?
I’m a writer. I guess I always have been, but it took me a very long time to give myself permission to write.
In the winter of 2015, I found myself itching to write but unsure where to start. How had I travelled so far through my life reading everything in sight and yet hardly writing a word? One evening, on a rooftop bar overlooking the city, I found myself making small talk with a playwright from New York. I sought the playwright’s advice earnestly.
Shall I go back to university for the fourth time?
Shall I enrol in an online course?
Shall I read something?
The playwright looked at me with something akin to abject pity. I was so anxious and so keen and yet so fearful of getting it all wrong. I had waited so very long and was terrified I’d mess it up. I would never earn the elusive title of writer. The playwright gave me the best advice I have heard in all my years.
‘Just go home and bloody write.’
And I did.
What inspires you to write?
I have stories in my head and can’t help constantly looking for new stories in my everyday life. It seems to be an internal drive. I write most days and feel strange on the days I don’t. Writing has become a way of life for me and I never want to stop.
How do you handle rejection as a writer?
Rejection and bad reviews are part of any writer’s life. Rejection is part and parcel of the writing process. It’s not the end point, it’s just another point we writers have to traverse. Rejection is a positive sign; it means you are sending your work out into the world and without a mountain of rejections; you won’t ever receive an acceptance.
I had my first experience of receiving a couple of bad reviews just before the release of my debut book, Jenna’s Truth. To be honest, the reviews were gut-wrenching. I had a few low days and felt very alone. I scurried back to my writer friends and received some great advice. Don’t read reviews. The good ones will come to your attention and if you come across the bad ones, try to ignore them. If you must read reviews, read them when your next book is out so your focus has moved on and you hopefully won’t take the reviews so personally. Not everyone will like your work and that’s okay, but don’t let bad reviews stop you from achieving your next goal.
How do you deal with isolation, as writing is an inherently private exercise?
I don’t seem to have enough isolation and juggle my family’s life with my writing. I carve out as much time as possible for my writing.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write every day and read widely. Be fussy with what you read; aim to read as many books as possible by accomplished authors so you can learn the craft of writing while also reading.
Any advice for approaching publishers?
Ensure your manuscript is as close to perfect as possible. To do this, you will need to let your story ‘rest’ before you start editing. The longer you leave your work, the more objective you will approach editing and rewriting. Do not be tempted to hurry the process.
Any advice specific to your genre?
I write across genres (Jenna’s Truth is YA fiction, my short stories are contemporary fiction and I am currently working on my second book which is children’s fiction MG and I’m also drafting a short romance). If you work in one genre know your genre – understand the requirements of the genre; the word count, POV etc. Read the bestselling authors in your genre, deconstruct their books and study their techniques.
Which writers do you admire?
I admire so many writers. Australian author, Favel Parrett, is one of my heroes. Her books are achingly simple and heartbreakingly beautiful. I read “Past the Shallows” in one sitting and it utterly slew me. Other favourites include Haruki Murakami, Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, Albert Camus, Sylvain Reynard, and F Scott Fitzgerald.
How will you go about marketing your upcoming book?
I will definitely include a virtual book blog tour when my second book is released.
What do you think is the biggest marketing challenge for new authors?
The biggest marketing challenge is to be effective with the tools you use. Work hard on building your author platform and try not to hammer people with pleas to buy your book. Be authentic and remember you are your brand. Invest in professional photographs. High-res, professional quality author shots will stand you in good stead. You are your brand and professional photographs send the message you’re a professional author.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with aspiring writers?
Don’t let fear hold you back. I was petrified I would never be worthy. I would never write anything worth reading. Now I know none of that matters. I was put on this earth precisely to write. And I will write. I will write as if my life depended on it, because in a way it does. Without scratching on a notepad every day or tapping into my laptop, I am only half alive. I will no longer be paralysed by fear. I will write because after all, I am a writer.