So You want to be a writer podcast

with Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait

In this time of COVID-19 a lovely podcast to listen to is Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait’s self-explanatory podcast – So you want to be a writer.

The two presenters riff off each other and they are obviously good friends. They are very respectful of each other’s knowledge in the area of books and publishing and find each other fun and funny. Allison’s persona of Eeyore, with sad to middling days (actually, fair to middling) is a great contrast to Valerie’s exuberance, Little Miss Sunshine enthusiasm and positivity. But push the right button and Allison comes into her own, when she talks about writing children’s books, when she gets annoyed at people who are waiting for their muse to stop sipping mimosa’s on a beach in Hawaii and get back so that they can start writing, and when she gives advice on writing.

Allison is a freelance writer and author of the children’s book series’ – The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher and a new book coming out in September, The Fire Star, a Maven and Reeve mystery.

Valerie Khoo is the CEO of the Australian Writers Centre

They are both incredibly enthusiastic and generous with the information they impart and the support that they give to writers, emerging and established.

Valerie’s ‘word of the week’ is hilarious not for the word of the week itself, but for Allison’s reaction to it… first of all … she is not ready for the word of the week cannot believe that anyone could be remotely interested in it, and second of all she is usually absolutely certain that no, she is not going to use the word of the week in any context in any way in any form that Valerie might suggest it could be used, in fact she’s absolutely positive it can’t be used in that particular context and if anyone can she’d like to know.

Given that lead-up, however, don’t focus on Episode 322 where Valerie doesn’t have a word of the week!

In their ‘writer in residence segment’, they take turns interviewing authors with recently published books. This segment gives an insight into an author’s writing process and their journey to publication.

The interviews are interesting for how different each author’s writing process and journey to publication is.

Their final question asks authors for their three best tips for aspiring writers – interestingly enough, a lot of authors say:

1) READ. READ. READ in the area in which the aspiring author wants to write but also much more widely. Be a part of the world of reading and writing.

2) WRITE. WRITE. WRITE to finish a project. You will not have a book to publish unless you actually start to write it. And as one author said what do you have to lose? That notion that someone might reject it? You won’t know till you write it.

3) PERSEVERE – with both the writing and the sending off to publishers.

Their innate generosity and commitment to the writing community is reflected in the fact that given that author events – book launches, school talks, workshops, writers festivals etc have all been cancelled over the coming months and there is currently no physical space for new authors to promote their books,  Allison and Valerie are working on a series in which they will promote debut Australian authors.

If by the end of listening to these podcast episodes, you have not called your muse back from the top of the Eiffel Tower; walking along the Ganges; shooting rapids on the Saguenay River and tied them to your desk while you write… then, well… maybe there is no hope!

Anyway, happy writing! 🙂

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