In 5 minutes with author, Over60 asks book writers about their literary habits and preferences. Next in this series is Tricia Stringer, a writer based in the Copper Coast region of South Australia. Her body of work spans across various genres, from rural romance to historical saga. She won the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year award in 2013 for her book Queen of the Road. Her latest fiction novel, The Model Wife is out now.
Over60 talked with Stringer about happy endings, ‘listening’ to places and why she doesn’t believe in writer’s block.
Over60: What is your best writing tip?
Tricia Stringer: The best writing tip I received and that I always pass on is to write every day and if you can’t, at least write regularly. Make it a habit.
What book do you think more people should read?
Mine of course! That aside there are so many wonderful books and as long as people are reading, I’m happy. I did enjoy Taking Tom Murray Home by Tim Slee. It’s a moving contemporary rural Australian story, full of highs and lows and underpinned by the importance of community in our lives.
How have the places you travelled to influenced your writing?
Setting is very important to my stories and it’s imperative to get it right so the places I’ve lived in, holidayed in, travelled through, experienced in any way, have had a great impact on my writing. I like to spend time in a place, ‘listen’ to what it’s telling me about the people and the lifestyle, what’s good and what’s not so.
What was the last book that made you laugh?
Tricky question, I seem to have been reading a lot of crime or domestic thrillers lately. I recently enjoyed Just One Wish by Rachael Johns and while the story is a contemporary family drama and tackles some serious issues facing women in the current day, the interactions between the main characters spread across three generations often included a clever sprinkle of humour that made me chuckle.
What does your writing routine look like?
When I work on a first draft, I start work at eight in the morning and aim to write two thousand words, five days a week. I do my best to stick to that… however, I am a procrastinator.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I don’t believe in it. If the words don’t flow it usually means a break is needed, a change of scene, time to think and then I’m off writing again. Finding a way to overcome what’s stopping the creative process is the trick.
Which author, deceased or living, would you most like to have dinner with?
There are so many. I’m a big fan of Monica McInerney. We do catch up from time to time, but we live in two different countries so it’s a long time since we had dinner. I’d love to do it again.
What trope grinds your gears? Alternatively, is there a cliché that you can’t help but love?
If a story is well written is doesn’t matter what the trope is. I like stories that leave me with hope, where good people prevail, and have happy-for-now endings. This may be considered cliché but I never tire of it.