Saturday, September 5, 2015

Born Supremacy

Three Sisters: 21 books; six international best-sellers; two Number-1-New York Times bestsellers and a multitude of literary awards..surely these authors were just born supremely talented.

This week’s author event at the Warringah Library was the second in my life.

The last author event I attended was  in 2009. That was Emma Tom talking about her then latest book Attack Of The Fifty Foot Hormones. I had a sickly toddler in tow, who succeeded in making it 'her'show, rather than the author's.

But this one I wasn’t going to miss: it was after-all the Moriarty Sisters!  <fanfare playing>

I adore them, not just as fabulously talented authors but also terribly nice women.  Especially Jaclyn Moriarty who is 50 shades of awesome and just so happens, used to be just my lovely next door neighbour .

I was told by the real estate agent who sold us the house;  “I think the woman next door  writes children’s books or something”. 

As I became friendly with my new neighbour, I thought I’d better take an interest and read at least one of her books; so during a week in Bali I got lost in Dreaming of Amelia.  
It was the most beautiful, intriguing and original story I’d read and I posted as much on Face Book. Immediately my Facebook page was bombarded with fan-spam, gratuitous use of exclamation marks and comments like ‘OMFG! Do you know Jaclyn Moriarty?!?!?’ JM? She’s amazing!’ ‘Oh , I LOVE her books!’.
There were more LIKE clicks than when I post pictures of the dog wearing wigs, and those are mighty popular (especially when he was Katy Perry).

Oh, I thought; seems  my friend Jaci-Next-Door is kinda famous, why am I always so slow on the uptake?  Well since then I’ve continued reading and relishing her books. And re-reading and re-relishing them. (I’m on my third run of A Corner of White)

Eventually I became curious about Liane’s books and Jaci recommended What Alice Forgot & The Hypnotists Love Story, both of which I read, feet up on the dashboard, totally shirking my duty to take some turns at driving the long way to and back from Melbourne.  

Back in Sydney I immediately downloaded The Husband’s Secret onto my E-Reader and did nothing else with my life or family until I’d devoured that one too.

So an author event with all three was not to be missed.
I text Jaci-Next-Door: I’m super super super excited: eeeeee
And Jaci being Jaci, never mind prepping before heading up to the podium: texts right back. ‘Nervous!’

It’s a fascinating and rare opportunity to hear three successful authors from the one family talk about their individual experience of the writing process.

Liane Moriarty apparently is a rough outliner. She’ll come up with a plot premise, adding bits and pieces of inspiration that  day to day life throws in her path, but still lets the story take its course. Jaclyn related a wonderful quip about describing to Liane her amazement at a twist in her book,: 'I couldn't believe when this happened',  and Liane responded; 'I know! Me neither!’

Jaclyn Moriarty is a planner: she plans her plot, her characters.  But responding to a question on this she told the audience for the most part her characters do as they’re told, but sometimes she might have to wrestle them back on track or occasionally let them wander off on their own.

Nervous she may have been but Jaclyn Moriarty is as charming and engaging speaking  as are her words on the page.

Mae West once said, “ Keep a diary, and someday it'll keep you”, and Nicola Moriarty’s latest book Paper Chains apparently grew from her own diarised (and blogged) struggle with post-natal depression.  

She explained how interesting and a little therapeutic it can be to take your own life dramas, your choices and turn them around on themselves in a big ‘what if’, to create a work of fiction that explores what might have happened.  Sort of like a Sliding Doors treatment I guess.  Like Nicola, I’m a diary keeper when times get tough, so Paper Chains is definitely next on my list. 

The next time these three appear on stage together, I’ll be there again.  Listening to the three of them relate stories of their family life growing up together is a treat in itself.  But the stories of their struggles to get published before success and the reality of writing fiction  for a living, is an eye opener for their fans and an inspiration for any aspiring writer.

I’m so very lucky to have that inspiration on tap walking back home from the school run and over the occasional cuppa. 
Jaclyn Moriarty, my very clever gifted friend, who’s taken more literary prizes than Venezuela has Miss World titles, will ever be in my mobile contacts as Jaci Next Door. 

It makes me smile to remember how much I liked her, long before I knew her last name.

If you 'd like to read more about these awesome authors:

Jaclyn Moriarty

Liane Moriarty

Nicola Moriarty

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