Hush, Little Bird is the fourth novel of Australian author Nicole Trope, who yet again takes us far out of our comfort zone to read about issues that you never want to find anywhere near the people you love. My heart broke for Trope’s characters in the two of her books that I’ve read so I was interested to find out a little more about her and her writing.
Hi Nicole and welcome to Beauty and Lace, thanks for talking to us.
Hi. Thanks so much for having me, and also for the lovely review!
What made you pursue a writing career?
I don’t think I ever seriously considered doing anything else. I did briefly want to be a lawyer but I didn’t do very well with law essays. I was writing stories when I should have been writing arguments. Once I dropped out of law, everything else I did was to further my goal of becoming a writer. I became a teacher so I would have time to write, and then I did a Masters degree in literature so that I could improve my skills.
Can you tell us about your journey to publication?
It was a fairly long journey. I found an agent for the first young adult novel I wrote but it was never published. Looking back now I can see why! It was too short and needed a lot of work. After that I just kept writing, entering competitions and sending each new work I produced to every agent I could. I thought about giving up many times along the way, but each time I did I would win a competition or an agent or a publisher would show interest in my work. I kept going until I wrote the right book and found the right agent.
What inspires your stories?
I am inspired by the real world, by the things I read in the newspaper and see on television and by events that make the news. If children and families are involved I am always interested. When I see or hear of something on the news I am always interested to know what goes on when the story is no longer on the front page. I like the idea of going behind the closed doors and seeing how people are really living with a situation.
Hush, Little Bird is your latest release, can you tell us a little about it?
‘How could she stay married to a man like that?’ is the question that really began this novel.
Hush, Little Bird is the story of two very different women. It is set on a prison farm where Birdy and Rose meet up after many years. Birdy immediately recognizes Rose but Rose last saw Birdy as a child and therefore has no idea who she is. In unfolding chapters we learn how the women are connected and about the man at the center of it all – Simon Winslow who is an Australian celebrity. We also learn why Birdy is so angry with Rose and how she plans to make Rose pay for her pain. When I first conceived of this novel I thought that Simon was the main character but as I wrote and rewrote it I realized that the women around Simon were more interesting and that exploring them would allow me to answer the question I started with.
Your books are very emotional and deal with extremely heartbreaking subjects, do you find your own heart breaking for your characters?
I really do. Sometimes I find myself writing chapters and crying at the same time and it’s then that I know I have created something worth reading. When I am in the middle of a novel I find myself believing that my characters are alive and living in the world. When I am finished I am always sad to let them go and so because I am the writer I don’t. It may seem strange but I carry on the stories for myself. Books have to end but my characters live on in my head. Every now and again I visit them and make sure they are doing well.(This is a very dangerous thing to tell your readers, you will have people emailing to check in on how they are all doing…. I know there’s a couple I would like to know what happened next for.)
Where is your favourite place to write?
I have a small space at the top of my house where I have an eighties glass desk that is so unattractive it’s almost attractive. Sometimes I dream of a beautiful office space with shelves of books and a view of the garden but for now when I go upstairs I know that I am there to work and nothing else.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process? Do you have an idea of where the story is going before you start?
My novels come to me in a series of images. Whole scenes flash in front of me and I then have to take the time to slow things down, look around and find a way to describe what I see. I usually know how things are going to end when I begin a novel but sometimes it will change. I am always happy to let a novel go where it wants to go.
What do you love to do when you’re not writing?
Reading is one of my greatest pleasures, followed by good television – I really miss Game of Thrones!
Are you working on anything new you can tell us about?
I am working on something right now but it’s a bit early to share. Watch this space.
What are you reading at the moment?
I am reading a novel called Cost by Roxana Robinson. It a story of a family affected by drug addiction. I am finding it quite fascinating.
Thanks for your time Nicole.