First, congratulations on winning the Young Writers Award with your short story, Dog House! How are you feeling after this?
Thank you so much! It’s all very surreal. I’ve been submitting to the YWA almost every year since I was 18. It was a shock to hear I’d not only been shortlisted, but had won. It feels very good and very strange.
Where did your inspiration for Dog House come from, and did the story turn out as you thought it would?
The story was inspired by Glenlyon House, a heritage mansion in Ashgrove. I went to school in the area, and even lived close by for a time. Walking or driving past the house, I would always peer through the gates, trying to get a better look. I began to imagine a story about a group of kids breaking in. When I started writing the first draft, that was all I was really working with. The ending became gradually obvious as I went.
Is the short story your primary form or do you have plans for a novel?
I’m currently working on a YA fantasy/horror novel set on Tamborine Mountain. I’m hoping to be finished by early next year!
What is your writing process like?
Slow. I’m very bad at writing a poor first draft, as is so often advised. I find that to stay excited about my work, I have to feel like it’s at least half-decent. Writing in the morning is the most productive, but to do that, I must first get up.
Who or what inspires your writing the most?
People and place. I’m very partial to moody, interesting, or strangely beautiful settings, as well as moody, interesting, or strangely beautiful characters. Sometimes a piece of dialogue will get stuck in my head until a story forms around it.
In terms of authors, my writing has never been the same since reading Maggie Stiefvater and Neil Gaiman.
What is on your reading list at the moment?
Since finishing Babel by R.F. Kuang, I’ve been raging to read the rest of her books. I’ll start The Poppy War soon. Currently I’m reading a middle-grade by Michel Faber (just to feel something after Babel’s ending). The book is called D: a Tale of Two Worlds.
What is the best and worst advice you’ve received as an emerging writer?
The best is to keep writing, keep submitting, no matter how many rejections and criticisms you get. As long as you’re writing what you would love to read, there’s someone out there with the same taste, just waiting for your work!
I’m not sure what the worst would be. Maybe advice I’ve given myself, from me to me: You suck. Don’t listen to yourself. You probably don’t suck.
Grace Hammond is a Meanjin (Brisbane)-based writer. She recently graduated with a BFA in Creative Writing from QUT. While her writing tends to skip haphazardly across genres, it’s unlikely she’ll ever write something that isn’t a little bit creepy. Her work endeavours to bring the Australian setting to literary life, using genre to animate themes of family, nature, and identity.
Interviewer: Maddi Clarke is an emerging Brisbane-based writer and singer-songwriter studying creative writing at QUT. Through her storytelling and songwriting, she hopes to connect with others by exploring and echoing the human experience. She is also passionate about weaving fantastical tales and building secondary worlds that reflect and critique elements of our own.
Editors: Suzy Darlington