60 seconds with Nikki Gemmell

We caught up with the bestselling Sydney-based author (you’ll remember her from The Bride Stripped Bare) about her new book and where she finds inspo.
By Grace Jennings-Edquist

When writing a book, do you plan out every chapter before you begin or just start and see what happens?
Plan and plot. I used to just go for it, but would lose my way.

What are you reading now?
Poetry, which is my tuning fork when I write fiction. Anne Carson, Judith Wright, Les Murray. I’m deep into a novel so don’t like getting sidelined by other novelist’s voices as I’m working.

Tell us about your new book.
My own book, After, which was published in March. It’s about the complicated relationship with my mother, who euthanised herself after years of chronic pain. It’s like a detective story, beginning with a body and working backwards from there. It  released me from a knot of anger I’d held at the core of my life, for decades. I am learning to live without anger, thanks to the balming writing process – it’s liberating and exhilarating. I feel like a new person.

You’re two chapters into reading a book and you’re not drawn in. Do you push forward, or put the book down and find something that you’re more instantly interested in?
Always put down. Working mum. Four kids. Swamped. No time to linger.

After (Harper Collins, 29.99 AUD) is out now.

Twitter/@NikkiGemmell with digital artwork by Grace Jennings-Edquist