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Episode 32

After double episodes of awesome author reads we are so excited to bring episode 32 to life with the astronomically amazing Nicole Kelly! Join hosts Veronica and Darren for discussions about the temperature of socks, why we love all things criminal and dangerous, previews of the latest book listings on the website and a whole lot more! Not only that, but this jam packed episode concludes with a wonderful and exclusive reading from Nicole so hit play and ignite your imagination...


What inspired you to write this book?

Lament is my first novel and is a historical reimagining of the Kelly story. I grew up in Wangaratta and Glenrowan, which is right in the heart of ‘Kelly Country’. We’d drive past the gigantic Ned Kelly statue heading into town and it piqued my interest in the story. I was the kid always being given Ned Kelly books as a teenager. I was mad about history in general, but always loved the tragedy of the Kelly story.

I ended up becoming a teacher and was thinking one day of important teachers in history and started to think about Thomas Curnow, the Glenrowan teacher who flagged down the train, and how different history may have been if he didn’t. I thought that would be a good idea for a book. I happened to be on maternity leave at the time, and thought that would be the perfect time to start writing a novel!

So are you related to Ned?

Since Lament was published, this is almost the first question that gets asked! Sadly, I am not related to THE Kelly’s. I married a Kelly and he has a lovely family, but they are not from the North East Kelly’s….I’ve made sure to check out the family history!

When did you first admit that you were a writer?

I wrote my first manuscript in my mid-teens and I loved creative writing in English, but I never really thought of writing as something other than a hobby. Even writing Lament, I thought it would just be a story that sat in the bottom of my drawer, that I would read to my kids one day. But about two years ago, I decided to get more serious with my writing. I started dedicating time to it regularly, doing some short courses through Writer’s Victoria and submitting to short story competitions and journals.

The other day I went into a bookstore and introduced myself to the owner and she smiled at me and said, ‘Oh you’re the writer!’, I swear I nearly fainted! Thinking of myself as a writer has been a big step. I usually say I’m a teacher and a writer. I hope that one day I might be able to just say I’m a writer.

What was your favourite book as a child?

I don’t remember any picture books being my favourites, but I loved being read Black Beauty by my mum as a child. As a teenager, I was obsessed with the Tomorrow series by John Marsden. I read all the books and then read them again! They were such a great adventure story and the characters resonated with my teenage self. Now I’ve given them to my niece for the next generation to enjoy!

How much research is involved in your writing?

There was a lot of research involved in Lament. From starting the first draft to publication was 7 years! In that time I relied heavily on the books about the Kelly Gang by Ian Jones. I also spent a lot of time trawling through old news articles on Trove. The thing I love about Lament is that the events that occurred in the novel, actually happened in 1880, at the time of the Kellys, so in my mind this could have been an alternative reality.

I also spent a lot of time reading through things like the Jerilderie letter and the court transcripts from Ned’s trial. I’m a huge history buff, so I found myself getting caught up in the research and loving it. While the story really is a work of fiction, there are many historical accuracies in there as well.

What’s the most useful writing advice you’ve been given?

When I started to get serious about my writing, the lovely Alison Arnold, who is an editor and worked with me on Lament, told me to keep submitting. She said the best way not to hang on to every piece of writing you do was to submit. I’ve found that really helpful, because it means with every rejection that comes in, I don’t get too disappointed as there are other pieces out there waiting for an acceptance. I try and average one submission to something each week!

What inspired your book cover?

Seeing my cover for the first time is one of my most memorable moments as a writer, alongside spotting the cover ‘in the wild’ on a book shelf. It’s an incredible feeling! We found the photograph of the Kelly Gang helmets on the website It was taken by photographer, Matthew Deller and we were so glad that he gave us permission to use it. The eyes on the cover are Ned’s. I love this photo of him; he looks pensive and defiant. It was the perfect fit for Lament.

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Click below to learn more about this author's spectacular literary work!


Twitter - @ruralvicwriter

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