Here at Olympia, we love hearing from our authors, getting an insight into their lives in writing and asking them what their advice would be to future authors. This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Bruce Nicholls about their book.
How old were you when you first wrote something?
As a 10-year-old Primary school student, I entered a competition requiring kids to write about the history of our small, harbourside hamlet, which was celebrating its centenary. My mother, a University lecturer and very articulate academic, coached me through the exercise (probably unfairly), and I won the competition, receiving a prize from the Mayor.
Did you ever aspire to become a writer?
No. That happened organically. It began with my first posting, as a junior diplomat, to India. Back then, all communications were typed and sent to Canberra by diplomatic bag. That required that all reporting, including my reports on trade and economic matters, had to be frugal and succinct.
Best advice you ever received?
I wrote a verbose paper on investment in India, running to several pages. The High Commissioner edited it back to three sentences, essentially saying that the Government was corrupt, the traders were thieves and we had a duty of care to warn investors about this difficult market. He called me into his office and said “Words are like diamonds. Each one is precious. Use them carefully”
What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Don’t over-think your mission or make it a chore. It becomes an adventure when you wrap a familiar routine around it, like a morning trip to the Gym, making it a daily delight. My routine is regular visits to Bali or Thailand, where I sit under a palm with cognac and let my fingers dance.
What did you find easiest and hardest about writing?
The easiest part is letting go - allowing language to flow … accepting that you will have to tighten text and grammar later … letting the creative juices overpower one’s natural penchant for ‘correctness’. The hardest part is the slog required to lend credibility to any fiction by researching and using real facts as the scaffold for your fictional narrative. But our generation has Dr Google and Mr Internet, while those who wrote before us must have relied on their prodigious intellect and general knowledge. We have it easy!
Is it faster to write a book or publish one?
My books took about a year to complete, with periods of sloth and bursts of creative energy. Once the manuscript was submitted, it typically took about three to four months to publish. I need to invest more time and energy in promoting my books and giving them early momentum.
What part of the book did I enjoy writing the most?
The last paragraph, of course!
Do you plan to publish more work?
I am a third of the way through my fifth book – my thrid fiction, featuring the same protagonist after my literary agent recommended I write a trilogy, as this would be attractive to publishers, book retailers and other media – like Netflix. My latest fiction began as an archetypical espionage thriller but morphed into a geopolitical, human-rights treatise, as my research led me deeper into China’s persecution of the Yugar minority. That should have dampened my narrative, but instead, heightened it, placing my hero in a miscellany of new, dangerous situations as he probes the dark world of a dangerous political regime.
Review Olympia Publishers in just a few words.
My first reaction was that I was placed in a queue - just another production input when I felt passionate that my work was not ordinary and demanded more respect. My work had attracted literary awards and acclaim, so why was I just a statistic? However, when production started and I began exchanging with each of the teams driving manuscripts, jacket design, marketing etc., I discovered a high measure of professionalism. For me, a publishers value is in its capacity to achieve distribution and volume. This remains to be tested.
Back to Blog