We chatted with Charlotte Nash about being a published author:
Can you tell us about your latest books ‘Saving You’ and ‘Paris Wedding’?
Both are romantic drama stories about women on journeys of discovery.
‘Saving You’ is about a single mother who teams up with three escaped pensioners to recover her son from her ex-husband.
‘The Paris Wedding’ is about a woman who gave up the love of her life to care for her sick mother, then ten years later receives an invitation to his wedding in Paris.
In both cases, the events are major turning points in their lives, and they wrestle with issues of identity, love, family and meaning.
What motivated you to write these books?
To be honest, I just fell in love with the stories. They came from a central idea that really interested me, and I wanted to see the characters work their way through to a satisfying end. I write to create stories that can readers can lose themselves in, find depth and dimension, with the security that the ending will be hopeful and uplifting. The kind of story that would be at home in a book club, but could equally accompany a weekend by the pool. When I know I have that kind of story, it’s all the motivation I need.
What kind of research do you do?
All kinds. I use a lot of internet resources of course – maps, photos, personal accounts, and articles. But I research “on the ground” wherever possible to absorb the feel and zeitgeist of a particular place. That usually means travelling to the places I’m writing about, especially if I haven’t been there before.
Have you ever taken a road trip in America?
Yes! I travelled to the States for the first time for a road trip which was research for Saving You – I drove from Los Angeles to Nashville in four days, then flew on to New York. It was quite a trip, especially solo! Great for putting myself in the shoes of my characters, and also for inspiring some of the settings and events of the novel. Not a trip I’d do for fun, but absolutely worth it for the story.
Have you ever attended a Parisian wedding?
Not as a guest, but we saw quite a few weddings in progress when my family and I went to Paris to research The Paris Wedding. Before anyone feels jealous, we did do it with a one-year-old. Not exactly romantic. That part I just had to imagine! When Paris turned on blue skies and beautiful spring days, it wasn’t much of stretch.
What did you edit out of this book?
My books get a lot of editing – that’s when the story really comes alive. In ‘Saving You’, for example, originally, I had several characters with a point of view. All those were removed in the end besides
What’s the most common myth about writers?
I think there’s many of them … one persistent myth is that creativity is illusive, with almost magical properties, and separate to structure and discipline. Most writers acknowledge that creativity is the product of hard work, not the inspiration for it. But still many writers talk about “flow” and finding this special creative zone where they don’t feel time passing. I’ve never experienced that. Like lots of other things, creativity doesn’t feel the same for everyone – you’re not ‘doing it wrong’ if you don’t fulfil the myths.
How is your PhD research into the neuroscience of reading going?
Pretty well, thanks! I’m through my last milestone and looking forward to submitting by about the middle of the year.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I actually think a little naivety was a good thing when I was starting out – knowing little about the industry and what I wanted from writing gave me the space to work out if I actually liked doing the writing work (which I did). I’m lucky I never had the idea that writing talent was something you had or you didn’t (because I certainly didn’t to start with). I just knew I had found something I wanted to work at. I think that’s the mental space you’re looking for as an early-career writer.
What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. He’s often dismissed as an “airport novelist” who wrote insubstantial thrillers, and the movie version and its merchandising didn’t really help. The experience of reading his books is quite different – there’s a bunch of deep thought there about the nature of science and people, as well as terrific writing. His work encouraged me to read as a teenager, and interested me in science, thinking, and the world at large.
Who or what inspires you?
Authors who’ve worked hard for many years before finding a wider readership, like Neal Asher or J. R. Ward. Very few people have a spectacular debut, and I’m not sure it’s good for the psychology of being a writer anyway. I’m inspired by people who are in the long-game career, and find that satisfaction in writing year after year.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Visiting my US publisher on Broadway in New York. Possibly a once in a lifetime moment.
What do you love most about what you do?
Doing the work, which usually means figuring out how to really make a story sing, and be what I wanted it to be. Seeing the book dressed up in its cover and on a shelf for sale is a fine thing, but that’s not my ultimate joy. That pleasure is sending back the manuscript in its final state. And hearing from readers that they’ve enjoyed my work runs a very close second – there’s no greater praise.
Do you have any plans for the future?
I’m working on several new books, of course!
About Charlotte Nash
Charlotte Nash is the bestselling author of six contemporary novels, including four set in country Australia, and The Paris Wedding, which has been sold in eight countries and translated into multiple languages. Her signature style features a lush sense of place, rich plot, emotive heart, and a body and soul odyssey for her characters.
She is an intrepid traveller with a lifelong love of new
When not writing, she is a connoisseur of beautiful baked goods, gourmet tea, and an eclectic mix of favourite movies (with special affection for multi-stranded romantic comedies, vintage Schwarzenegger, teen movies, and science fiction). She is a recent convert to CrossFit, where she now experiences less injuries than in her previous running habit.
She reads across the genre smorgasboard, including romance, new adult, women’s fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and really anything that looks interesting. Her favourite writers are Jilly Cooper, JR Ward, Nahlini Singh, Colleen Hoover, Liane Moriaty, JoJo Moyes, Neal Stephenson, Naomi Novik, Michael Crichton, Ted Chiang, and Kim Stanley Robinson.