Posted by: Lisa Hill | January 26, 2016

Meet an Aussie Author: Gert Loveday

Gert Loveday 1

Gabrielle Daly

As you will know if you read my recent review of Writing is Easy, Gert Loveday is the pen name of Australian sisters Joan Kerr and Gabrielle Daly, and if you followed  the comments chat that ensued, you will also know that there was quite a conversation about writing duos.  Today, Sue at Whispering Gums has followed through with an article about literary couples, and I am pleased to bring you the first to feature a duo in my Meet an Aussie Author series: the authors behind the pseudonym Gert Loveday!

Gabrielle’s writing life began when, after careers in nursing and piano teaching in Australia, she moved with her family to Singapore in 2002. She studied autobiography, haibun and haiku online with the American poet Allegra Wong and had haibun diaries published in Contemporary Haibun Vol 9 in 2008 and several ‘small stones’ published in Fiona Robyn’s zine ‘River of Stones.’ Her story ‘Away’ was highly commended in the 2012 Grace Marion Wilson Award.

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Joan Kerr

Joan is a poet widely-published in Australia, the US and the UK. She has won numerous poetry prizes including the John Shaw Neilson Poetry Prize, the Henry Kendall Poetry Prize, the Woorilla Prize, the W.B. Yeats prize and the Dorothy Porter Poetry Award. A selection is included in Triptych Poets Issue 3 (Blemish Press 2012)

Gert has published three novels – and you get an immediate taste of the Loveday brand of humour when you read their blurbs:

  • Writing is Easy, (2013) a gourmet casserole of writerly ego, vanity, seduction, blackmail and death, spiced with a superhuman fitness protein and dollops of good red wine.
  • Crane Mansions – (2014) a novel about the redeeming power of cake, the novel Charles Dickens would have written if he’d had enough hummingbird cake.
  • The Art of the Possible (2015) in which meek Dr Frank Owlbrother takes on feral Oldies, political skullduggery, a sinister Russian professor and the seductions of reality TV in a quest worthy of his Norse saga hero Hauskuld Priest of Whiteness.

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So how does a writing duo answer Meet an Aussie Author’s questions?  Like this:

1.  I was born when Gabrielle said to Joan, “Why don’t we write a book together? It would be fun.”

2.  When I was a child I wrote stories about a place called Arrapamatta in which the ordinary rules of logic were turned inside out. People flew through the air and stoutly denied they were doing it, everyone had several identities, and battles were fought over totally insignificant issues such as the relative handsomeness of dogs. And I wrote a lot on the footpath in chalk.

3.  The person who encouraged/inspired/mentored me to write was obviously my avatars, Joan and Gabrielle. They in turn were inspired by the Canadian Freefall writing teacher Barbara Turner-Vesselago who taught them to let it all rip. Before that, there was Mrs Stewart from the Myer Library. I borrowed so many books at a time she had to tie them up with string. When I was ten years old she said my life that I saw as lonely and boring would be interesting to others if I wrote about it in my own words.

4.  I write in, at first, Singapore and Geelong. Now, Williamstown and Geelong. And at the computer, because the first draft is written by email, taking turns and passing the baton just when things get interesting.

5.  I write when the urge comes to write another book. Then for the next month it’s nothing but book. Sometimes I don’t get out of my pyjamas all day. That’s the first draft. A cooling-off period and then the revision starts.

6. Research is a lifetime addiction to reading everything and anything. G & J grew up in a house where books ruled, and went to the same university where they took Pure English honours with a bit of French, Latin and Linguistics thrown in. They love languages – Latin and Ancient Greek, Italian, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin and a teeny bit of Finnish. They’ve travelled a lot. They love food and wine. G has a fund of knowledge about peculiar diets and extreme body makeovers, and J about silly word games. What more does a writer need?

7.  I keep my published works in a huge cabinet made of elephant skin.

8.  On the day my first book was published, I had a nice cup of tea and a madeleine or two.

9.  At the moment, I’m writing stuff for my blog and a rewrite and edit on a Loveday-style YA fantasy Dark Pools of Selene. J is writing poetry and cranky letters to the paper about politics. G is writing a daily journal, a fictional memoir in which she’s called Dora, Life Stories for clients on a Palliative Care program, haiku and haibun.

10.  When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I a) just keep writing or b) go for a long walk.

If you want to know more about the fascinating process of writing as a duo, do visit  Guy’s interview at His Futile Preoccupations.

To buy her books, visit Gert Loveday’s blog!


Responses

  1. Thank you for this, Lisa. We were very surprised that you took any interest in us when we know your feelings about self-publishing. I guess we have to thank our American agent Guy Savage. At long last he’s earning his enormous salary.

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    • ROTFL, so you should be grateful to Guy, you’re right, I have very little patience with self-publishing because I’ve been caught so often by stuff that’s unreadable because it wasn’t edited properly. It was indeed his review that overrode those reservations, and I hope that my review will do the same for other readers.
      As a matter of interest, do you use an professional editor, or do you edit each other?

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      • We do have a professional copy editor but we are both grammar and spelling nazis so she doesn’t have to fix much up. She does do all the proper formatting though, and clear up ambiguities.

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        • I believe it’s quite an art, doing the formatting for eBooks, certainly there were some strange effects in the early days of eBooks, even with commercial publishers.

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        • See that grammar Nazi thing comes in handy. Watch out with those jackboots though

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  2. So pleased to see you featuring Gert Loveday. I went back and read your review of ‘Writing is Easy’, and it reminded me how hilarious the book is. ‘Crane Mansions’ and ‘The Art of the Possible’ are just as warm and funny. I can understand collaborative fiction writing on an intellectual level, but to share a whacky sense of humour and to make that work repeatedly seems another level of skill altogether.

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    • Hi Dorothy, thanks for dropping by:)
      I’m not a writer’s bootstrap, but I think I would find the editing hard. I mean, everyone finds it hard to kill their darlings, but having to negotiate that with ‘the other half’ would be doubly difficult, IMO.

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  3. As you know I am a Gert fan–although we are destined to have a clash of opinions on some things. I still have The Art of the Possible to read and I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for the mention.

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    • *chuckle* Would kind of reader’s world would it be if we all agreed about books?? More power to our respective pens, I say!

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  4. Haha, Lisa, when you said about to publish your Meet the Author I didn’t realise how soon “about” was! Enjoyed Gert’s interview muchly. Loved Gert’s approach to the questions, such as “I was born …”. Her tongue is so firmly planted in her collective cheek! What fun they must have as sisters.

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    • Joan sent it to me on Sunday, and I just had to finish a couple of formatting issues involving the dreaded HTML, best not done late at night!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh dear, Lisa, I’m trying to picture you as a writer’s bootstrap (not). Especially confusing as this blog is testimony to the fact that you are, yourself, a writer!

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    • LOL You know what I mean! I can ramble on about novels, but writing one myself, that’s a different matter! (I did write a non fiction book about Indonesia, but that didn’t involve plotting and characterisation…)

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  6. […] https://anzlitlovers.com/2016/01/26/meet-an-aussie-author-gert-loveday/ […]

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  7. How lovely to get to know you both a little better. I think we need to see a photo of this cabinet made of elephant skin…

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  8. Great post. I have Writing Is Easy on my virtual TBR. I’d like to get to it this year.

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    • I’d love to know what you think of it… I’ll be interested to see how the French ‘writing industry’ compares with ours…

      Like


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