19 August 2015

Interview with Honey Brown, discussing her new book Six Degrees and upcoming events at the Melbourne Writer's Festival

Bestselling Australian author, Honey Brown
Thanks for joining me today Honey, and congratulations on the release of Six Degrees (6D) this month. I understand you’ve just come home from the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival, how was it?
It was my first time at the festival. It was lovely to discover how outdoorsy it is – marquees, green rolling lawns, sunshine, a truly “festival” vibe. One of my favourite moments was chatting with Jane Caro. We had one of those unexpected and terrifically candid conversations. (Green Rooms are good for that.) I also loved sneaking into the back rows of the other events and listening to the other speakers.     

What was the hardest part of writing Six Degrees? Were you embarrassed or did you feel vulnerable at all writing such a sexy and erotic novel? (I remember the sex scenes in Red Queen were just as HOT!)
I actually really enjoy talking about and writing about sex. If not for my obsession with fiction writing, I’d probably study to be a sex therapist. Writing a good sex scene is always a challenge though. The characters need real depth for the sex to be truly sexy. That’s always the hardest part – making the characters real and their responses real.  

The sex in Six Degrees is meaningful and sensual while still being racy and exciting and anything but gratuitous. How did you achieve this balance?
In regard to the sex being meaningful, I made sure there was a point to each encounter, and that the sex was an extension of the character’s personalities. And with regard to making it sensual and racy, that’s a tough one to answer. It is such a balancing act. There’s some trial and error involved, lots of rewriting and editing. It comes down to being careful with each and every word, shooing your vanity out of the room, and writing truthfully and honestly. 

I love that phrase 'shooing your vanity out of the room.' I read an article in The Age on 24 July where the reporter said you were a self-confessed neat freak. I also read that you have to tidy first before you can write. This is really interesting, can you tell us more? Can you describe your writing area for us?
I feel in control and calmer if things are tidy around me. There’s a level of practicality to it too – if all the housework is done before I start writing, I don’t have to stop to hang out washing or stack the dishwasher. I have two different writing spots, one at the kitchen table and one in my home office. At the kitchen table I have a great view out over the paddocks and down the driveway. In my office, I’m a bit more boxed in, but that can be a good thing. When I’m writing I like to have a selection of well-written books beside me, and if I get stuck, I flick through them and read short passages; a dose of clever writing and good prose kick starts my creativity.   
Honey Brown is reading
R&R by Mark Dapin

What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading R&R by Mark Dapin. I’m smitten. Mark’s way of describing things is incredibly unique. Every second line is a revelation. I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t kick some ass at awards time.

I haven't read R&R, but I've read two others by Mark Dapin and interviewed him here two years ago. Great Australian writer. So, tell us, do you have a secret indulgence you’d be willing to share?
I eat dark chocolate every day, but that’s pretty common and not much of a secret. …Actually, I do have something, but I’m all for people having a few private indulgences, and keeping them forever secret. 
Oooookay, moving swiftly along (giggles), so, what's next? Will you be in Melbourne for the Melbourne Writer’s Festival later in the month?
Yes, I’m on a crime panel and an erotic panel at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival this month, and both are on Sunday 23rd of August. Then on the 31st of August I’m at the Next Big Thing Wheeler Centre event, doing a reading of Six Degrees. And on the 3rd of October I’m at the Coal Creek Literary Festival. 

Wow, sounds like a busy few weeks. What do you have in the pipeline after that? 
At the moment I’m midway through my sixth psychological thriller. I’m doing bits and pieces when I can, and champing at the bit to get solidly back to it. After that I’ll be writing an erotic novel.

Oooh, I can't wait to read another psychological thriller, I have no doubt it'll be another page turner. Thanks so much for your time today Honey and congratulations on being shortlisted for the 2015 Davitt Awards for Through The Cracks, I’ll definitely have my fingers crossed for you. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Thanks for sharing Tracey and Honey. I was particularly interested to read Honey's approach to writing sex scenes as I think they seem to be something writers and readers struggle with.

  2. Thanks Deb, totally agree with you :-)


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