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Interview with Lisa Scott


When Lisa Scott returned from the Middle East in 2009 to discover all the jobs were gone, she decided to become a writer. Since then, her work has received several awards including a Qantas for Humour/satire in 2010 and Magazine Publishers' Association Journalist of the Year in 2011.

As well as her regular columns for NEXT and the Otago Daily Times, Lisa writes for North and South and NZ Life & Leisure. She lives in Dunedin with a large economist. Kindness and Lies published in 2014.

Typical working day?

Wake up completely non verbal, drink five cups of coffee while tidying house and getting economist out the door (he's a bit noisy). Sit down in my dressing gown and write whatever column is due soonest while hovering by the heater. Running out of brains around 2pm, I'll have a shower, get dressed then either move on to admin such as invoicing or pitching for work or leave the house in a manner very like fleeing to go for a walk or bike ride. I tend to read a lot in the late afternoon, putting words back in.

Three favourite books of all time and why?

Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

Cruel Heathcliff! At 14 I discovered this on my parents' bookshelf, hiding between the Footrot Flats annuals, and must have read it 20 times. Unfortunately, thanks to this brooding example, I would forever think a silent man deep – when he is usually just thick.

Atonement Ian McEwan

Briony's crime of selfishness and childish cruelty ruins Cecilia and Robbie's lives. As well as the saddest thwarted love story ever told, the book is a wonderful commentary on the futile art of the novelist: the idea of undoing, of re-imaging an ending, fixing something unfixable.

The Pure and the Impure Colette

Much battered and held together with browning Sellotape, found in a garage sale. It was my first introduction to the marvelous social satire of Colette, not to mention a discourse on the perils of falling in love with a much younger man. Cougars beware.

Which author do you admire most? Why?

Irene Nemirovsky. Because she managed to write at all. And because what she wrote was filled with beauty, pain and truth.

Tips for aspiring writers?

Don't give up. You'll definitely feel like chucking in the towel. Especially when people ask if it isn't time you got a proper job. Just keep at it, deaf to all advice, like Florence Foster Jenkins.

Most memorable experience at a literary event?

Talking about Travels with my Economist (about six months in India, which I hadn't much enjoyed by reason of constant groping, entrenched sexism and stinkiness) at the Women's Bookshop and noticing, half way through a damning indictment of that country, that more than a few of its expats were in the audience. Torn between honesty and the need to be polite, I lost all composure.

Three songs for the soundtrack to the movie of my life:

A Forest by the Cure/Jesus of Suburbia by Green Day/Throw your arms Around me by Hunters and Collectors

Advice for younger self

Don't marry that man, he's 90kgs of unwanted baggage. It's not love, you just feel sorry for him. Trust me, you'll know love when it comes around: it'll knock you on your ass.

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