Ten Terrifying Questions with Helen Meany!

by |November 8, 2021
Helen Meany - Every Day is Gertie Day - Header Banner

Helen Meany is an Australian writer whose novella Every Day is Gertie Day is the co-winner of Seizure’s Viva la Novella IX competition published by Brio Books. Her short fiction has been published in three editions of the UTS Writers’ Anthology and performed live at Spineless Wonders’ Little Fictions events in Sydney. She’s been shortlisted for the UTS Writers’ Prize twice and in 2019 was awarded a Varuna Residential Fellowship in 2019. She lives in Sydney.

Today, Helen Meany is on the blog to take on our Ten Terrifying Questions! Read on …

Helen Meany - Every Day is Gertie Day

Helen Meany

1. To begin with, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born, raised and schooled in Canberra, ACT. I moved to Sydney to study art at UNSW and have lived there ever since.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve I wanted to be an artist who lived on a farm and who was also a vet. Why? I liked animals and making things.

At eighteen I wanted to be an artist who made lms and wrote stuff and played in bands who lived in Sydney or Melbourne. Why? Why not?

At thirty I wanted to keep making things and playing in bands and have an interesting day job and a nice house. Why? Because life.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you don’t have now?

That nothing interesting ever happened in Canberra.

4. What are three works of art – this could be a book, painting, piece of music, film, etc – that influenced your development as a writer?

From a very practical point of view, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is considered a classic for creatives of all sorts for a very good reason. Great for re-wiring your brain when doubts or creative blocks begin to pile up.

As for actual art works, that’s just too hard to single out specific works. Everything I’ve experienced has influenced my development as I writer in some way (Sorry, I know that’s a cop out).

5. Considering the many artistic forms out there, what appeals to you about writing a novel?

It’s just me, my laptop and my imagination.

‘I didn’t write it with any expectation anyone would voluntarily want to read it, let alone publish it but I think in some sense that’s the best way to write.’

6. Please tell us about your latest novel!

Every Day is Gertie Day is the first novel I’ve ever finished (had a couple of previous attempts – but ran out of motivation). I didn’t write it with any expectation anyone would voluntarily want to read it, let alone publish it but I think in some sense that’s the best way to write. It tells the story of a fictional museum that becomes the focus of a cult-like cultural movement and government authorities both seeking to control its narrative.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

That moments from my story will linger in the darkest recesses of the reader’s subconscious for the rest of their life — like a scene from a late night movie on SBS you woke up to that one time years and years ago after falling asleep on the couch, and to this day you’re still not sure if it was a dream or not.

8. Who do you most admire in the writing world and why?

Any writer who manages to get their words down every day while juggling normal life stuff, like kids, paid work and everything else.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Just to keep going.

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I used to think that I had to wait for an idea or inspiration before I started writing something, but I had it all backwards. Just start and keep going until you get to the end. Write every day.

Every Day is Gertie Day by Helen Meany (Brio Books) is out now.

Every Day is Gertie Dayby Helen Meany

Every Day is Gertie Day

2021 Viva la Novella IX Co-Winner

by Helen Meany

Nina is a tour guide at a small museum in Sydney when she is unwittingly drawn into a major cultural brouhaha.

At the intersections of art, politics, identity and representation, this darkly funny novella shows us a world that is weird, disturbing and all too familiar.

‘A fresh, funny and delightfully weird take on authenticity and the people who manufacture it. An utterly believable parallel world from a talented newcomer.’ Jane Rawson.

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