Ten Terrifying Questions with Kylie Kaden!

by |May 30, 2022
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Kylie Kaden has an honours degree in psychology, was a columnist at My Child Magazine, and now works in the disability sector. She knew writing was in her blood from a young age when she snuck onto her brother’s Commodore 64 to invent stories as a child. Raised in Queensland, she spent holidays camping with her family on the Sunshine Coast. With a surfer-lawyer for a husband and three spirited sons, Kylie can typically be found venting the day’s thoughts on her laptop, sometimes in the laundry so she can’t be found. Kylie is the author of Losing Kate (2014), Missing You (2015) and The Day the Lies Began (2019). One of Us is her fourth novel.

Today, Kylie Kaden is on the blog to take on our Ten Terrifying Questions! Read on …

Kylie Kaden

Kylie Kaden

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

I was born and raised in Arana Hills in Brisbane – which is where I nurtured my love of stories (and inner bogan). I had a curiosity about the human condition, which I quenched by studying Psych at QUT and USQ in Toowoomba. Many of my books are set in the Sunshine State (where I still call home) – and I have a particular fondness of small coastal towns that are seething with secrets.

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

At twelve, I wanted to be Kylie Minogue. By eighteen, I’d accepted I was too tall and talentless as a performer, so I decided to be a barrister like the unstoppable women on LA Law because they wore power suits and argued a lot. At thirty, I had an absconding toddler and I wanted to be anyone that could use the bathroom without a child on their lap.

It was around then that I had the arrogance to think just maybe I had enough life experience to have something to say, and that led me to my favourite thing – writing.

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

That I would be the perfect parent whose child would never be unruly in public doing things like kicking seats on planes and carrying-on like a Pork-Chop.

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?

As a teen, the legend Marian Keyes signed my copy of Watermelon and when I told her I was thinking of writing a book she said with her Irish lilt, ‘don’t think, just start.’ It took me twenty years to follow her advice, but I am grateful for it and that book. I was also inspired by Brisbane bands such as Powderfinger and Savage Garden, that made it on the world stage after being raised in little Bris Vegas, like me. Thirdly, I loved the Clive Owen/Julia Roberts movie Closer, that dissected relationships on such an intimate level from various perspectives with astounding honesty. I wanted to strive for that in my own writing.

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

Total control, working alone at my own pace, adding a drop to the river of stories that everyone can tap into across the world at any time.

Books can take you places when you have to stay where you are – you can read books on a plane, on a bus, on a train. Books are the most accessible form of art, and have the power to make you feel less alone in the world.

‘I also hope it would make it clear that we never really know what happens behind closed doors … and to remember that when we compare our own reality with the curated version others project to the world.’

6. Please tell us about your latest novel!

One of Us is a rather darkly funny depiction of imperfection in a perfect suburb.

The official blurb will tell you it’s about a few rich people behaving badly. That the neighbours living in the gated community are appalled at what played out behind the tall hedges, and in their struggle to work out what really happened that rainy afternoon, one by one, the neighbours’ dirty secrets are exposed.

But beneath that mystery, One of Us explores friendship and family. In the murkiness of their roles as mothers and wives, two unlikely friends, Gertie and Rachael bond over common ground and discover they’d both lost sight of their own selves (for very different reasons). It explores how three mothers balance protecting their children with ensuring their kids, and they themselves, take responsibility for their choices.

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

I would hope a female reader would feel more empowered, less judged, and motivated to keep sight of the cornerstones of herself as a unique person, and not just be recognisable in her role as a wife, a mother, or partner.
I also hope it would make it clear that we never really know what happens behind closed doors … and to remember that when we compare our own reality with the curated version others project to the world.

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

I admire writers such as Liane Moriarty, Sally Hepworth, Jojo Moyes and Marian Keyes who make exploring important topics so accessible and entertaining. These writers pivot from intensely emotional turmoil to whip-sharp observations of the human condition that have me laughing and crying all on the same page. Legends, all.

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

Perhaps I need to raise the bar, but I’ve always found it an absolute privilege to make things up for a living – continuing to connect with readers who breathe life into my imaginary friends is a total buzz. I started writing when on maternity leave with my third son and this creative outlet kept me sane through house-bound, long days of parenting when it was just too hard to find 4 pairs of matching socks just to get the circus on the road.

I’ve already surpassed my expectations – being translated, accessible on audiobook, and presenting at major festivals such as the BWF. I’d be stoked to have more of the same. Plus, being published legitimises the time I spend writing (which gets me out of a lot of dishes). Win, win!

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

If you love it, be tenacious. If you yearn to share your work, if only for a sense of validation, keep going. Writing is rewriting. Published writers have one thing in common – they never gave up. Don’t be afraid to write badly – you can (and will) edit and it keeps things ticking along. Don’t be scared to put a little of yourself in your work – readers yearn for that authenticity. Being yourself is easy!

Don’t judge your success by your published status or sales records. You are a writer if you write. Evaluate your success by the intrinsic feeling it invokes, and the connection you make with your readers. That is gold.

One of Us by Kylie Kaden (Pantera Press) is out now.

One of Usby Kylie Kaden

One of Us

by Kylie Kaden

Behind the tall hedges of the affluent, gated community of Apple Tree Creek, not all is as it seems …

Out of the blue, Gertie's husband decides they need a break and he's leaving her with their three children. Two streets east and three gardens down, successful businesswoman Rachael discovers her husband has cheated on her – again – even though she's pregnant with his third child. Thrown together by a chance encounter, the two women bond over the shared disaster that is their marriages...

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