BRODIE LANCASTER: “I didn’t have any idea how to write a book”

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Brodie Lancaster is a writer, editor and occasional DJ based in Melbourne, Australia. Her writing has appeared in Rookie, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Jezebel, Vulture, Hello Mr, The Walkley Magazine, Junkee, Noisey and The Pitchfork Review. Her memoir No Way! Okay, Fine. was shortlisted for The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers 2015 and was published in 2017. 

You scored your book deal after being shortlisted for the Richell Prize in 2015 – do you remember what inspired you to enter?
I remember thinking the specifics of the Richell Prize were really accessible. It only called for three sample chapters and an outline of the full book. I was working a full-time work and freelancing so didn’t have time to write three fresh chapters, but I knew I had done enough past work that I could collect it into themes.

Did you approach writing No Way! Okay, fine differently to how you would tackle an article or opinion piece?
No, the exact same! I think the reason I could do it at all was because I approached each chapter as though it were a standalone article – just a little longer. I didn’t have any idea how to write a book, but what I did know was how to write a bunch of articles that I could collect into one.

How did you find your book tour earlier this year? Was it different to what you expected?
It was kind of a mini tour! I did an event in Canberra and Sydney, appearances at Melbourne, Sydney and Emerging writers festivals, and had a really fun launch party in Melbourne. Honestly I expected a handful of people to show up to each, and the fact that there were at least 5 or 6 handfuls of people at each exceeded that.

In your memoir, you wrote about your experience living in New York at just 21. Now that it’s been a few years, have you ever thought about returning there to work?
The thought’s crossed my mind, for sure! A recurring theme during my time living there was loneliness and isolation, and I now have a lot more friends and professional contacts there than I did when I lived there, so I imagine it would be very different to be there now. Having said that, that chapter of my book ended with me being very content in my life here and finding more professional opportunities to work within American media without having to live there, so for now I’ll just stay living under this conservative government with my friends and life and apartment and debt and citizenship status.

Has writing about pop culture affected your enjoyment of it during your own time?
Most of my consumption is based on my interest and enjoyment, but even if it starts there I might find something to write about within it. Recently, now that I’m kind of pausing the hectic writing cycle I’ve worked in the last few years, I find myself just digging through the internet to find writing on the stuff I’m consuming rather than writing it myself.

You are a very busy lady, writing books, creating film zines, penning freelance articles – tell us, what do you do to relax?
I’ve only just – like in the last couple of weeks – started to swim and do pilates, and I’m finding it really necessary to do something that I have to focus on. I can’t stare at my phone or answer emails when I’m in a pool or on a reformer. I love to try new recipes, watch youtube videos about beauty products and home organisation. I love jigsaw puzzles, doing my nails, going to the movies, and taking a book to a cafe or restaurant (Magic Mountain Saloon, Papparich and Primo are some of my favourites in Melbourne) to relax.

Who would be your dream person to interview?
I once just missed the chance to talk to Kim Kardashian, and would love the opportunity to finally do it.

We really admire your confidence as a writer, have you ever had to struggle with imposter syndrome?
I have! I’ve talked about it in interviews, written about it for Rookie, and cut a chapter about it from my book during the editing phase.

What are you working on at the moment?
Not a whole lot! I’m trying to feel confident saying that and not like I’m a lazy failure!! I’m doing more of those relaxing things I wrote about up there ^ and less of the “come home from work and spend every night and weekend writing and wearing myself out”.

What’s one thing you wish you’d known about the business of writing when you first started out?
How to talk about money in a direct and assertive way.

Follow Brodie on Twitter and check out her website here

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