Publishing in April, You Wish is the eagerly anticipated third novel from Adelaide-based author Lia Weston. With her characteristically wry sense of humour, Weston taps into the current-day obsession with perfectionism. In today’s tech-driven world where our lives play out daily on social media, You Wish, is an entertaining, timely and thought-provoking read.
So, recently I was lucky enough to be able to interview Lia Weston, the author of an amazing new book, You Wish.
If you haven’t already got it on your TBR then you need to go add it now! Macmillan Australia were kind enough to send me a copy to review (review will be up shortly). But it is definitely a book that y’all need to read!!
Read on to meet the super lovely Lia Weston!
- Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I sometimes sleep with my eyes open.
- What inspired you to become a writer?
My father once said that rhyming couplets were the lowest form of poetry, so as a kid I started writing exactly that.
Words quickly bled into all other aspects of my life; I wrote sketches, plays and fake newsletters for my friends, drew political cartoons for a teacher I admired, and continued writing poetry throughout high school (though fortunately moved on from the whole rhyming-couplet thing). In between, I devoured books. I hated studying English, however, because it felt like analysing a text took away all of its magic and mystery. I never called myself a writer because I thought everyone wrote; it never occurred to me that there was a different way to be.
When I had the idea for my first book (The Fortunes of Ruby White), I had never attempted a novel before. The only reason I completed it was that I was determined not to be a person who had a half-written manuscript in a drawer somewhere. So I guess I was inspired to become a writer through my obsessive inability to leave a task unfinished.
- Describe your writing style for us in ten words?
Satirical, metaphorical, observational, obsessed with minutiae, and—I hope—funny.
- What is your favourite writing snack?
It’s a tie between corn chips and scorched almonds. (Almonds dipped in chocolate and corn chip bits? Oh, my God! Note to self: patent that idea.)
- What is your favourite book?
A pure comfort read: Anne of Green Gables. It’s one of the first novels I got my hands on. I fell in love with the small-town setting and Anne’s intellectual and poetic inclinations (and ability to mess things up). None of Montgomery’s other books have managed to capture me as much as this one; I return to it annually. (And I also found a brilliant audiobook version read by volunteers; Anne is perfect and Diana sounds about ninety years old. It’s unintentionally hilarious.)
- What book do you wish you had written?
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy as it’s a genre-defining piece of writing, plus manages to perfectly capture the beautiful restraint of British humour. Plus Douglas Adams and I both loathe bureaucracy; he’s a man after my own heart.
- What is one piece of advice you would pass on to aspiring writers that you wish you had known when starting out?
Spend far less time reading writing blogs—as you will inevitably come across a lot of contradictory information which will only depress you—and far more time just getting the words down on the page.
- Do you have any specific routines or rituals that help break through writer’s block?
My writer’s block tends to be triggered by the fear of letting someone down—the reader, my editor, my publisher, myself. It’s weird, but my fail-safe fix is to pretend that I’m writing for a specific friend instead. This person (she’s real, by the way) is a fan of pretty much anything I write, which is lovely when you’re terrified your work is terrible, so producing something just for her entertainment helps lift the pressure off. If I’m blocked by a plot point, however, I resort to movement—either a walk or by physically acting out the scene. You look like a berk when you do the latter, but if it breaks the block, who cares?
- Where did the idea for You Wish come from?
I figure most people have daydreamed about being in their favourite movie or living someone else’s life. I‘ve always loved the idea of being able to contact a company and say, “Can you put me in Die Hard?” and then getting some photos back of you on the iconic set—super high-quality pictures that no-one could tell were fake. Just think of the fun you could have with it. Out of idle curiosity, I looked to see if such a company existed, and found that it didn’t.
I also started wondering whether, given the opportunity, people would take this concept further and actually start modifying their personal history—not so much being in a film or band but rather redoing current photo albums to add or delete people, or creating events that didn’t exist. It’s a pretty slippery slope from, “I’d like to win an Oscar” to “Can you modify my wedding photos so I’m actually married to the girl at work who has a restraining order against me?” And what if it was your job to create these types of photos? What would the work requests reveal about human nature to you? What would it do to you overall? Thus the seed of You Wish was born.
- You Wish is about Thomas, who creates picture-perfect lives for his customers… on-screen. Have you or have you ever been tempted to digitally manipulate your life on-screen?
Let’s just say that for every selfie I post, there are about thirty which have been deleted.
- Can you tell us a little about your next project?
I keep my projects secret, sorry—not even my closest friends knew what You Wish was about until it was about to go to print! But I can hint that there may be poetry involved. (I cannot confirm about rhyming couplets, however.)
Never went to university but must have a graduation photo?
Want to see the pyramids in Egypt but don’t like flying?
Wondered what it’s like to walk down the red carpet at the Oscars or marry Chris Hemsworth?
Sometimes imagination is not enough…
Thomas Lash grants secret wishes . . . on-screen, that is.
White wedding gone horribly wrong and need to swap the groom? Never went to university but must have a graduation photo? Need to create a fake family for that job interview? Problem solved with expert Photoshopping and Tom’s peculiar ability to know exactly what you desire. Tom never says no, even when giving grieving parents the chance to see what the lives of their lost children may have looked like.
But where do you draw the line . . . and what happens when the fantasy Tom sees on-screen starts to bleed into his real life?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lia Weston is the author of Those Pleasant Girls. In between writing novels, Lia runs a bicycle shop in Adelaide with her husband, Pete, and also works as a freelance copy editor. You Wish is her third novel.
Image credit: Little Car Photography