Charlotte Wood - author of The Natural Way of Things

Author Q&As

Tell us about your latest book – what inspired you to write it?


At first, a radio documentary about the brutality of the real Hay Institution for Girls in the 1960s and 70s. Then I drew inspiration from current affairs involving the vilification of women in various situations; the medieval attitudes that led to burning witches are not gone, just buried deeper in the social psyche. But after that I freed myself from reality altogether to create a surreal, dreamlike world drawn from my own unconscious. 


Do you use your own experiences when writing?


Sometimes, oftentimes not. I use everything and anything I see happening in the contemporary world around me.


Which author/s or book/s have had the biggest influence on your work?


Too many to name. At the moment I am loving the dreamlike, impressionistic genius of Virginia Woolf in Mrs Dalloway. 


Do you have a message for aspiring writers?


Tell the truth in whatever you write – be bold, take risks, do not protect yourself from the pain of telling the truth. 


How and where do you write?


At home in my studio, a small room on top of a shed with a view of rooftops and a lane by my house where babies stop to have tantrums, old people to natter, school kids to smoke and couples to argue. 


Do you have a lucky writing charm?


Not really. For this book I had some grubby cockatoo feathers I found on the ground at my friend’s farm that I would run through my fingers now and then, to take me back to Yolanda in her wild state.


Can you tell us what you are working on now?


 A novel about getting old that’s not about the past. 

Photo: Tobias Andereasson