Nicola Moriarty lives in Sydney's north west with her husband and two daughters. In the midst of various career changes, becoming a mum and studying at University, she began to write. Upon the release of her new novel, she tells us a bit more about herself.
I grew up in a house full of babies – so to speak. While I’m the youngest of six children, my mother also fostered babies on and off from the time I was 2 until I was about 19. She looked after more than 40 babies in that time. Mostly it was short-term foster care, they’d fly in and out of our lives in an instant, but there was one little boy who we looked after for 10 months and it broke all our hearts when he left us for his new permanent home. Still though, I wouldn’t exchange my childhood experiences for the world.
Darkness and Light
I have two gorgeous girls who are now 8 and 6, but after each of their births, I suffered from post-natal depression. The first time around, it didn’t really get properly diagnosed, but after baby number two – my husband clicked that something wasn’t right when I called him in tears from the kitchen floor, begging him to come home from work. Now, the subject of depression often weaves itself into my writing. Also, just as an FYI, I’m much, much happier these days.
The Write Family
My two eldest sisters, Liane Moriarty and Jaclyn Moriarty are both highly accomplished authors. Is it a little daunting joining the ranks of such success? Yes, of course! But it’s also incredibly inspirational and they gave me the motivation that I needed to take my love of writing to the next level. Added to this is the fact that I have access to two people who have a wealth of industry experience and are happy to read my writing, offer feedback and provide support. But it is scary knowing that most people are reading my work with a certain level of expectation or even skepticism in mind.
In a parallel universe somewhere, there’s a version of me that’s teaching high school English. That Nicola probably wears boots and a leather jacket and thinks she’s Michelle Pfeiffer from Dangerous Minds. You see, I tried out several different careers after school (everything from marketing to admin to door-to-door sales and waitressing – I even started my own gift hamper business), but my longest job (prior to becoming a writer) was as a swimming teacher. I loved teaching, so I enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts at university with the intention of becoming a high school English and drama teacher but half way through, writing called me away, so I switched to a major in creative writing and never looked back.
When I was in primary school I wrote a letter to my future self. I told myself that I wanted to be an author and illustrator of children’s books (inspired by my Year Five teacher, Mrs Walsh, who had cascading curly hair and made a big fuss over a story I wrote – I adored her). I also told myself that cars would be able to fly by then and that by the time I was 25, I should have a big house with a dolphin fountain in the front yard. As I grew up though, it slowly dawned on me that I lacked the ability to draw, so a career in illustration was out of the question. I also eventually had to accept that the dolphin fountain in the front yard might look a little tacky.
Sex and the Theatre
Throughout high school and for a few years after, I loved to act. I performed in a few short films and several amateur theatre productions. Somehow, I kept getting cast in the promiscuous roles. I was ‘the other woman’ in Death of a Salesman, I was a French courtesan in Les Liaisons Dangereuses and in Picasso at the Lapin Agile, I had to change my top on stage, revealing a lacy black bra to the audience. Sure, I could have read in to the typecasting, questioned what kind of vibes I was sending out into the world - but the truth is, I loved every single moment.
I play on a surprisingly competitive over 30s women’s soccer team (something that I’ll touch on in my next book) – with a middle-aged coach who’s tough as nails and has the ability to bring grown women to tears. Okay, me. She brought me to tears. I find her kind of frighteningly awesome, though.
The desire for success
I’ve come to the realization that it will never be enough. For me, I’m always striving for that next goal and each time I think it will bring me satisfaction - for instance: landing an agent, landing a publisher, your first great review, your first sale, your next book deal, your first overseas book deal… You always think the next step is going to be the one that makes you feel like you’ve made it… but I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever have that complete sense of satisfaction. Then again, my dad once pointed out to me that maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe if I felt completely satisfied, I’d stop trying.
I’m sort of hopeless at fashion. I like the idea of shopping, but then I hate the reality. I hate the badly lit change rooms, I hate the 360 degree mirrors, I hate it when you squeeze into a dress that should fit but the zipper won’t do up. However, a little while back, I had an awakening. I discovered shoes. Shoes, I can get on board with – colourful, sexy heels. Funky flip flops. Bright pink sneakers. Next, I’d really like to discover hats. But I have never, ever come across a hat that suits me.
(Non) Guilty Pleasures
One thing that having depression has taught me is that it’s important to make time for the things that make you happy. Three of my most favourite things to indulge in (guilt-free) are professional blow-waves (as a frizzy haired girl, having sleek, shiny locks means I think I’m a movie star), dark chocolate mousse with vanilla ice cream and an episode or two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (my all-time fave series to watch over and over).