Our April First Book Club title is brought to us by Margaret River Press. You Belong Here is the first novel from Laurie Steed, which follows the Slater family through marriage, divorce and its aftermath in Perth – three decades of one family coming together and pushing each other away. On a recent trip to Melbourne we cornered him to ask a few questions about writing Perth’s suburbs, characters with debatable taste in music, and returning home.

Further reading:

Read an extract from You Belong Here.

Read Ellen Cregan’s review of the novel.

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TRANSCRIPT

Meaghan Dew: Welcome back to the Kill Your Darlings Podcast. If you’ve been following along with the First Book Club, you’ll know our April title is Laurie Steed’s You Belong Here, out now from Margaret River Press. You Belong Here follows the Slater family through marriage, divorce and its aftermath – three decades of coming together and pushing apart. He’s not based in Melbourne, but on a recent trip down we cornered him to ask a few questions about the book, starting with the role the suburbs play in Australian literature and in You Belong Here in particular.

Laurie Steed: I think it’s an interesting situation in that suburban life has been a common thing within Australian novels, but there’s also been that regional discourse that’s gone on in Australian literature. And I know, growing up, I used to read a lot of novels that were set in regional or coastal settings and I’d often think, ‘These books are not talking about my people or my places.’ So for me, growing up in suburbia, I really wanted to write a suburban book, but not necessarily one that was incredibly gritty or harsh. I wanted to write one that illuminated the streets in which I grew up, where I was almost making love to the suburb I’d called home as a child. And I hoped I did that in some small way. But it was a real – it was a bit of a head trip to go back into that suburban space. And I think it’s a common topic because your childhood is so formative. So to go back into that space and think about things from a new perspective is often quite illuminating, because as a child you’ll see the suburb in one way, but then when you look back as an adult you see things that you missed the first time around.

KYD: So that specificity can be a really fantastic thing. Reading it, I don’t know Perth myself, but I could tell you had a lot of affection for the place. But did you worry that that very specificity would mean it didn’t resonate with people who weren’t familiar with that city and with those suburban spaces?

LS: My hope, I guess, is that – I know Joyce Carol Oates once said that the regional voice is the universal voice. And, having spent so much time in that space, this was my region – the West Australian region. I have pondered that question. A gentleman once asked me in a writing forum, he said, ‘If you were serious about your writing you would have moved to New York or London or Paris by now.’ And that seemed crazy to me because the city in which I grew up, Perth, is a city of conflict, it’s a city of contrast, it’s almost – a city perpetually covered in scaffolding – always trying to reinvent itself for the next tourist boom or the next resource era. So, for me, the city was made to be relayed, explored in fiction and for those streets to be illuminated like any other cultural space.

So, I do think there’s a hierarchy of culture sometimes. So the New York culture or the London culture or the Paris culture gets put on a pedestal, which is fine because these are amazing places. It’s just that, as human beings, we populate the entire earth, and I always spent my time – being born in New Zealand and then moving over to Western Australia, and all of a sudden I was in this alien landscape which sort of mixed the best of bogan with the best of a small town and I was awe struck but it almost immediately. And I can’t say I liked it immediately. And it’s only in time, having grown up around the people and seeing the people again, over time in different cities and different countries, that were originally from Perth that I realised that I had a big of a begrudging affection for this little country town trying to play big brother all the time.

KYD: From one sort of specificity to another perhaps, the time that this book covers is really specific the whole way through. The music particularly really grounds the experiences. Did you go back and – did you listen to these songs as you were writing the book? Are they songs that have particular emotional resonance for you? Or were they just ones that you felt fitted your characters well?

LS: I spent a lot of time in discourse with the characters throughout the writing of the book, and one of those processes was writing a specific playlist for each characters. I was a little surprised by the music they suggested and selected, because it wasn’t always something even I’d listened to before.

So Emily’s a great example, her love of PJ Harvey – I’d heard later PJ Harvey, but I’d never actually sat and listened to Rid of Me. I was aware of the cover, I’d seen it in CD shops. And when I listened to it, I kind of fell in love with PJ Harvey and I fell in love with Emily, because there was this incredibly rawness to it and it was like an antidote to the machismo of hip hop that I’d grown up with and grunge metal and things like that.

So, while there’s certainly echoes of music I enjoyed, and Alex’s love of Faith No More is quite common to my experience growing up, there’s also this fascinating process wherein a character like Jay says to me, ‘I love Lionel Richie’ and at first I’m almost like, ‘Are you sure?’ And my characters don’t lie – they’re there to be explored.

So, for me, the music – I guess it does date it to a point, but that’s partially the point too because Perth is a city that from about 2005 onwards, which is just after when the book proper ends and before the epilogue, started to become incredibly more cultured and more innovative and you started seeing small bars and small cafes come up in that city. So, prior to that point, it was dated – the city itself was a dated specimen of what a city could be, and then it suddenly grew up very quickly.

And part of me was a little bit bummed by that because I’d always had such a great adversarial relationship with Perth, it was my city of conflict, and suddenly I could feel at one and I could feel like I could belong. And this strange city suddenly felt cultured and it wanted to talk about books and all these new initiatives started.

So, I think for me, the cultural stuff was important to ground it in that space, but it was also a deliberate choice to say Perth at this time and place was a dated place and it’s worth remembering that time but also then moving forward into time and seeing how the characters grew up and how did that, too – and became a more progressive family too.

KYD: We’ve spoken about how you’ve painted a specific portrait of a place and also a particular time, but I guess we should also talk about your characters. The book started as a series of interconnected short stories, and it’s a book that’s in part about the strength of familial love and, specifically, the love between siblings. What is it about the relationship between these siblings, or even just siblings in general, that you found so interesting?

LS: I come from a particularly strange family, for lack of a better word, but a fascinating one nonetheless. So they’re all creatives. So my brother is a graffiti artist, my other brother is a horror metal musician and my sister is a blues musician. So I think on some level having four creative siblings has created this fascination with how we interpret the world, because there’s not greater difference you can find than literature versus horror metal music.

I guess for me I’ve read a lot of novels about families and they often had a single character protagonist as they saw the family. And I felt like divorce in a family is not a bullet, it’s a bomb and it affects everyone within the family. And once a bomb like that hits, the children reconfigure and they start to take on parental roles that they probably wouldn’t have taken on otherwise. So what happens is you have little brothers playing big brother and big brothers playing little brother and the sister taking on a maternal role sometimes. So for me I wasn’t so much interested in siblings per se as in how a group of siblings would survive and thrive eventually in the face of something traumatic or kind of catastrophic to them – their world ending to a point and how they come out the other side and not make the same mistakes in the next generation.

I was also aware that that sounded kind of heavy when even I was thinking about it, so I think music and the cultural references also lighten things up a little bit in that regard, in that – so often when you read stories of drama and intensity there’s no culture around them, which feels just bizarre to me. So, when I talk to my friends we will talk about the video game we were playing at the time when something happened, or we’ll talk about the first concert we went to – these things are as real to us as the gift that we got for Christmas on our twelfth birthday or, you know, the time Dad came home early. Our culture is not separate from us, it’s very much a part of our memory.

KYD: I think that’s a really important  acknowledgement that it’s not just the people we love and the spaces we love, but the cultural objects, I suppose, that we come into contact with. Your book takes quite a macro approach to writing about a single family. Rather than focusing on a single event or period in the life of the family, it does span decades. Often books might focus on one particular event and then they don’t necessarily go on to show ten years later, twenty years later, how that affects people. Why did you choose that approach?

LS: It’s interesting, because it’s actually a more structural answer than perhaps I would imagine, now that you ask me the question. So You Belong Here is – in its entirety it was fifty-two chapters or stories that covered over four generations of the family. And at some point I thought, ‘Are you ever going to finish this or is this just going to become this magnum opus that you use to bung up the sink. It’s just too unwieldy – there’s nothing you can do with that many chapters and that many stories.’

There was definitely an epic feel as I was writing it and I was aware that by trying to encompass the history of my short fiction into one sort of tome of a novellistic intent, it was going to be extremely unwieldy. And I also realised that in my own reading habits I sometimes just want a little morsel of something and I want to be guided by the writer as to what matters and what doesn’t matter.

So, as an editor and a writer, I’m all too aware if a story isn’t actually contributing to the narrative. So some of these stories I had deep in my heart, but I knew they weren’t a vital part of the generations I was going look at in You Belong Here. So some of them popped up as single stories and got published like that, so there are characters from You Belong Here in my standalone stories. And it’s possible I might return and look at the greater generations both before Jen and Steven and after, that involve Val who is in the last – in the epilogue. But I thought it was important for a reader – a time poor reader in particular – to get almost like a visual sample of this family, a sort of a mixtape of what they were all about at this time, rather than charting every specific event that, you know, occurred within that space, because life is a series of moments. It would be nice if life was this incredibly well formed, long narrative, but I’ve always seen it as these moments that come into our lives and they shape us for better or worse. So I guess I could only relay life as I’ve experienced it and as my characters experience it .

KYD: So Jay, one of the protagonists in the novel, is going through some fairly complex and heavy mental health issues. What were some of the difficulties you faced in portraying Jay’s illness?

LS: I guess in any space to do with mental health and mental issues, there’s one of compassion and wanting not to use his mental issues for comedic effect unnecessarily. There will naturally be a difficulty on the other side of that coin – so if you’re the sibling of someone who has mental health issues, there will be times when you feel like screaming, or making a joke, or doing something with that. So my intent was always to create a character that felt human first and foremost and happened to have mental health issues.

So the reason they’re called the Slaters is because ‘Slaters’ is an almost anagram of ‘relates’ and the reason why the institution is called Bell’s Lake is because it’s an almost anagram of ‘labels’. So there’s this real thinking about how human beings are and that we’re so quick to throw these terms out.

And in fact I know when I was working on the book, a couple of people said to me, ‘What exactly is wrong with Jay?’ And I thought, ‘I could go there and I could fill them in on all of that.’ But I don’t think it’s important in terms of reading the book and enjoying the book and thinking about how these people relate with each other. As I say, I could write a treatise on it if it would help anyone. I just think that he embodies a bunch of people I know and love and spend a lot of time around, so I wanted him to be a part of the family with all his foibles.

And I also wanted to, in some way, suggest that of all the family there are times when it feels like he’s the most sane out of any of them, because a guy like Alex is really holding onto his feelings – he’s letting that really sink him. And someone like Emily is in that sort of denial space which isn’t helping her either. So sometimes to face the dragon head on might send you into a certain space mentally, but also I thought there was quite a courage in that as well.

KYD: The novel doesn’t resolve neatly, in the sense that it gives the impression that the Slater family’s life continues beyond the pages of the book. Was ending on this particular note always your intention? Or did you move that point knowing, as you’ve mentioned earlier, that there were later parts of this story, there were extra parts that kind of got brought back?

LS: I actually thought a lot about where I was going to end the book, and there were times when I thought might end it with Alex in the car, putting the tape into the stereo. The reason the epilogue remained is that I wanted to show that Emily had well and truly moved past the life of Dom and the sort of things that he had brought into her space. And I also wanted to give Jay a moment of having had a child with his partner. And he’d been so fearful of committing so I wanted to give them a little win to say, ‘Yeah, it was okay. Jay and Anna worked out.’ I also thought it was really important for that not to be the case necessarily for Alex, because that’s not the sort of character that he is. So I think there’s even a line in the book where Val asks her Grandpa, ‘Is Alex okay?’ And he says, ‘I think he’s okay, but you can never really tell with him.’

So I guess you’re right. There’s a whole greater narrative that continues with that, but my experiences in life with people I’ve known over years and years and years is that they keep showing up and adding another ending to things.

And I recently had a friend – and I used to tell this story about what happened the last time I saw him as an example of a story that didn’t end, it just stopped – and then he showed up again on the day that this book came out and wanted to have a coffee with me and he gave me another ending. So it’s kind of funny the way that life does that. You can never really plan it out too precisely.

So, for me it’s all about something that’s like life. And I know in the days of lyricism and fantasism it’s quite an almost antiquated notion to just say, ‘I want to create characters that are like people and I want them to feel like life.’ But I guess that’s why I write. Tom Perrotta said, ‘Some writers leave home and some writers go home.’ And I guess I’m going home and seeing what’s happening to those people in the house with the lights on.

KYD: You’ve mentioned that you’ve done editing work previously and still some freelance at the moment. This is the longest project you’ve gone through an editing processs with – I know you’ve had short stories and things like that before, but this was your first published novel. What was that situation like, getting feedback on something that you’ve put so much work into?

LS: I was incredibly lucky in that the publisher that took the book on, Margaret River Press, let me choose the person I wanted to work with. And so I’d already thought long and hard about the person I wanted to edit my work. It’s an editor called Kate O’Donnell who may well be some sort of magician, I’m not really sure – there’s something pretty supernatural going on with her abilities.

So I chose her, I thought she’d be a great fit for the work. And once we’d started the dialogue, I knew we’d be okay because she never brought up anything that was unnecessary to bring up. Everything she brought up she’d clearly thought about why she wanted to change it or what she wanted to do. And the other really delightful thing that came out of it was she’d call out a bias of mine if she saw it within the work.

So occasionally I’d drift into the male gaze – and I like to think I’m this sentient, New Age guy, but within the work occasionally I’d turn into a bit of a borrie, you know, the sort of dude making dude judgements on things. And she’d say, ‘What do you mean by that? What’s that about? Why would you say that?’ And it’s my characters, so of course they’re saying it, but I can still interrogate that and I wanted to interrogate that – and make sure that, if something was said or something was felt, it had some grounding in the character rather than the authorial voice coming through or even just that filling in the gaps that can happen in an early draft.

The nature of the male gaze is a funny thing because it’s much more dominant than I think most writers give it credit for. So the most common thing I find when I’m editing or assessing or judging a story comp – the woman character comes in, she’s either hideous and mean or she’s gorgeous and sexy and wants a bit of the protagonist. And that sort of stuff makes me break out in hives. So I was really grateful for Kate being the editor that she was and spotting even little micro-hints of anything like that. And so Jay became quite lovable I think through that process and discussion with Kate.

There’s a character Sophie in the book, who I had extensive consultation with Kate about because I wanted to get the tone right and ensure that the inclusion of Sophie was well warranted and echoed my own experience growing up. So we talked a lot about why that character would be same-sex attracted, how it reflected on my own experience growing up with an actress mother and a lot of gay and lesbian people around the house and things like that, and made sure it had an organic flow through on those characters.

So I found it an incredible experience, and I’ve had other experiences not like that. So I think with an editor – most editors don’t bring up stuff for the sake of it. They’re very good at what they do. And as writers, we should listen to them most of the time unless they really show an unprofessional side I think.

KYD: That sounds like a really fantastic editor to have, someone who will notice the unintentional things and mention them before they get to the stage that someone is mentioning them after they’re in print.

LS: So the other funny story about Kate is that I had a deadline to submit the book by a certain date, and I sent her an email and said, ‘I’m just about to submit the book and there’s a chapter in the book that’s called “Before a Fall” that’s set in an airport.’ And she said, ‘You know with “Before a Fall” you’ve spoken to someone in flight navigation, right?’ And I said, ‘No, I’ve spoken to a pilot.’ And she said, ‘You better speak to someone in flight navigation.’ So I then rang the air and nautical museum in Melbourne and I spoke to a gentleman there who said, ‘I know exactly who you need to talk to. It’s a guy who worked in Perth airport in 1982 and oversaw that entire area at that time.’ And I talked to him for around about an hour and a half making sure that we’d nailed every single bit of that down, and it turned out there were a couple of things that I’d made assumptions on and were it not for Kate it would have made it to print. And no one would have known, except for anyone in aeronautical studies and they would have been abhorred, you know, horrified that an author could make such a silly mistake in the field.

KYD: And I have no doubt, if it had gone to print you would have had the luck that suddenly there would have been a ridiculous amount of people with exactly that experience whose hands it fell into, just so you could feel foolish about it later on.

LS: Of course, of course.

KYD: It sounds like there were things that were changed, with very good reasons, through the editing process. Are there any things that you miss or you wish you could have kept but you did have to get rid of for the good of the story?

LS: Well, strangely enough, they were mostly the cultural references. So for a book so heavy on cultural references, I was still pretty brutal on the ones that were included for my own merriment rather than the betterment of the story. So sadly I lost these things called ‘spokey dokeys’, which used to be on BMX wheels and make a clacking noise as you went along. So I guess, getting back to that side of things, most of the things I cut were cultural things.

There’s a chapter called ‘Jay Begins’ where Jay goes to see a film. And the chronology was the biggest thing that Kate helped with as well. Because they were single stories, I needed to adapt the chronology to exactly fit the novel format. And ‘Jay Begins’ was this funny chapter that originally had Jay going to see Batman Begins, which is made much later than the story is now set, and it was a much more serious, kind of sombre chapter. And then I realised it would have to be earlier than that, so then it was Batman and Robin, which is an appalling film and had the comedic feel of it all. And then, as I was going through the final chronology, I realised that was also the wrong time signature for what was going on in the story. So I found an undiscovered gem I remember watching at the time and being mildly appalled by, which was Armageddon, which involves the now infamous scene of Ben Affleck taking an animal cracker and bouncing it on Liv Tyler’s tummy in a summer field.

So I’m a lucky guy to be gifted with a movie like Armageddon in which Jay can explore his thoughts and feelings. And that became this sort of – a pivotal point for Jay, really, and it’s ironic that such a serious, what began as such a serious chapter, was aided immeasurably by one of the silliest films I’ve seen in my life.

KYD: I think that Batman and Robin probably does take the cake for some of the silliest films that you could have ever seen in your life. I’d actually forgotten how up there Armageddon would have been in that list until I read that particular take-down of it in Jay’s voice.

LS: Batman and Robin is an amazing film. I re-watched it for the purpose – while I was writing, I re-watched Armageddon too – but I have to give credit to Batman and Robin. It’s like the fever dream of a madman. It makes no sense, it’s got the tone all wrong, and I thought that was important too. Because these characters – they’re artisans of sorts at times, so they make judgement calls on art and they’re indulging with art and they’re embracing it. So I thought it was important that now and then one of the characters – Alex critiques Faith No More in one chapter, Jay just doesn’t understand the film. And so the films are expressions of them too.

There’s this great bit where I think Emily says, ‘He wants to go and see Dark City, but he’s got no fucking chance.’ And it’s that difference in the siblings too – there’s this wanting to connect with your sibling through what you love and them looking at it like you’ve just made a mess on the carpet. It’s kind of a very deep and entrenched part of being a brother or a sister, I think.

KYD: I certainly think that the ‘How can you like this album?’ thing it’s – we’ve all had experiences where someone who we think we know really well has the complete opposite reaction to something that we do and we’re just like, ‘But have I been wrong about you all along? Like, how can I have thought we had so much in common when we disagree so utterly on this thing that I thought we’d connect on?’ So –

LS: And in dating too – I had a friend once who invited a guy back to her place. And she had a bunch of CDs that were the whole family’s CDs because she was still living at home, and he said, ‘Oh, I’ll just put on some music.’ And she went to the bathroom and when she came back he’d put on ‘(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!’ by Shania Twain! And it was the deal breaker – she was like, ‘I’m sorry, this date is not gonna work.’

And so I think music in particular is that kind of a thing. And then, funnily enough, over time if you build a relationship with people – I had a friend who took me to John Farnham’s 25th anniversary concert of Whispering Jack, and I can’t say I love John Farnham or Whispering Jack, but I loved going to that concert with him and seeing him enjoy it so much. So I guess, once we move past those early stages, you can forgive all kinds of stuff when you’ve got a meaningful relationship with a friend or family member.

It’s sort of – it’s a novelty of sorts. It’s still irritating, because people can be really irritating, but it’s kind of beautiful too that someone could, you know, pick up a CD single that you just can’t even fathom and go, ‘I love this. This is amazing and you need to listen to it.’ And then what’s left is to listen to and go, ‘I have no idea why you like this, but let’s talk about it.’

KYD: I think that then that piece – or the music or something else – takes on a bit of the characteristics of that person for you. A bit of the affection transfers to the piece which is – yeah, is actually a really lovely thing.

So, we’ve spoken about the editing process, how it feels to be going through that, some specifics about the book itself. Is there anything that you haven’t been asked when it’s come to interviews like this or in discussions about the book so far that you wish someone would ask about? Is there anything that you’re like ‘I’d love to talk about this!’ but no one is asking that question?

LS: Yeah, I guess, I like being asked about voice and about why I wrote the kind of book that I wrote. So there’s a sort of – there are different strata of lit in this word. And you mentioned this thing about including popular culture and that being looked down upon, and I’ve found that from time to time in various feedback for the book.

And I guess it depends on who you’re writing for. Because if you’re writing for the industry, then you might well just put on a beret – and, you know, you may as well get glasses that you don’t need and you may as well take that journey as far as you can take it. But if you’re writing for readers – for real people who want to laugh and to cry and everything else – there’s nothing more offensive you can do than to write a book that ticks boxes or that fits a box. Because the thing about other media that’s floating around at the moment in the visual spheres and everything else and even in music – I can tell you a number of times I’ve been blown away by what occurred in front of me and was deeply surprised by what happened.

And for me it was really important that sometimes I didn’t know what was going to happen in the book. So I think this idea of playing against type is really important and this idea of taking third options and doing different things with fiction.

So I guess part of being a judge and an assessor in various forms as well, is that you see these competent examples of work that do not take risks – they almost slavishly don’t take risks. And I think if we start doing that too much we start to produce sound but mediocre work. And I can’t guarantee that my book doesn’t fit a mediocre book either, but I do like the fact that I was about to take some risks with the form and play around with how a novel looks. Because I think if we don’t do that then we’ll start to be applauding things that are average to good and we stop searching for things that are really different in lit and things that encompass other forms of media too.

So that’s something that I’ve always wanted to sort of talk about more with writers in general. And our experience – and I guess reader theory versus industry theory or acknowledgment acclaim. Because the great artists, they weren’t doing market studies before they created a piece, they were just riffing and jamming and doing different things with the form.

So I don’t know, it might make me on the slightly isolated stream of writers, but for me it makes perfect sense to not do what’s been done before to some extent, because otherwise why would you bother? There’s enough good books out there, what we need are books that take risks and do different things.

KYD: In that case, what is the next non-mediocre thing that you’ll be working on?

LS: [laughter] I can’t at all guarantee that. Maybe everything that I write will be slightly – look, I think the thing about the sort of stuff I write is it either crashes or it flies. So the next thing I was thinking about, funnily enough, I realised how much grunge played a huge part in You Belong Here and I kind of wanted to back and look at the 1990s hip-hop and R’n’B culture, which I felt was the antithesis of it, but it was also so cheesy and multi-coloured. And I think there’s something deeply humorous about five sort of white Anglo-Saxon, lower to middle-class kids from Mount Lawley, pretending to be street and pretending to be tough and throwing out, you know, Ebonics and things like that. So I really like the idea, having walked through the family home, so to speak, of Mount Lawley in the 1980s, of getting out onto the suburban streets of Mount Lawley into the school and thinking about the way that school life worked and particularly in high school and things like that.

I have actually got two other projects already on the go, so I have to be careful with that too. But I have a collection of the stories that were previously published and some new ones called The Doppler Effect that’s nearly finished. And I also have a novel in progress called The Bear, which is about two amateur filmmakers travelling the world in search of the perfect film location.

And that – I guess the challenge with something like The Bear – You Belong Here was a pretty big journey and you start to see big journeys in your manuscripts before you even go into them sometimes. So I’m kind of like the kid in The Sixth Sense, only I see like, troubling manuscripts all around me and I go, ‘Oh do I want to go into that space? Am I ready to really face that troubling manuscript?’

So I guess that the only that would stop me making the next book The Doppler Effect is that is feels kind of safe. And the problem with not being safe is that it’s very hard to then be safe, so you end up going for the manuscript that’ll stretch you the most. But I think that’s good for the soul. Because again, there’s all kinds of safe things you can do in this world, but I’d like to see some graphs and data to back up that they’re incredibly fulfilling things to do as opposed to stretching oneself and doing something different.

KYD: Could you recommend us a book? How about just the last book that you really enjoyed or were surprised by.

LS: The last book I really enjoyed and was surprised by is a little convenient because it is another book by Margaret River Press, but I read it on the plane over and it’s called The Worry Front By H.C. Gildfind. Now you couldn’t find a more different book from You Belong Here than H.C. Gildfind’s work, but it’s really raw, gut-punch, unapologetic, take-no-prisoners fiction. It’s just – it was to the point that I felt uncomfortable reading it on a plane because would look across and see the titles or see what I was reading it in.

So there’s something – I can’t say I’d necessarily say everyone should read it, because some people are just going to get triggered to all hell by reading it. As a writer, I was deeply invigorated by it, because I could see how hard she’d worked sentence-by-sentence to blow your mind or to punch you in the stomach or to do things like that.

So I guess for me there’s sort of two mes. There’s the me that want to be taken on a journey and read an Eggers-like book like You Shall Know Our Velocity and really enjoy that kind of a ride. And then there’s the writer in me sometimes that really likes when my breath is sort of sucked out of my lungs by shock or subversion or surprise. And most of the books fall into one of those categories: the spiritual Steed versus the subversive, sort of anarchist Steed. So I guess Gildfind falls into the latter and another time or another place I could share with you a bunch that fall into the former.

KYD: That was the Kill Your Darlings Podcast. I’m Meaghan Dew and on behalf of the whole team I’d like to thank you for listening. I’d also like to thank Laurie for giving up a good chunk of his evening while he was here. Laurie’s book You Belong Here is brought to you by Margaret River Press, as is this episode of the podcast.

Our May book club title will be Julia Prendergast’s The Earth Does Not Get Fat, so get reading and come along to the event. It’ll be at Readings, Carlton on May 10, and I for one look forward to seeing you there. 

If book clubs aren’t your thing, or if they are but you need even more great Australian writing – and let’s face it, who doesn’t? – you should probably subscribe to Kill Your Darlings. Head along to the website and sign up. It’s cheap to access but rich with regular content as well as exclusive wordy member parties. Get at it. See you next time!