INTERVIEW: Jodie van de Wetering

grave-warnings-front-cover-jack-drewell-nov-2016Continuing our interviews with the authors of “Grave Warnings”, today we feature an interview with Jodie van de Wetering, author of “The Specimen”.


How and when did you get interested in writing?

Words have always been my thing, and I’ve been pushing them around on paper ever since I was able to hold a pencil.

There are two things I love about writing. The first is the freedom to create your own world, to tell any kind of story, to take the reader anywhere and share any idea, emotion, sensation – if you can dream it, you can weave it into a story. The second is the joy of words itself, playing with phrases and rhythm, the magic and mechanics of language.

Where did you get the inspiration for your story?

The location for The Specimen came directly from my travels through north-western New South Wales, when I was a regional journalist covering that area. It’s a very beautiful part of the world in a sparse, wild way, with great big skies and endless country stretching away to the horizon in all directions. You’ll often be the only car on the road so you get that whole sky, that whole world, all to yourself. It makes you feel small, and reminds you how insignificant and fragile we are. It’s good to be reminded of that sometimes.

From there the… events… of The Specimen build on that idea of humanity as an intruder in this wild, vast space, and that there are weird things out there that care not for our rules or logic. Things that consider us prey. If they consider us at all.

What was your biggest challenge in writing your story?

This story’s been through quite a few different versions over the last two or three years, as it’s bounced around different formats and potential homes. Those practical elements change the story itself – for instance the longer the story, the more structure it needs and the more defined the workings of the story world need to be to sustain it.

The Specimen started as a very short flash fiction idea where nothing was explained or explored at all, because it was all about that concept of things falling outside our understanding of how the world works and not being interested in conforming to our ideas or explaining themselves. It’s since become longer and the rules of its internal universe have unfurled themselves further.

Do you have a favourite author, and if so, why?

My favourite author depends very much on my mood. When I need comforting, Jenny Lawson’s books Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy get a good run. For lazy Sunday afternoon reading it’ll often be funny, bite-sized chunks like James May’s books of collected rants and articles. And for work, business and generally getting stuff done, I’m a fan of Seth Godin’s writing and ideas. But ask me again in a month, and I’ll have a completely different list…

Interview © 2016 Pencil Tip Publishing