Georgia Madden is an interiors journalist and former features editor at Homes & Gardens magazine in London. She is published regularly in homes magazines in Australia. Georgia grew up in Hong Kong and London, and now lives in Sydney with her young family and growing menagerie of pets. Her debut novel, Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum, is out this month.
I wanted to write something fun, something that would make me laugh. Confessions is my first novel, so that felt like a pretty good starting point. My bedside table is piled high with all sorts of serious, prize-winning books that I fully intend to read some day, but really, at the end of one of those tortuous afternoons with the kids when everyone's sick or they're all trying to kill each other, all I really want is a bit of escapism. I like to think that Confessions will be that book for someone.
I don't imagine everyone will - she's judgy, stubborn and downright bitchy at times, which is precisely what made her such fun to write! But underneath all that, Ally is a woman who's struggling to adjust to a new stage in her life, and terrified she never will. She's clinging so tightly to the idea of the kind of mother she's meant to be that she can't allow herself to be the one she actually is. I think many of us have felt that way at times.
If I had to choose, probably the sandals. It's been so long since I've worn a pair of heels, I'm not even sure I'd be able to get my feet into them.
More than I intended. While I very conscious of not basing the characters too closely on any of the mums I know, quite a few of the stories we've shared - and those they've chosen to share with me - have found their way into the book. I'm praying they won't be too mad! On a personal level, I certainly found the first year of motherhood tough. Like Ally, I'd look around and wonder why everyone else seemed to handle it so effortlessly while I felt like I was drowning. And like Ally, I learned to lean on those same women and many of them went on to become my closest friends.
Not knowing where I'm headed next makes me incredibly nervous, so with Confessions I wrote a very rough plan for each chapter on index cards, which I stuck to a pinboard next to my desk. Writing out the cards helped me think the story through and see the character's arc as a whole. But, to be honest, I don't think I looked at that pinboard more than once or twice during the actual writing of the book.
I'd written about half the story when I decided to test the waters with the open submissions programmes with all the majors. One of them was very keen, but in the end it was a No. By that time I'd signed with my wonderful agent, Sally Bird. She listened to me bitch and cry that my life/ publishing dream was over, then dusted me off, and sent Confessions out to a few more publishers. Nero (Black Inc) came back a short time later with a Yes, and gave me six months to submit the finished manuscript. It was a blissful time -I was riding high on the wave of a real live publishing deal. I felt like I was living the dream.
Having a sticky beak into other people's lives is pretty much my idea of heaven, and easily the best part of my job as an interiors writer. But coming back home to my own 'work in progress', with its piles of unwashed laundry and trails of Lego lining the floors can be a little depressing.
I'm tinkering away on Ally Ver 2.0 and busy with a load of decorating features for House & Garden magazine.
I'd love to - Ally is such a fun character to write. I'd love to see her five years down the track when Coco starts school.
Too many to list. Elizabeth Gilbert, Helen Fielding, Sue Monk Kidd and Jonathan Franzen are some of my heroes.
There's the Mother's Day of my dreams, where I have a long lie-in, someone else cooks breakfast and cleans up, and we spend the morning strolling hand-in-hand down the beach like a perfect picture postcard family. Then there's reality: I'm pounced upon by an over-excited seven and 10-year-old before the sun's come up and forced to drink a cold cup of tea while listening to some of their home-grown poetry, we drive/argue all the way to a beach cafe where no one's remembered to book a table, and we all end up eating gas station sausage rolls in the car. But we'll all be together, so it will still be perfect.