Welcome to the first in our exciting new highlight on debut author series. In this series we ask the authors of debut fiction (that we've absolutely loved) five questions on books and writing. We begin our series with New Zealand author, Ruby Porter, whose atmospheric and evocative novel, Attraction, is published by Text Publishing.
Ruby Porter is a tutor of creative writing at the University of Auckland. She has been published in Geometry Journal, Aotearotica, Spinoff and Wireless, and a selection of her poetry is available on NZEPC. In 2018, she also won the Wallace Foundation Short Fiction Contest. Attraction is the winner of the Michael Gifkins prize.
Why do you tell stories?
Sometimes, characters come to me. The longer they’re inside my head, the more they grow. I have to get them out on the page. And I just love to write. The process of putting words down, and the chance to play with those words, is one of my favourite things in the world.
Describe your debut novel, Attraction, in one sentence.
A narrator is on a road trip with two of her friends around the North Island of Aotearoa, but her past, and the past of the land itself, refuses to stay buried.
When and where do you write?
I write at home, often in my bedroom. When I was writing Attraction I wrote all the time – from ten in the morning until four or five (or later) at night. But I have slower periods too, where I don’t write so much. Still, the early hours of morning are always the best for me.
What are three things that sustain you as an author, or while you’re writing?
University stipends; second dinners; and my dog Pablo (named after Neruda) who forces himself to stay up while I’m working. But if I go on Facebook, he somehow knows, and heads straight to bed.
Name three books that you couldn’t live without.
The Gathering by Anne Enright, The Giant’s House by Elizabeth McCracken and Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong. My copies of these are dog-eared on almost every single page, and they’re what I turn to when I need instant inspiration.
What book are you embarrassed to admit that you’ve never read?
Struggle Without End by Ranginui Walker – but I plan to, soon!