Book: The Next Girl
Author: Pip Drysdale
What can’t Pip Drysdale do? This Sydney-based dynamo is a musician, actor, and the author of four bestselling books. Her publicity blurb says she “lives on a steady dream of coffee,
dreams and literature.” Pip’s latest book is page-turner, The Next Girl. It starts with our main character, Billie, a young woman with a hangover waking up
in a stranger’s bed in New York City. Awkward, just a little. But that’s just the beginning..
Pip chats with The Starfish:
Your kick-ass protagonist, Billie is certainly a woman of our time: doing what it takes to keep men at bay. Satisfying to write?
Very satisfying. I love Billie so much. I wish she was real.
Do you know anyone like Billie, and if not, how did you dream her up?
Nope, never met a Billie in real life and if I had, her secrets would be safe with me so I wouldn’t tell you anyway. On a very basic level, I think Billie is probably just a response to being frustrated by the way things go in this world of ours. An answer to the question: what if there was someone who didn’t just put up with that…
Did you think this is the kind of book women are after right now?
From the messages I’ve received, I’d say yes, it is. But when I sit down to write a book, I tend to write the book I want to read right now – it must be something that excites me and feels a little risky, even scary, to write. It’s a long-term commitment so it has to sustain my interest for quite a while.
Billie is a woman who’s very au fait with technology, did you have to do a lot of research to write authoritatively about her actions with phones and devices or are you also a bit of a tech-head?
I knew some of it going in, but then once I realized what I needed her to do next, I’d figure out ways to do it. Incidentally, this was easily achievable with a few Google searches and some creative thinking so update your privacy settings, people!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? You’ve lived all over the world, what made you decide to call Australia home right now?
Hmmm, talking about myself is my least favourite subject – but I can say that I’m loving being in Australia right now. Life just sort of conspired to bring me back here – honestly, it feels like that’s how everything in my life comes about – but I’m really glad it did.
You’ve had a fairly worldly upbringing; do you think this helps inform you as a writer?
Definitely. That’s not to say it’s essential in terms of being a writer – the only pre-requisite for being a writer is the willingness to turn up on the page day in and day out- but it absolutely informs the kind of writer I am, the sorts of stories I’m drawn to, and the locations I choose.
Every page was suspenseful: was it challenging to make it so, or did it come fairly easy to you?
When I’m reading a book, I need it to be exciting and fun, otherwise I stop reading. So when I’m writing books, that’s what I’m aiming for too. But was it easy? Hell no. Not even a little bit easy.
This is your fourth book; does it get easier to craft a novel the third time round? And do you like to keep challenging yourself as you go, e.g., “how will she get out of this pickle?”
The only thing that gets easier for me is that I’m more comfortable with how uncomfortable and messy the process can be sometimes. I have a lot more faith that I’ll get it done , even on those days where I’m not really sure how, because I always get it done. And yes, it’s imperative that I keep challenging myself, that is what makes it interesting. I’m not sure anybody could write a whole novel if they were bored.
No doubt you’re already working on your next novel. Will it feature Billie again?
Yes, I am. The one I’m currently working on is not a follow up but that doesn’t mean there won’t be one…. we shall see.
You’re also an actor and musician, anything coming up we can see you performing in?
Not at the moment – when I started writing novels everything else was set aside. But never say never…
The Next Girl (Simon & Schuster) is out now.