I — in the sincerest sense possible — am fond of ghosts. I have experienced a wonderfully intriguing haunting in my childhood. I have my own little ghost characters, who I love to depict as grumpy tricksters (grumpy because they remember coffee and alas, can no longer drink it). I have stories, such good stories, that I won't share here as they aren't mine.
In short, I feel a rapport with Katya de Becerra who herself is a spooky soul: a horror writer, she co-edited my work for This Fresh Hell and later this year will publish a novel, When Ghosts Call Us Home. When she's not busy with her career in academia, she's signing book plates by the dozen. You can hear her voice on the Of Publishing Persuasion podcast.
Katya de Becerra. Photo: supplied
Katya de Becerra is the fifth in my series of creatives to take five questions.
When my creative process is stuck, I reach for... a book! Nothing helps me reconnect with my own writing practice more than someone else’s beautiful prose. Re/reading poetry and short fiction, in particular, are a great way for me to find my way back into my own stories.
The weirdest thing about being a creative human is... living a double life, of sorts! I work full-time at a university, where I teach and research, and only a few of my colleagues know about my parallel career as an author. Being an author is kind of like having an alter ego.
The most unusual object in my house is... horn-shaped crystal champagne glasses my grandmother gave me. I’m not sure of their exact provenance, if they were ever used, and how long they were in the family, but I love and treasure them all the same — maybe one day I’ll even drink from them! At the moment, they’re being proudly displaced in my home office. I remember my grandmother whenever I look at them.
I celebrate my achievements by... taking a day off! I work very hard and it’s difficult for me to switch off completely. Allowing myself a day of rest (no writing, no university work) forces me to go offline, read, maybe even venture outside and enjoy some sunshine. I also love sharing my good book news on Instagram, where I have my biggest and most engaged audience (including some of my dearest friends). Seeing people’s excitement for my books makes me so happy!
Something in the world that already exists that I wish I had created is... There are so many books I admire (Night Film by Marisha Pessl is one of my absolute favourites), and a part of me wishes I was the one to write them, but then they'd be different books entirely. I’m also a huge fan of David Lynch. I've been obsessed with Mulholland Drive since I first saw it as a teenager. But in terms of more ‘practical’ things, I’d say word processing programs are pretty neat. I type fast but still can barely keep up with how swiftly my mind is moving when I’m in that creative flow and drafting —I’d never be able to do that if I had to write things out by hand.
The Melbourne launch of This Fresh Hell is on 31 August 2023 at 6pm at Readings Emporium. Free but bookings are essential. Editors Katya de Becerra and Narrelle M. Harris will be joined by writers Eugen Bacon, Chuck McKenzie, Jason Franks and Claire L Smith.
The Sydney launch of This Fresh Hell is on 30 September 2023 at 2pm at Galaxy Book Shop. Free, with a panel, Q&A and signings with writers Eugen Bacon, Annie McCann, Chuck McKenzie and Claire Low.
Katya De Becerra's book When Ghosts Call Us Home will be out in October 2023.
A copy of Katya de Becerra's upcoming book. Photo: supplied