Meet Laura Jane Williams. A beautiful, talented and strong woman who has had an incredible 2016. From becoming a regular columnist for Grazia to publishing her debut book, Becoming. Laura is a woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, tell her story and encourage others to be braver, smarter and bolder. We have huge admiration for Laura and as a supporter of #GOZENGIRLS right from the get-go, we are super excited that Laura is our very first interviewee of ‘Meet the Author’.
-What an INCREDIBLE year you are having Laura – Congrats! Can you describe the last 6 months in just 5 words?
Absolutely, totally, un-plan-able for. Nuts!
-Let’s go back to school. What did you want to be? When did it become ‘a writer’?
I remember writing a story when I was six years old, about a princess, and being so very, very proud of it. I jabbed that bit of paper into the hip of the work experience girl in the playground, who to me was the bastion of maturity but on reflection would only have been about 16.
I also remember in about Year 10, heading to double biology after a creative writing assignment in English and feeling like I was floating on air. It made every part of me come alive – but we did so little of it at school that the feeling of euphoria was quickly forgotten.
I didn’t rediscover writing until I was about 22. I started to think, “Yeah, I wanna do something with this…” but it took until I was about 28 to say not only “I want to be a writer” but “I AM a writer”.
Like, it had been in my bones this whole time! I just did a great line in ignoring it, and wondering why I was so damned lost.
-So, the question we REALLY want to ask…just how hard was it to pitch your book idea?
Not very, because I’d been working on the manuscript for five years, and the proposal for two.
I worked so hard that I didn’t even really hear the “no’s”, I just let my faith carry me towards the “yes”.
It’s like getting married, in that way. You can search high and love for love, but non of the “almosts” mean anything once you have your “absolutely” – and we only need one “yes” to find our happy.
I only needed one editor to get on board with what I’m trying to achieve, and I wasn’t in the business of convincing anybody. It needed to be a mutual fit. And it was!
Now if only I could actually find romantic love this way, too… do you know anybody?! 😉
-What tips would you give a woman who is ‘Becoming’ herself?
Trust the process, and know there’s no shortcut. Oh god, that there would be! If I spent as much time embracing the bloody journey as I did for ways to make it go by quicker, I’d be a much more evolved woman!
As it is, I’ve figured out that whilst the point of life is pleasure – it really, truly is – growth does hurt. That’s why they call ’em growing pains. So, leaning into that makes it all a lot less of a struggle.
-What does an average day look like for you?
I don’t really have one.
Right now I’m nannying part-time, because I need a steady income totally unrelated to writing so that I can sort of… re-fill my creative well? I know that sounds really wanky, but honestly, having a totally different side hustle to “making things” means that when I do sit down to create, it comes easier, more naturally… it’s just… better. So I take three local kids to school and pick them up, do homework and take them to swim class.
I write a column for Grazia so normally I pitch my idea for the coming week on the Monday, and write it on a Tuesday when it’s had the a-okay. I try to limit the meetings I have so don’t really “do lunch” with PR’s or other writers anymore – it’s too much of a distraction.
I’ve just started teaching again, with weekend day-long workshops – that’s my favourite thing right now.
-What three women – past or present – would you most like to sit and have cocktails with?
Do you know what? Genuinely, the three women I sat down with for cocktails last week. Like – my buddies, man!
I’ve met a handful of my “heroes” this past decade or so, and it never makes me feel how I think it will make me feel. Hope it will. Because holy heck if it isn’t true that we really are just all fallible, screwed up, humans! But, the thing is, is that I sort of like having heroes, and so I’ve figured out the only way to keep them that way is to worship from a distance.
My everyday heroes, my mates, are the ones I like to be down in the trenches with. Elizabeth Gilbert and Zadie Smith and Adele can stay on my laptop screen. That’s cool.
-Where is your favourite place to read?
Anywhere. Literally, with the right book it doesn’t matter where I am.
My mother has a “she shed” at the bottom of her garden – it’s tiny, but has a chandelier and a fireplace and big comfy armchairs – and that’s always a pretty sweet spot to get some solid book time.
-What book is your guilty pleasure?
No such thing as a guilty pleasure – come on now!
-What book could you not live without?
I mean, how long have you got? Zadie Smith’s “On Beauty”. “Revolutionary Road”. “How to Be Parisian”. “The Time Traveller’s Wife.” “The Alchemist”.
-What’s your 5 year life plan? Can you let us in on any secrets?
Ha! I don’t even know how the last few months of my year are gonna roll out, let alone the next five years!
I could never have anticipated 2016 seeing me with an Amazon bestseller, a news story about me going viral around the world, becoming a dating columnist for a national magazine, selling out writing workshops in literally an hour and half… like, any good has come simply from putting one foot in front of the other, best as I can.
SO. I’ll be doing more of that until the day I die, I reckon!
Read our review of Laura’s book Becoming, read Laura’s amazing blog Superlatively Rude here and of course buy her totally brilliant book here.