Award-winning author Sulari Gentill set out to study astrophysics, graduated in law, and then abandoned her legal career to write books instead of contracts.
Born in Sri Lanka, Sulari learned to speak English in Zambia, grew up in Brisbane and now lives in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of NSW where, with her historian husband, she grows French black truffles, cares for a variety of animals and raises two wild colonial boys. Sulari also paints, but only well enough to know she should write, preferably in her pyjamas.
Find out more about Sulari at www.sularigentill.com and https://www.panterapress.com.au/book_author/sulari-gentill/
How did you become more confident in your own writing?
Writing seems to be 50% believing passionately in your work, and 50% doubt. I don’t know that I’ve become any more confident in my own writing, even after 12 books, but I have become familiar with the insecurity. I accept that it’s part of the process; I know that it will pass and recur and that I can deal with it.
Most writers have to learn to cope with rejection when they first start out – any words of encouragement for new writers?
Not really. You can’t sugarcoat rejections – they hurt. You can only try to remember that being rejected will bond you with your fellow writers in a way that only adversity and shared experience can. A rejection letter is your ticket of entry to a club that’s wonderful in almost every other way.
Do you find it’s useful to write regularly?
Not just useful, but imperative—for my own sanity.
When you’re writing a draft, how do you shut off your internal editor and keep going?
I don’t really write drafts, so I don’t ever shut off my internal editor. I’ve just tamed her, so that she works with the natural flow of words rather than against it.
Can you share any general advice for writers that has helped you?
Read your work aloud—it’s amazing what the ear will pick up that the eyes miss. And remember to hydrate.
Is it useful/important for writers to develop an online presence and help market themselves?
The best thing you can do to market yourself as a writer is to write a good book, and then write another one, and then another, and another. If developing an online presence takes time away from that, then it is neither useful nor important. My advice in that respect, is to do as much or as little as you want to, as you are comfortable with as a writer and a person. But don’t feel pressured to be something that you are not, online or otherwise.
How have some of you favourite writers influenced you?
I’m not sure that they have influenced me, but they have inspired me. Every now and then my name is mentioned alongside one of the writers I most admire, and I am reinspired to be worthy of that inclusion.