Camille Gower: Your writing has been featured in The Griffith Review and Kinfolk magazine, and your novel Floundering was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. At what point in your life did you realise that you might be able to make a career out of your passion for writing?
Romy Ash: Careers are funny things. Do I have one? Am I a Writer with a capital W? I just always wanted to write. I enjoy it, it's the only thing I'm good at. Maybe some people have a lot of choice, do a lot of umming and ahhhing about their careers. But I'm happy with this one thing.
CG: Do you have any “writing rituals” that you perform to get the creative writing juices flowing (like reading poetry in a hot bath)? Was it an easy hop, skip and jump into the world of writing or did you face some setbacks?
RA: Reading poetry in a hot bath! I'm not one for baths, but I do like to write immediately upon waking. Cup of coffee and straight to it. That's about the only ritual I have.
CG: What are some of the hints that you wish you’d been given as an emerging writer?
RA: First day of university, our class was told we would never earn a living from writing. I think it was meant to scare us, but scare us into what? Abandoning our degrees? Abandoning our writing? Here's some advice: don't listen to advice, especially if it's out of the mouth of a cynical old crony.
CG: Have you ever had any of your work really brutally rejected?
RA: Often. It wasn't good enough. It needed to be rejected. Floundering was rejected across the board when I first sent it out, but I got some great feedback from editors and I rewrote the hell out of the next draft. Rejection is encouraging, it means someone has read your work and thought about it.
CG: Do you have any tips for a writer trying to break into the Australian writing scene?
RA: Be persistent.
Romy Ash will host a forum on Writing about Food: 'Nom Nom Nomenclature', Saturday 1 June, 12-1pm, Convent Community Room, Abbotsford.