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December 15th Podcaster/Author Stalker with Claudine Tinellis!

Claude & Shelley at the Masterclass National Conference

(Clare Valley SA - October 2019)

On my final Author Stalker post for the year, allow me to introduce you to the face behind the hugely successful Talking Aussie Books Podcast, Sydney-based writer, podcaster and lawyer Claudine Tinellis. So far my blog has allowed you to meet many of Australia's finest writers, and one of their best publishers. Now it is time to introduce you to one of the best podcasters in the business, and take you behind the scenes of a podcast series.

I first met Claudine at author Sandie Docker's literary lunch, at the Middle Harbour Yacht Club in May 2018. Both former graduates of Fiona McIntosh's writing Masterclass, Claudine and I had connected over Facebook but this was to be the start of what has become a truly beautiful friendship.

In November 2018 we spent four transformative days together at Vanessa Carnevale's writing retreat in Trentham, Victoria and it was here that I realised that not only was Claudine a fabulous interviewer of Australian writing talent, but also a beautiful writer in her own right. I have been honoured to beta read two of her manuscripts and I know that it is only a matter of time until she secures a publishing deal of her very own.

Claudine is a huge advocate for Australian writers, allowing them to showcase their talents on her successful podcast and promoting them via her social media platforms. You can tell from her interviews that she is truly passionate about the books she promotes, asking insightful and fascinating questions.

But she not only champions published authors. Claudine is also a massive supporter of emerging writers, myself included, beta reading and providing feedback to friends who have asked, always there to help work through a plot point and offer words of encouragement. I honestly don't know how she juggles all the balls she has in the air at the one time but she handles it all with her trademark grace and aplomb.

And now I am honoured to join Claudine, authors Sandie Docker & Cassie Hamer and another brilliant podcaster Rosemary Puddy, of The Book Podcast, as part of the organising committee for the inaugural Northern Beaches Readers Festival to be held in the Sydney beachside suburb of Avalon September 17-19th 2021.

So without further ado, I will hand you over to the lovely Claudine.xx

Q1: Why did you decide to start Talking Aussie Books and what is your favourite thing about being a podcaster?

A: When I began to listen to podcasts regularly, the ones I enjoyed most were those that included an interview with an Australian author. I loved learning about an author I hadn't heard of before and about their writing journey. And even if I had heard of them, I was interested to learn more about them. But I often had to wade through lots of content I wasn't particularly keen on in order to get to those interviews! At the same time, I realised that no one was interviewing Australian authors exclusively. There were podcasts dedicated to books generally, writers, women writers, writing craft etc. But nothing that was specifically aimed at showcasing Australian fiction. That's when the idea struck me!

What I have absolutely loved about being a podcaster, is the platform it gives me to legitimately pursue my passion for talking about books. What's even better is that publishers now send me books! This has been such serendipity for a bibliophile like me. As an aside, no doubt this has contributed to the longevity of my marriage (26 years in January!). Since I don't spend anywhere near as much money buying books as I used to. . .Win, win, I say!

(Ha ha too funny Claudine! Shelley.xx)

The gorgeous Claudine Tinellis...writer, podcaster and former about a triple threat!

Q2: What preparation is involved before, during and after a podcast?

A: I will only conduct an interview with an author if I have read their book (or at least the latest one they've published). So that's the first step. Then I do some background research into the author. How many books have they written? Did they have another career before turning to writing? Any other interesting tidbits that might relate to that author's journey towards publication. Those kind of things. I write a script of sorts for each interview which I use as a guide for our chat. That said, I have to be flexible and think on my feet to make sure I don't ask a question that the author has already answered during the course of our chat.

It might interest people to know that I try not to listen to other podcast interviews involving the same author around the same time as my interview, just because I like to bring my own impressions of the book and formulate my own question - so as to make it (as far as possible) an interesting experience for both the author being interviewed and myself. This way, I learn things I may not have known beforehand. And hopefully, the author gets to answer questions that haven't been asked 100 times before! Not always possible though.

After the interview is done (and this can happen up to a couple of months before the interview goes live - depending on the author's availability and my other commitments), I have to edit it. I wish I really sounded as eloquent as I do in the finished interviews. But since my comments are usually punctuated with lots of 'ums', 'aahhs' and my favourite word. . .'absolutely', for the sake of my listeners' sanity, I edit!

Oh - and I also laugh A LOT during these interviews. No one needs to hear that! (I love it when you laugh, it makes me smile...don't edit it out Claude! Shelley.xx)

Editing can take anywhere from 3- 5 hours per episode- depending on the length of the interview. (Wow! That's a lot of time you dedicate. Shelley.xx)

Finally, after the interview is edited, it's ready to go live.

Q3: Who is on your dream wish list to interview who is living (from Australia) & departed (from anywhere)?

A: Ooh, this is tough. I have to say that although I haven't interviewed anywhere near all the Aussie authors I would like to interview just yet, I have been so lucky to interview a few of my all-time favourites: Jane Harper, Michael Robotham and Fiona McIntosh. Honestly, if I didn't do another interview, I would be incredibly happy to have interviewed these mega-stars! The fact that they have uttered my name publicly makes me swoon with pride and delight!

But in terms of others: I would have loved the opportunity to speak with Bryce Courtney. I was a massive fan in my early adult years. Novels like 'The Power of One' and 'Jessica' were favourites of mine. I greatly admired Colleen McCullough as well. She would have been fascinating to talk to. Not only was she an incredible, prolific writer, she was whip-smart. A neuroscientist before she turned her hand to writing. 'The Thorn Birds'. . .<sigh>.

I was also a huge Maeve Binchy fan. Have read all her books. Loved that I could hear the Irish accent when her characters were talking. Made me dream of travelling to Ireland. Sadly. . .I haven't been there yet. But it's on my bucket list!

Claudine meeting Sam Heughan, Outlander's 'Jamie Fraser' at a Foxtel Event in March 2017. I am certain he would be on your dream interview list Claudine!!

Q4: What is the next book on your TBR pile and how do you get you through what must be such a MASSIVE pile?

A: Yes, my pile seems to get larger by the day! My next read is an unpublished manuscript I promised a dear friend I would review. After that, I will be reading a brand new book by Australian children's author Katrina Nannestad called 'We Are Wolves' It's been out since 1 November and getting rave reviews. Can't wait to get stuck in.

Between family, writing and podcasting, I don't have a great deal of free time, so I use what time I have reading instead of watching TV. I read most nights and on weekends. I also spend a lot of time in the car waiting for my daughter - taking her to extra-curricular activities. So, a book is my constant and utterly necessary companion.

'Mollymook Beach on the South Coast of NSW - my favourite place in the entire world. Mollymook is my home away from home. I cannot go there without walking on the beach with my family and puppies. Or just on my own. It's where I do my best thinking.'

Q5: Name a book that made you cry.

A: Sandie Docker's 'The Banksia Bay Beach Shack.' Sandie has a knack for writing emotionally harrowing stories. I still haven't forgiven her for killing off one of my favourite characters! (Love you, Sandie.😘)

I know I'm being naughty by adding another one. . . but if anyone hasn't yet come across 'Where the Crawdads Sing' by Delia Owens then here's me telling you this is a must-read. Sadly, not an Australian author. . .but boy, did this book make me cry!

Q6: How has interviewing authors impacted your own writing practice/path to publication?

A: This is an excellent question. I would have to say that hearing what so many successful authors tell me about their path to publication, about rejections, self-doubt, the inner critic etc makes me realise that it's all about hard work. What looks like an easy journey from the outside (ie an overnight success with one best-selling novel) is often one littered with rejections and heart-break. And what sets the successful authors apart from the ones who don't make it is tenacity and commitment to hard work. Oh, and bum-glue.

So, I've learned that there is no short-cut. If I want to be a successful author, I have to work hard by writing regularly, setting goals and working towards them.

'This is my office. It's usually a lot messier than this - especially when I am preparing for an interview or in the throes of writing.

I spend the best part of each day in here...surrounded by my books (only a fraction of them!), pretty things, messages of thanks from authors I've interviewed and motivational items (a girl's gotta dream).'

Q7: What do you love most about writing and find most challenging?

A: I love the way I feel when the writing is flowing and I am swept away in the alternate world I am creating. I love that writing a novel is essentially creating something from nothing more than your own imagination and a keyboard (or pen - whichever is your tool of choice).

What I find most challenging is combatting my inner critic who constantly tells me no one is going to be interested in reading what I have written! Oh, and the bum-glue. I can lose hours at my desk. So, the need to stay active is always on my mind.

Q8: Name one thing you couldn't live without.

A: I know most people say their families. But it's also true for me. I cannot live without them. My husband and three beautiful children.

This includes, of course, my three adorable puppies. Can't live without their furry warmth at my feet when I'm at my desk.

'My writing buddies: Billy (top left), Mandy (top right) and Minnie (front).

(I dubbed Billy 'The Cheese Thief,' after he absconded with a wedge of cheese one night during dinner at Claudine's. Shelley.xx)

Q9: What is your favourite drink? Coffee, tea, wine or…?

A: I'm a coffee addict. I have to limit myself to 3 a day. Otherwise, I'd be an amped-up mess. But those who know me well, know my husband and I have a fairly large collection of whiskies from around the world and indulge in a wee dram when the mood strikes (which is often 😂). (Cannot wait to sample more from that whiskey collection! Shelley.xx)

Q10: Can you recommend some other brilliant writing podcasts we should check out?

A: Writes4Women (Pamela Cook) and Words and Nerds (Dani Vee) are fabulous podcasts hosted by writers and avid readers. I also love The Book Podcast (Rosemary Puddy) which recently incorporated a fabulous segment on writing craft. The First Time Podcast is said to be fantastic too - but I haven't yet had the chance to listen in. I don't listen to many - due to lack of time rather than lack of desire.


What are three new releases you would recommend to pop in the Christmas stocking?

A: This is like being asked to name your favourite child!!

But if you insist. . .probably no surprises here:

Jane Harper's 'The Survivors'

Fiona McIntosh's 'The Champagne War'

and Trent Dalton's 'All Our Shimmering Skies'

Thank you Claudine for being my inaugural December 15th Podcaster/Author Stalker victim. xx

If you would like to find out more about Claudine and her fabulous podcast, you can find her here:

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