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Nova Weetman wrote her first book at 12. A dystopian story about jelly eating, it’s predictably unpublished. From there, she honed her story writing skills in the world of film and TV, before returning to the thing she loves most – writing prose. Now she writes YA novels and middle fiction, and short non-fiction and fiction for various literary magazines and online publications.
I was born in Melbourne, but grew up upstream in Wonga Park, a sleepy little place full of orchards, horses and the mighty Yarra. It was the perfect place to spend my day up a tree reading because nobody ever knew where I was.
Like most writers I’ve done a bit of everything. From slicing salami in a deli, to an official cheese taster to a publicist at a cinema. But for the past ten years or so, I’ve mainly worked writing scripts and storylining for TV shows like Neighbours, H20, Wild But True and various animated series for kids. Now as well as writing YA and middle fiction novels, I write non-fiction articles for Essential Kids, ABC Splash and Overland, as well as lots of other little jobs that are too boring and too varied to mention.
That’s a hard one because my books to date are quite different. And my next book is very different again. I think I’m most interested in playing with form and genre. The Haunting of Lily Frost is a simple ghost coming-of-age story told in first person. My next YA, Frankie & Joely is an intense friendship story told through five different points-of-view, but all in third person. And the Choose Your Own Ever After books are completely different again. The thing they all have in common is contemporary, real-world settings and strong female leads that are all trying to find themselves in some way. I like creating characters who are outsiders, or whose lives change in an instant and then have to find their new place in the world.
My first highlight was when I was 16 and an article I’d written about graffiti was published in The Age. It was the moment I realised people beyond my mum and dad might actually read my work. And it totally blew my mind. I think every time I have something published I still feel a little of that excitement. That buzz that your work, your words, are out there in the world.
I also love that moment when you unwrap your new book and see it, and hold it, for the first time. That feeling will never stop being a highlight for me.
Aside from my novels, I’ve had short fiction and short non-fiction published in The Age, Essential Kids, Overland, Mslexia, Island, Kill Your Darlings, Wet Ink, Mamamia, ABC Splash and Role Reboot and in an amazing collection of short film screenplays published through ACMI.
I’ve also written for various television shows, from Neighbours to kids series like H20, Wild But True and Buzz Bumble.
I’m passionate about encouraging kids to read and write. And, at the risk of sounding terribly ancient, to write using a pen not a computer. I’m also really passionate about creating interesting and strong female characters because I still remember what Harriet the Spy meant to me as a child.
This is totally embarrassing given the gender difference but throughout my teenage years apparently I looked quite like Anthony Kiedis from The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I’ve since had a haircut.
At the risk of sounding like my 7 year-old, sharing is something I still struggle with.
The teacher of one of our grade 6 classes told me he thought Nova was the best author we’ve had to visit so far. She interacted with all the students, and they were actively involved in the sessions – even the larger groups.
Nova was fabulous – we are definitely looking into booking her again.
We really enjoyed meeting Nova yesterday at St. Michael’s and she was awesome. The students (and teachers) really enjoyed listening to Nova as she read some of her new novel out aloud. She shared her fantastic journey on becoming a writer and her experiences with books and television which the students were interested in.
After the break, Nova ran some hands on writing workshops to focus on the ‘show, not tell’ technique, character development and using prompts for inspiration.
It was a pleasure having her with us and she was very inspiring.
Nova’s presentation was excellent. The students were keen to ask her questions about her writing. She was engaging, friendly and approachable.