Friday, November 17, 2006

Thursday Talk-time with Trish Morey

Adelaide author Trish Morey writes sizzling, emotional passionate romance for Harlequin Presents. Her latest book A VIRGIN FOR THE TAKING has been on the Waldenbooks bestseller list for 2 weeks running!

Writing is just like rowing – I bet you never knew that

Like most writers I know, I love reading. I love to find a great book, a simply unputdownable book, and get transported away with the characters, the setting and with their situation. I will fly through it, relishing every word, eating up the prose until, with a final sigh of satisfaction tinged with disappointment, the book is finished. Those books, those fast reading, page-turning, non-trip-uppable stories that flow like ribbons through your mind’s eye, they must be easy to write – right?

Wrong. As someone once said, easy reading is hard writing.

It’s like that with rowing. I used to row many moons ago, in single and double sculls, and in a four when I lived back in Canberra, Australia’s capital city. I used to head lakewards around 5am every morning and slap my boat onto the mirror finish water and row for an hour or more, covering kilometers at a time. But when I first started, I could barely balance in my narrow scull with its long fine oars. I used to wobble my way around the bay, too scared to venture outside, in case the worst happened and I was dumped into the freezing waters. A lot like when I started writing. I wasn’t game to send my first tentative words away to contests and risk being torn to shreds.

But gradually, the confidence to exit that bay built up, much as my confidence to send my work out to editors and contests slowly grew. I still wasn’t rowing well. I certainly didn’t have great technique and there were many a time my blade would dig in way too deep and I’d in rowing terms “catch a crab” and stop dead in the water. In writing I’d catch a rejection. Lots and lots of rejections. I won a few races as a novice sculler, and boy, did that lift the spirits. I won a few writing contests. I had great rowing coaches. In writing I had critique groups and fabulous writing colleagues.

I used to love skating over the millpond surface of the lake on those frosty morning, like a water insect darting over the surface and I did pretty well, actually made it to a couple of Nationals downunder although I never brought home a medal. I finalled in the Golden Heart, although the necklace eluded me.

And one day I worked out what it took to be a great rower. It was during the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games and I was watching a rower who looked so utterly relaxed and fluid as he powered his boat through the 2000 metres to win a gold medal. Just looking at him you couldn’t tell how much he was working, how much effort he was putting in when those blades dug into the water, how much it hurt when he rammed down his legs and pushed back, how much his lungs burned with the effort. He made it look so utterly easy.

And that’s the mark of a great writer too. Remember that last great book you read? You didn’t see how hard that book was to write, you didn’t feel the pain when things didn’t go well for the author, you didn’t see the blood, sweat and tears that went into its creation. What you read was smooth, fluid and seemingly effortless. It’s a worthy goal.

In November, as I work on my current wip, that’s going to be my goal. I’m going to dip my oars into the water and have a go.

Trish Morey's latest book, A VIRGIN FOR THE TAKING is out now in North America! Check out Trish's great review on the Pink Heart Society review page.

This year Trish won the RuBY award for the best Short Romantic Fiction novel in Australia!


  1. Hey you!
    Lovely to see you posting on the PHS site. It's been too long since we last threw red wine at each other;-) I love the rowing analogy, specially as I'm going through the blood sweat and tears bit at the moment.

    I loved A Virgin For The Taking and can't wait for your next book. Good luck with the next WIP - I'll be the one rowing right alongside you



  2. Hey yourself!

    It's a privilege to be asked to contribute here. I love what this blog is doing - it's become an auto read for me.
    And thanks, thanks, thanks so much for enjoying my Broome book. It was a special one for me. So glad you enjoyed it.
    And yes, I think it's high time we got together and slung red wine at each other again. Memories are made of such moments:-))

    Meanwhile, keep on rowing!

  3. Lovely post Trish! Especially loved the image of the guy rowing and making it look easy. Funny, even after writing over ten books myself, I still read the work of others and think 'I wish I could write that fluidly', but you're right, it likely took blood sweat and tears to get it looking that way!

    Thanks for your insight Trish. Fab stuff!!!


  4. Trish, great analogy! When I was at university our dorm was alongside a lagoon. And every morning at 5 a.m. I would hear the coxswain yelling, "You're sculling too deep, MacGillicuddy!" Just think, it could have been you. (Well, maybe not. You were a mere child then).

    Anyway, yes, that's it -- your rower had developed the muscle memory to make it look simple, no matter how hard he was working.

    Is that what we're doing out here? Heavens, I hope so!

  5. Trish! Awesome blog. I never you you sculled... with oars..!

    But seriously, I don't think I've ever read a more accurate analogy.

    Yvonne (rowing down the last 20 pages of current ms--where's a coxswain when you need one?)

  6. Love the rowing analogy. A fave expression of mine, mid WIP is 'wading through mud' And you're right, those effortless words are sensational to read and sometimes crippling to write.
    Thanks for the article


  7. I didn't know you rowed either, Trish. How oarsome...and an oarsome analogy with the training, technique and effort needed to make the writing look easy.

    Best with the pull to the finish line on your current book,

  8. *Muscle memory*

    I like that Anne and I love your blog on the topic. I hadn't thought about it that way. Unfortunately I think my rowing muscles had short term memory loss:-(

    Glad you guys enjoyed the analogy. Wading through mud works for me too, Fiona. One day I'll tell you why the difference between ST and category is like surfing:-)) Honest, it is. (My 16yo came up with that one.)

    All the best rowing down those pages, Yvonne and everyone on deadline! I'm bearing down on the 1000 metre mark and feeling the burn...