Nick Lachmund is an up and coming Australian writer with a couple of great stories shortlisted over the last few weeks. We sat down with Nick, who came across us via the Australian Writers Centre website, and put him under cross examination (It’s a joke but you don’t know it yet – Ed).
Let’s start with the basics. Who is Nick Lachmund?
I am a 33 year old man that lives in Geelong, Victoria Australia. I am married with two kids and my day job is as a Registrar for the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (That’s the joke – Ed).
Writing has always been a dream/love for me. I’ve written a lot of over the years but I haven’t let many people read it. I recently decided it was time to put myself out there. I’ve just created a Facebook Page to track my progress as I attempt to get as much published as possible.
Working at the courts must be interesting. Can we expect any related stories from you soon?
Possibly. I have never written anything directly set in a courthouse but elements of what I deal with have crept into my writing in the past. I’ve found bureaucracy and family violence are the two topics that seem to sneak in. If I get the right prompt, I may well end up setting a story in a court.
Tell us about the inspiration for The Old Hometown?
The Old Hometown is in some ways a fictionalised account of when I return to my hometown of Warrnambool. It is a place that I love and hate at the same time and sometimes I go back there and feel joy, other times I feel sadness. My father took his own life in Warrnambool and that seems to be the one memory that brings the sadness for me.
Other than that, the inspiration for the twist in the story comes from the Tom Jones song ‘The Green Green Grass of Home’. The title is actually taken from that song.
That’s tragic about your father. Do you think writing about personal experiences helps? Would you find it boring, or less desirable, to write about something for which you had no personal experience and had to rely on pure creativity?
I think my personal experiences creep into my writing, regardless of the subject I’m writing about. I rarely set out to write about anything personal but elements just seem to appear. I’m a big believer of creating stories organically. I don’t tend to plan too much, I just sit and write see where it takes me. I love to watch a story grow in directions that I didn’t expect.
I actually tend to enjoy trying to write about things that don’t interest me. I like the challenge of it.
So, have you written anything else?
Other than my two shortlisted entries on NiTH the only thing I’ve ever submitted for publication online is a short story in the Deakin University Imagine Journal 2011. But as I said, I’m working on that. I’m currently entering a collection of different short story competitions with the hope that I might get a few more out there.
Have you read much at NiTH? Do you have a favourite story or author?
This is a tough one. I’ve only been reading NiTH stories for a few weeks. The one thing that surprised me was the quality of stories across the board. I’d like to reserve my decision until I’ve read a few more stories I think.
Are you reading anything good at the moment?
The last book I read was ‘A Child’s Book of True Crime’ by Chloe Hooper. I’m in between university semesters so I’m having a break from reading. I’m mainly writing and watching TV shows.
What are you studying? How do you find juggling study, work and being a father with getting pen on paper?
I am four units away from completing a Bachelor of Arts at Deakin. I will finish with a triple major in Literary Studies, Children’s Literature and History. I’ve been slowly plugging away at the degree for the past 5 years. Work/life/uni balance has been tough at times but I find the study incredibly rewarding. The degree will have little to no impact on my career so it really is an expedition in self growth. Part of my decision to study was to get a better appreciation of literature and to grow as a writer.
Do you read much Australian Fiction or interact with other local writers?
I have read a reasonable amount of Australian fiction, however, I have read a lot more non-Australian fiction over the years. One of my favourite authors is Christos Tsiolkas. I have only read two of his books but they both blew me away. His narrative techniques are unlike anyone else I have ever read. His third person narration in The Slap made me reassess the way I write. It was a third person narration that changed in tone to match the character of each story. It was subtle and brilliant.
I don’t think I’ve ever interacted with other local writers. NiTH is the first site that I’ve corresponded with regarding my writing. Until recently, I have not let many people read anything that I’ve written. I have only just reached the point where I am confident about my writing ability and I want to throw everything into it.
That’s great to hear. Have you developed any particular writing habits / routines on your journey?
I had a laptop and a computer that is hooked up to the TV so I used to do all my writing on the laptop and the TV computer was for movies and general internet surfing. However, the laptop died a while back so I do everything on the TV. So my current writing practice is to sit on my couch and write with a wireless keyboard on my lap. I need to have music in the background and I’ll often match the music to the mood of what I’m writing. Because I tend to write some miserable and dark things, I tend to listen to a lot of Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Nick Cave. Other than that, I don’t tend to have many major routines.
Thanks for talking with us Nick!
Read Nick’s latest short story here