AUTHOR INTERVIEW: GJ Walker-Smith, Author of The Wishes Series

Today I’m ecstatic to be able to introduce you all to the lovely and very talented GJ Walker-Smith, the author of the Wishes  Series and creator of La La Land. She also happens to be one of my all time favourite Australian authors.


Gj Walker-Smith lives in Western Australia. Her debut novel, Saving Wishes was released in February of 2013 to great success, winning the title of iBooks Best Of 2013 Breakout Book Of The Year AU & NZ.  Since then she has gone on to self-publish a further five novels in the Wishes Series: Second Hearts (2013), Sand Jewels (2013), Storm Shells (2013), Secret North (2014) and most recently Silver Dawn (2014). Star Promise is set for release in December 2014.




What inspired you to first starting writing? Have you always wanted to write?

I think I’ve always been a writer. I just lacked the confidence to share it with others.

What comes first for you, the characters or the story?

The basics of the characters come first, then the story. I find that as the story develops, the characters do too. By the end of the books, the characters almost choose their own path.

When and where do you write? Do you write on the computer or are you a pen and notebook writer?

I’m a big fan of notebooks. All of my work is penned in a scrappy notebook first. It’s not in order and some parts are barely legible, but it’s the first draft.

When you sit down to write, are there any particular rituals you must follow?

I just have to be in the mood. I can’t force myself to write for a certain number of hours a day. If I’m not feeling it, it’s not going to happen. When the mood to write strikes, I don’t need anything other than the time to do it!

When and where do you write? Do you write on the computer or are you a pen and notebook writer?

I’m a big fan of notebooks. All of my work is penned in a scrappy notebook first. It’s not in order and some parts are barely legible, but it’s the first draft.

 What do you find most frustrating about writing?

Editing is a dirty word to me, and I’d rather be poked in the eye with a blunt pencil than spend time writing a synopsis. Those things frustrate me.

 What’s your favourite aspect of writing?

There’s a magical point you come to near the end of writing a book. It’s a big turning point. Loose ends are tied, resolution starts to take shape and you prepare to let your characters go for a while. I love watching it all come together.

 Has you writing taught you anything about yourself, that you were perhaps unaware of a year or two ago?

The whole process of publishing has taught me a little about myself. I think I’m braver than I gave myself credit for. Hopefully that has made me a little braver in my writing too.

Your books have been embraced by the readers in a huge way, how do you know when you get to the end of a book and that it’s done?

I like to make sure my characters have some form of resolution. If I know they’re in a good place and there are no unanswered questions or loose ends, it’s time to wrap it up. In saying that, my books average 115 000 words so it takes me a while to get them there!

When you sit down to write a new story, have you planned the story out or are you more likely to ‘fly by the seat of your pants’? If you do plan, how much planning goes into your writing?

No planning whatsoever. I knew the beginning of my story and I know the ending. Everything else just comes to me along the way. I also choose the title of the book first, and write a story to fit it.

Since first publishing Saving Wishes last year, you’ve released four (4) novels in total and two (2) novellas into the wild, with a fifth (5th) novel scheduled for release at the end of the year, how long does it typically take you to write each book?

It varies a lot. Saving Wishes took me two years to write. Secret North took me four months!

Secret North debut at number one in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, and Ireland (and at number 2 in America). When you first sat down and wrote Saving Wishes, did you ever imagine it would be this big?

Never in a million years! I was hopeful that I’d sell twenty books. That was my goal.

And although I suspect this might be like asking who’s’ your favourite kid, do you have a favourite character in your books?

I think I’ll always have a soft spot for Charli. I wanted to create a strong female lead who was determined to stick to her path. I love the way she turned out, and I loved that she never backed down.

Your soon to be released Novella, Silver Dawn is a tear jerker. Was this story harder to write then some of your other books because of this?

This was by far the hardest book to write. It was very emotional for me, and far more technical that I’m used to. I needed a lot of help with the medical aspect of the story, which meant there was a lot of research and double-checking. The emotional parts came easily, which was a double-edged sword. I needed a lot of long breaks during this one, and some days I couldn’t write a word. 

Being a Mum yourself, and given the subject of Silver Dawn, did you ever find yourself overwhelmed or emotional by what happens to Alex and Gabi? I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried whilst reading it, and had to walk away for a short period of time to calm myself down. Did any of those scenes make you cry?

A lot of them did, and I still cry rereading it! This is the one book that I didn’t commit to an ending until I’d finished it. I honestly had no idea which way it was going to go. I purposely made no mention of Gabi in Secret North (book 4) because I wasn’t sure if she was going to make it through.

You’ve published both full length novels and novellas now, what do you feel is the biggest difference between the two styles (other than length)? Do you find one form easier to write?

Novellas are probably easier to write because they’re much shorter. That makes the editing, formatting and revision process shorter too.

Do you believe in the notion that writing can be taught? Or are you a firm believer in the notion that it’s a talent within a person that can’t be taught.

Grammar and spelling can be taught, but not all writers can turn it into a great story. I like to think that takes talent!

A lot of people look down on Indie/self-published authors as opposed to main stream published authors, why do you think this is?

I think there’s a misconception that indies are the poor relations. In truth, some indies are making very good livings writing books. Perhaps it’s seen as the route you take when your work isn’t good enough to be traditionally published. Many, many indies are proving that theory wrong every day.

What was it that made you choose to go down the Indie/Self-published path? And can you tell us a bit about your publishing experience along the way?

I’m a bit impatient. I think the main pull for me was that the process of publishing independently was very quick. Once I had my cover designed, my book edited and formatted, I was good to go.

You’re writing your novel and all of a sudden you get a brilliant idea of an unrelated story. What do you do? How to keep the ideas at bay while writing your work in progress?

It’s not something I’ve actually had happen before! I’m generally pretty focused on whatever I’m writing at the time. That’s why it’s such a joy to finally wrap up a book and move on to something else. WIPs are generally fairly consuming for an author.

Do you have an advice out there for aspiring authors?

Never, ever give up! And always write for yourself. Don’t worry about what others will think of your work. Just write for yourself. If others like it too, that’s a bonus.

And finally, what can we expect from you in the future?

I’m not quite done with the Wishes Series yet. When that wraps up, I hope to move onto something completely different. I just haven’t figured out what that is yet. 😉


 To learn more abut GJ Walker-Smith head to the following social media sites:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |

To purchase a copy of her books head to the following retailers:

iBooks | Smashwords | Amazon AU | Amazon UK | Amazon US |

*Please note Saving Wishes is available to download for FREE!*


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