Outsider, outside – Garth Nix, Tim Sinclair and Vikki Wakefield navigate the outside perimeters
Garth Nix thinks that all of his characters are outsiders in one way or another, but ‘you can be an insider/outsider, depending on context.’ Vikki says that her characters are exploring their own worlds from the inside, ‘she’s not outside – it’s her story, she lives there.’ She believes that books are open to our own ideals.
‘We’re attracted to flaws because we know we’re not perfect. It’s a nice feeling to open a book and see someone more screwed up than us.’
Garth says that the attraction of outsiders is that ‘everyone feels like an outsider in some way.’ He also points out that you ‘can be an outsider for three minutes and it can affect you.’ Vikki found her Welsh roots and discovered that finding out ‘something that happened centuries ago to your family, affects how you see yourself. Suddenly my life seemed bigger.’ For Vikki, it was a moment of reckoning with a snake in her house and The Drover’s Wife that influenced Friday Brown.
Vikki says that she writes for teens like her who didn’t have books as a kid and didn’t have parents who were readers. When Vikki found books ‘the world was bigger.’ Vikki mentioned that she was surprised by the readers of her books. She told the story of a teenage boy who loved Friday Brown and how she was surprised by this. Vikki was also surprised when her books were shortlisted for prizes, as she never imagined they would be. She believes that it’s important though that ‘age and sex do not define a reader.’