I write because it feels unnatural if I don’t. Like a gardener that doesn’t tend to his blooms and lawns, stories can’t grow and be shaped without daily attention.

NLK: Tell us about yourself, perhaps something not many people know.

TRB: Now, there’s a question! I’ll stick with ‘writerly’ things for the purpose of this interview.

Five little known facts:

  1. Back in the late 90’s and early naughties, I wrote The Mystery Diners column for Kalgoorlie’s community newspaper, The Golden Mail. As the name suggests, I critiqued restaurants and eating outlets across the Goldfields region and had a ball doing so. As part of the alcohol economy, I was paid in cartons of wine.
  2. Little Black Dress Productions is the registered business name for all my creative outputs: performing, writing, event management, and workshops. The name derived from a musical I started writing (but never finished) called Little Black Dresses.
  3. In 2013, I was appointed Creative Director of online arts and culture magazine Perth Culture. Over 100 of my theatre reviews, interviews and photo-blogs have been posted online since that time. When Perth Culture shut shop in 2015, I continued as an arts writer for So Perth and have recently been approached by We Love Perth to write for them.
  4. Quite a bit of the tourism content on the City of Perth website are my words and I was always the go-to girl for catchy names for new campaigns, competitions, and events.
  5. My Great Uncle (on my Dad’s side) was an illustrator for Grimm’s fairytales. (NLK: Seriously impressive, Tabetha!)

NLK: You’re currently finishing a novel, hold the position of Chairwoman of the Katharine Susannah Prichard (KSP) Writers’ Centre, you’re a board member for WritingWA, and you have young children! Can you please share the secret to juggling your many roles?

TRB: I get asked this question a lot and unfortunately I don’t have any magical formula to share. I simply get up every day and get on with it. When you are passionate about something, you find a way to do it.

I am so fortunate to have the support of my husband, parents and friends, whom I picture shuddering when I call them, knowing I’m about to say ‘Are you free on… to have the kids?’

What’s helpful is a diary and a ‘date with writing’. Since most of my days are filled with meetings, kids schedules, writing reviews, newsletter columns, speeches, presentations and attending events, it is so important to block out a day or time for ‘my own’ writing.

Wednesdays are my writing day. I’m very stern with myself on this, to the point that I get moody if my day is disrupted and the word count hasn’t grown.

NLK: What do you find are your biggest distractions when it comes to writing?

TRB: Hands down, social media! To me, it’s the equivalent of LSD in the 70’s.

NLK: What other authors are you friends with and how do they help you become a better writer?

TRB: Since being Chairwoman at KSP, I’ve certainly met a lot of writers at all levels from aspiring to established. I’m reluctant to splash out announcing them all as ‘my friends’ as it evokes a sense of hanging out with them all on the weekends, getting merry and sharing plotlines for our next novels, although there are some I spend time with and enjoy their company beyond our writing connections.

I am lucky to have developed strong connections with Rachel Johns, Natasha Lester, Melinda Tognini, Guy Salvidge, Brooke Davis, Annabel Smith, David Whish-Wilson, Nathan Hobby, Louise Allan, and Anna Jacobs to name but a few, all of whom I hold in the highest regard and hope their talent rubs off on me purely by association.

They’ve all helped me to be a better writer in different ways. Some are great teachers, some great mentors, some I admire their knowledge, some I admire their humour, some I love the conversations we’ve had and all I respect as writers.

NLK: What’s the most difficult part of your artistic process?

TRB: It’s not a lack of ideas. I will never live long enough to execute all the things I’d like to write about.

I struggle, like everyone else with self doubt. The debilitating notion of I’ll never be as good as everyone else or that I’ll never finish anything. I know it’s ridiculous to compare yourself to others or worry about what they think, but we all do. It’s part of being human.

NLK: You are currently writing your first novel, can you tell us about it? How do you plan on having it published?

TRB: I actually have two novels half-written, however the one I’m hoping to finish in the next couple months is a chick/life lit entitled The Second Husband.  I picture the tag line on the cover to say something like ‘What if you married the wrong man the first time around?’

Back cover blurb might go something like…

Lexi Lorimar, was a women resigned to the family life she’d chosen, until she receives an email from an old friend in London offering her the opportunity to write a play for the theatre company she was once a part of, many years ago. 

Lexi wants nothing more than to take this opportunity to save part of her history from fading away, but cracks appear in her relationship with husband Dave, when he wants to make a family holiday of the trip while Lexi dreams of going solo. Lexi wants to rekindle her old friendships, talk about the old theatre days and feel the freedom of not being mum and wife for a little while. She wants to remember what it felt like to be free of responsibility.

What is she prepared to risk to go on this trip and will Dave’s attitude towards her lead to more than a nostalgic reason to want to return to her old life?

In terms of publication, I’ll start at the top, go for gold with the big names first, then after my proud pile of rejection letters arrive, I’ll aim for smaller publishers and if all else fails, I’ll self publish. Let’s not dance around the issue, all authors ideally want to be traditionally published, but if that doesn’t happen then self-publishing is the way to go. Nobody writes a book for it not to have an audience. 

NLK: Does writing change you? In what way?

TRB: I’m not sure whether to answer this philosophically or literally? I’ll go with literally. I’m usually a nice easy-going person but when I’m writing….I’m moody, irritable, focused and not at all present in the real world. Kind of like being permanently premenstrual! My husband really digs the way I snap his head off if he needs to ask me something during my writing time.

NLK: Is there an author or a book that inspired you to write?

TRB: I’m going to reveal something to you I’ve tried to hide for too long. I am not a voracious reader. I love to read but I’m not one of those people that can whip through a couple of books a week/month.

Up until I was about 30, I could probably count all the books I’d read in my life on my fingers and toes.

It wasn’t a book or author that made me want to write. It was real people in my real life, like my granddad and my mum. They were/are both prolific readers and writers and my granddad was a great oral storyteller. I have his handwritten memoirs in my library and they are my most treasured literary possession.

I write because it feels unnatural if I don’t. Like a gardener that doesn’t tend to his blooms and lawns, stories can’t grow and be shaped without daily attention. 

It’s possibly a vain thing to say, but my life and everyone in it, is more inspiration than I’ll ever need.

I never really appreciate how interesting life is until I am looking back on it. I didn’t set out to do half the crazy ‘shit’ I’ve done (or will do), it just pans out that way and there is story in all of it.

About Tabetha

Tabetha Rogers Beggs can sum her life up in one word, ‘busy’.

She is the Chairwoman of the KSP Writers’ Centre, board member of writingWA. theatre reviewer, arts correspondent and travel blogger for websites ‘So Perth’  and ‘Ladywanderluxe’ as well as being a founding member of the WA Writers’ United collaboration. Tabetha is also Creative Director and owner of Little Black Dress Productions, which is the collective name she uses to tie all her writing, theatrical and arts marketing pursuits together.

Tabetha lives in the Perth foothills with her husband and young family and spends much of her time attending and writing about local arts and culture.

Tabetha is currently working on a few projects, including her first full-length novel.

Connect with Tabetha

Website Facebook  Twitter Instagram