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Writers in lockdown | Lisa Walker - The Girl With The Gold Bikini

In these strange times, many women writers are facing the sad reality of having to cancel the launches and publicity for their books, which they have spent so much of their energy and creativity in developing. Feminartsy will be sharing profiles of authors with books being released over the coming months, to shine a spotlight on their work and spread the word about their incredible books.

Today, we meet Lisa Walker, author of The Girl With The Gold Bikini, out now through Wakefield Press.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work

I mostly write novels for adults and young adults. They tend to be comedic, and often have a touch of romance. My recent novels include a young adult coming-of-age story, Paris Syndrome, and a climate change comedy, Melt. The Girl with the Gold Bikini is my sixth novel.

I have also written an ABC Radio National play, called ‘Baddest Backpackers’ and have written a number of articles and short stories, which were published in The Age, Griffith Review, Big Issue and the Review of Australian Fiction. Before focusing on writing fiction, I worked in environmental communication and as a wilderness guide.

How did you come to the idea for The Girl With the Golden Bikini?

I have always liked a gutsy, fast-talking Private Investigator heroine who gets herself into and out of messes with panache. ‘The Girl with the Gold Bikini’ was particularly inspired by the teen PIs Nancy Drew and Veronica Mars. Nancy Drew has been an institution since 1930. She has style and chutzpah, not to mention a snazzy sports car. My protagonist, Olivia, only has one of these – and it’s not style or a sportscar – but there’s nothing to stop her trying. Veronica Mars, who first aired on TV in 2004, is a sassy smart-mouthed teen, who was also an inspiration.

The title of the book is connected to my protagonist’s love of Princess Leia, who was forced to wear a gold bikini by a giant slug. It also relates to the Gold Coast meter maids, who wander the streets of Surfers Paradise in gold bikinis. The meaning of the title is revealed throughout the book, but it has a strong message about female empowerment.

What's your writing process like?

I am a ‘pantser’, so I don’t really plot at all. I like to start with a character I love and a situation where they have lots of problems to solve and go from there. Because I don’t have much of an idea where I’m going, the first draft tends to be quite an anxious process. I’m never sure if I’m going to have a story at the end of it.

I enjoy the second draft much more. At this stage I usually storyboard all the scenes on post-it notes or Scrivener and play around with the story structure and themes. Then, the third draft is mainly about making sure it reads well. This probably sounds a lot more organised than it actually is. In reality, each of these stages usually takes at least three drafts. It’s messy, and I wish there was a better way to do it, but I’ve tried plotting and it seems to stall my momentum. I need to surprise myself throughout the writing process or I lose interest.

The Girl With The Golden Bikini sounds like quite an engaging and pacey read - who do you think it will most appeal to as a reader?

The protagonist is eighteen, so I think it’s a cross-over story between adult and young adult. While it is marketed as young adult fiction, adult readers are enjoying it just as much. I think it will appeal to any reader who enjoys fast-paced, humorous stories with an offbeat feisty female protagonist. It is a light-hearted, body-positive, detective romp with a touch of mystery.

Where can people find out more about your work, and buy your books?

My social links are:

Website: https://www.lisawalker.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisawalkerhome/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaWalkerTweet

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisawalkerwriter/?hl=en

Blog: https://lisawalkerwriter.wordpress.com/

Buy the book at:

Wakefield Press, Booktopia, Readings, Amazon Australia, US, UK

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