On the Couch with Gina Inverarity

Gina Inverarity - photo by Penny EvansWho is Gina Inverarity?
Right now I’m one of 5 million New Zealanders in a month-long lockdown. Before that, I was a part-time yoga teacher, and wrote a Young Adult (YA) novel called Snow – about a future without air travel. What I imagined had caused that was a post-fossil-fuel economy, but what has really happened has been much more sudden and catastrophic. My family is very lucky. We can go outside, we can work from home, and my two girls will go back to school online next week.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
As in a career? My fantasy jobs include, but are not limited to, being a newsreader (preferably on radio), a midwife, a navigator on a tall ship (born in the wrong century for this), or a forester. The last one might come true as my partner and I own a forest in the Wairarapa region north of Wellington and plan to live there one day.

Who inspires you and why?
At the moment, our prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. Her focus and skills as a leader are truly amazing. In general I think if you could harness the collective passion and energy of 39-year-old women across the planet we would see a revolution. And more widely I’m inspired by the community I live in. New Zealanders are high achievers, they never accept an average result and I’m glad to be a part of that kind of attitude right now.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Everything I can. I mean that on a micro-decision-making level. Like saving water, reducing waste, being community-minded. My book, ironically, is about how important it is to act with personal integrity, even in a crisis, or especially in a crisis. Now more than ever, how we act as individuals to stop the spread of the pandemic has become of  critical importance.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
There are many places I haven’t been that seem out of reach right now. So I’m looking forward to a time when we can drive the hour-and-a-half to our block. Beyond that, visiting family and friends in Australia will be wonderful.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
My parents had to cancel a visit here they had planned for March. I was looking forward to showing them our forest and river, and the fabulous bakery at the end of our road. I know the river and the forest will still be there, and I hope the bakery will be too.

What are you currently reading?
Sea People by Christina Thompson, which is about the mystery of how Polynesian people navigated the vast Pacific Ocean to find and colonise even the remotest of islands there. I’m also enjoying the complex and clever The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox and looking forward to starting The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.

What are you currently listening to?
News podcasts, lots of them. To keep up with what’s happening in the rest of the world. We might be cut off physically but we can still feel connected. But after all of that bad news I like to order up 80s disco or 90s hip hop on Spotify for some light relief.

Happiness is?
In the moment.

What does the future hold for you?
At least two more weeks of lockdown. After that it’s as uncertain as everyone else’s. What I’m looking forward to is being in a crowd of people again. And I hate crowds!

Gina Inverarity is the Author of Snow – her first young adult novel – which is published by Wakefield Press and available from all leading book sellers including Dymocks.

Image: Gina Inverarity – photo by Penny Evans