On the Couch with Vikki Wakefield

Vicki Wakefield AAR On the CouchWho is Vikki Wakefield?
I’m a wife, a mum, a writer of adult crime books and young adult literature, and we run a small family business in manufacturing. It’s a lot, but somehow we’ve managed to raise a couple of amazing kids along the way. I live in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, less than a kilometre from the house where I grew up.

What would you do differently from what you do now? 
I wouldn’t change much, really. Now that my kids are mostly independent, I’m cramming in all the things I wish I’d made time for when I was younger. I’m painting again and taking drum lessons, but there’s still so much I want to learn. I could do with an extra couple of hours in the day.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by creative people who keep doing their thing despite the challenges of living in a country that, increasingly, devalues and defunds the arts. Practising in the arts can be a radical act these days, but being part of such a progressive, inclusive, optimistic and supportive community is its own reward.

What would you do to make a difference in the world? 
I could bang on all day about the big, seemingly-impossible changes I’d make, if I had the power to make them, but I do have an oddly specific dream. Picture a huge log cabin, a fireplace in every room, a live-in veterinarian, endless paddocks with wide-open gates, and hundreds of happy old dogs, creaking about and drooling on couches. (I know the reality of Ye Olde Dogs’ Rescue Home would be disturbingly different from the romantic image in my head, but there you go.)

Favourite holiday destination and why? 
The Daintree Rainforest in Far North Queensland. Not so much the tourist hotspots, but the out-of-the-way, off-the-map places, like forgotten tracks and hidden waterholes. Over twenty years ago we spent our honeymoon at Coconut Beach Rainforest Resort in the Daintree, and we revisit whenever we can. The resort is derelict now, rotting away, trashed by squatters. I’ve read commentary about its demise, but I wasn’t shocked or sad to see it that way – I’m fascinated by abandoned places that have been reclaimed by nature, and I’m drawn to the atmosphere of prehistory. It’s something bigger than all of us.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why? 
Our place. I’m not big on crowds.

What are you currently reading? 
Louise Doughty’s A Bird in Winter, Charlotte Wood’s Stone Yard Devotional, and Gary Lonesborough’s We Didn’t Think It Through. I read a lot for work and pleasure, and I write for different genres and readerships, so I’ll often have more than one book on the go.

What are you currently listening to? 
My recently rediscovered collection of old vinyl. It’s true that the sound of vinyl is better. It’s also true that, once you reach a certain age, you won’t be able to remember where you put the margarine the last time you used it (check the third drawer, with the Glad Wrap), but you will recall every word of the lyrics to B-side singles and the moves to obscure ‘90s dance tracks.

Happiness is? 
Happiness is having enough of the things I need so I have the freedom to go after the things I want, working long and hard enough at something to become good at it, and keeping busy, but leaving time for small rituals: tea, walks, conversations, books. Maybe happiness isn’t the great soaring emotion we often strive for, but the respite that comes from not being unhappy.

What does the future hold for you?
Right now I’m focused on the release of my new crime thriller, To the River, and preparing for an art exhibition in August. Following that, more writing. More learning. Watching my kids, growing up and finding their way.

Vikki is the Author of To the River – which is published by Text Publishing and available from all good bookstores. For more information, visit: www.textpublishing.com.au for details.

Image: Vikki Wakefield (supplied)