Robyn's Secret Passage

Secret Passage
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© 2003
Robyn Gallagher


Note: When I was interviewed for this profile I was writing 2000 words of fiction a day as part of National Novel Writing Month. I didn't exactly totally make stuff up, but being in a creative frame of mind I sort of embellished the truth. John Zilly, the guy who wrote the profile, picked the most interesting bits and the resulting piece is a bit like me, but not totally me. Maybe this is what I'd be like if I were a fictional character.

From Meet the Wrimo!

Robyn Gallagher
21 November 2001

"When I was probably three years old, I remember writing the letters H, O and L on a piece of paper. Since then I've learned 23 other letters and the ability to string them together to form words. I'm attempting to master the art of making those words into sentences enough times to make a novel." But fellow Wrimo Robyn Gallagher writes for another reason too - seduction.

Robyn, a self-described starving writer from Hamilton, New Zealand, who at this very moment is probably sitting in a large comfortable chair watching music videos and tip tapping away on her iBook, says she once "wrote poetry in an attempt to seduce." This is true, and we're all very interested. Unfortunately, the moment was "shattered when the seducee asked, 'is that from a Chili Peppers song?' Perhaps Robyn should have stuck with the tried and true, which for her at the moment would be drinking Phoenix lemonade from the bottle and listening to Goodshirt CDs, both homegrown in New Zealand.

Well it's November now, and for better or worse, seducing and being seduced are the least of our worries. So to compensate for the current seduction drought, Robyn is writing a novel "about a young woman, a bit like me, only drunker, who works at a movie theatre. Her life falls apart several times a week, and she meets a fellow who's just no good for her." Here's a revealing snip straight and unedited from the gut of her novel: "So, her mother is that crazy lady who burned down their family home, and her father is your ex-fiancˇe's boyfriend?"

You see? Seduction.

Robyn was originally thinking about writing a murder mystery for her NaNo novel. Given the required combination of bloody fireplace implements and speed writing, she briefly considered fusing her brain with Agatha Christie, an author Robyn calls "the master of the quickly written novel."

Robyn's friend Selwyn, who's from Auckland and likes to call Robyn's town "Hammo," is currently very annoyed because she didn't tell him about the nanowrimo sign-up deadline. (There's always next year, Selwyn.) After Robyn told another friend about her November project, the friend said, "Oh my God, you're actually writing a novel. I thought you were just being metaphoric." Look, honey, writing 50,000 words in a month is not metaphoric.

Neither is seduction. Shouldn't we get back to that? I mean, Chris Baty just sent an email encouraging our characters to fall in love. Well, Robyn has had four major romantic crushes over the past year. And what's she doing about it? "All of them have been amplified and merged into one uber crush which my novel's protagonist has on a guy. Whereas I got over mine fairly quickly, her soul appears to be eternally tormented by her desires for the baaad boy she's lusting after."

Robyn has medium length hair cut just above the shoulders. "It's a kind of ash blonde at the roots," she says, "graduating to golden highlights in the middle, and then cheap home dye blonde at the ends. It needs a trim, but that'll just have to wait until December." Because it's time to write, hair cuts and sleep be damned. When the writing gets painful Robyn says, "I'll turn to caffeine and then beer. If things get really bad, I might have to turn to over-the-counter cold/flu remedies." But it's been smooth New Zealand sailing thus far. Robyn passed the 27,000-word mark on November 13, well on her way to finishing a nano novel.

"Later in the month," she says, "I'll be doing a bit of travelling, so I'll be able to write the conclusion of my novel from an exotic seaside location." You see? Seductress writer in action.

-- John Zilly