Writing life: Graeme Simsion

On where, when and how he wrote his hilarious Don Tillman novels, The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect

Writing life: Graeme Simsion

Hatching plans

I don’t have a routine. I used to be a freelance consultant and had to fit my writing around my day job’s shifting demands. Now I fit it around book tours, festivals and signings. And, much of the time, I’m not actually writing: I’m planning, thinking, problem-solving. On planes, in hotels, walking. 

That said, my favourite place for writing is a shack we own an hour’s drive from Melbourne. My wife, Anne Buist, and I spend most weekends there when we’re not out of the country. She’s also a published writer. A writing day there might look like this:

Wake, revive the fire, fire up the espresso machine. Tea first –herbal for me. Jog. Shower and breakfast. The healthy stuff ends there. Coffee.

Coffee and bad piano

Write from about 9am ‘til 5pm with interruptions for lunch and to load up the slow cooker for dinner. I’m the cook. More coffee. Occasionally Anne will use me as a human thesaurus and I’ll run a scene past her. But mainly it’s the two of us sitting in armchairs in the same room, with our laptops, typing away. 

5pm: cocktails, probably margaritas. I sear a tuna steak on the barbecue and make guacamole. We talk about what we’ve done, what problems we’re having. No TV. We open a bottle of wine, still talking about writing, but less productively, and have dinner. We talk about other things: maybe planning our next walk. We read. I may play some bad piano, I load up the fire, and that’s the day done. 

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more