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Bookmarked Blog

We fell in love with Diana Reid’s writing the moment we opened her award-winning debut novel, Love & Virtue. Now she's back with her wonderful new novel, Seeing Other People – a darkly funny story of two very different sisters, and the summer that stretches their relationship almost to breaking point.

Read on and discover more about these must-read Australian novels from Diana herself.

Can we hear the elevator pitch for Seeing Other People?

DR: Seeing Other People is a contemporary Australian novel that asks: how do we navigate the line between being self-fulfilled and selfish. It focuses on two very different sisters over the course of one summer in Sydney, and the clashes between duty and desire that bring their relationship to breaking point.

How close to your own life are the characters and moments in the novel?

DR: All the events and the characters are made up but I draw a lot of inspiration from my own social world—every physical setting in the novel is a place I’ve been (and usually, am quite attached to). I like to take the people I’ve invented and imagine how they would respond in environments that are familiar to me. Obviously, because they’re made-up people, they always respond in new ways. So the story starts close to home and then ends up somewhere else entirely.

Diana Reid. Photographed by Daniel Boud

Diana Reid. Photographed by Daniel Boud

Love & Virtue was a favourite of ours last year. How did you feel about following up on the success of your debut novel?

DR: Thank you! I was fortunate because I started writing this second novel before Love & Virtue was published, so the early drafting phase wasn’t hugely influenced by the response to my first novel. Also, Love & Virtue came out in lockdown last year, so in a way, the publication of this second book is still full of firsts (first in-person book launch; first tour, etc.). If anything, I’m even more excited than I was for the publication of my debut, and just so incredibly grateful for all the readers and booksellers who have already supported my work.

How different – or similar - was the experience of writing each of your books?

DR: The experiences were eerily similar. I wrote most of Love & Virtue in the 2020 lockdown, and then did the bulk of my work on Seeing Other People in the 2021 lockdown. Although, I did find the second book harder (it took twice as long), and I deleted a lot more. Whether I can write a novel when there isn’t a plague on remains to be seen…

Do you have any advice for writers - or other creatives – on honing their skills?

DR: You just have to put some words on the page. There will be plenty of time to worry about whether they’re any good later.

Could you share some recent reads you loved from local authors?

DR: The Uncaged Sky by Kylie Moore Gilbert is an incredible story—both because it’s true and shines a light on important issues, and because it’s beautifully written.

Seeing Other People is available online and at your local Dymocks store.

Seeing Other People
Diana Reid

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