Camille Booker

Camille Booker

Q&A with Author Camille Booker

What inspired you to be a writer?

I’ve always loved words and language, books, reading, and being swept up in a story.

It was when I was teaching at an exclusive boys’ boarding school in Sydney and definitely starting to feel a bit burnt out, that I wondered whether high school teaching was really what I wanted to be doing.

Around this time, I read a really great historical fiction book set in Russia during the Second World War and afterwards I had a severe book hangover. I looked everywhere for another book that would give me that same feeling, I binge-read everything I could find set in WWII, and then I started wondering, maybe I could write one of my own 

What prompted you to write 'What If You Fly?'

I’ve always loved World War Two-inspired stories – whether that’s films or novels, documentaries or biographies. Something about that time period – the universality of it – fascinates me. 

The seed for my story sprouted when I began listening to my husband’s grandparents’ tales from their experiences during the war. I gathered together their anecdotes, my imagination, and slices of history from a perspective I had not really seen before to write What If You Fly?

I was also driven by the powerful emotional effects of reading. I wanted to make readers feel the way I’ve felt when I’ve finished a great book: to get lost in the story, to keep thinking about the characters with whom they’ve spent a few hundred pages, to have an impact on how readers perceive the world.

Do you have any more books in the pipeline?

My second novel is due to be released with Hawkeye early next year. It’s a gothic historical fiction called The Woman In The Waves. 

I’m currently working on my third novel as part of my PhD in creative writing. 


What is your professional background?

I trained as a high school languages teacher – French, Latin and English as a Second Language. I don’t teach languages to high school kids anymore, but I occasionally teach French to first year students at the University of Wollongong, where I also teach creative writing. 

Any advice you’d like to give aspiring writers?

  • Read in every genre.
  • Write every day.
  • Find a supportive writing group to share your work and your journey with.
  • Don’t worry about a messy first draft.

Who/what inspires you?

  • Other writers.
  • Good books.
  • Interesting locations.
  • Podcasts.

What are your hobbies, interests and favourite books?

The Bronze Horseman is the book that left me with a very severe book hangover. It’s also the story that made me fall in love with WWII era historical fiction.

Other than reading and writing, I love hanging out with my family, daydreaming, grabbing coffee, perusing bookstores, taking my kids to the beach to swim in the ocean and search for sea glass on the shoreline, and watching horror movies – the scarier the better

How can readers contact you?

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