The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Cover - The Ex­tremely In­con­ve­nient Ad­ven­tures Of Bronte Met­tle­stone.

f nov­el­ists seem like an un­usual breed, con­sider the fact that the job it­self re­quires some­thing pretty un­usual. They spend hours each day in to­tal iso­la­tion, cre­at­ing worlds that don’t ex­ist and pop­u­lat­ing them with in­vented char­ac­ters. All of this has the ten­dency to, plainly speak­ing, make a per­son a lit­tle neu­rotic.

As US au­thor Anne Lamott once ex­plained, writ­ers are just nar­cis­sists with an in­fe­ri­or­ity com­plex, tor­tured by fail­ure un­til they are ru­ined by suc­cess. It is quite a com­bi­na­tion.

So when three of Aus­tralia’s most suc­cess­ful writ­ers tromp into the Pub­lic Din­ing Room at Syd­ney’s Bal­moral Beach on the first rainy day the city has seen in months, it is a re­lief to dis­cover there does not seem to be a highly strung artiste among them. And that’s not just be­cause they had spent the pre­vi­ous hour be­ing pho­tographed on the freez­ing sand, wind whip­ping at them from ev­ery an­gle. These three writ­ers, who be­tween them have pub­lished 23 books cov­er­ing gen­res from com­mer­cial fic­tion to sus­pense to young-adult sto­ries, are also sis­ters.

Liane, Ja­clyn and Ni­cola have been meet­ing here for years, and still do – as of­ten as their loaded sched­ules will al­low. Over cap­puc­ci­nos on the ter­race, Ja­clyn tells Stel­lar “there are six chil­dren in our fam­ily, five girls and one boy. Ours was a re­ally warm, close fam­ily and I like all my sis­ters. But the other two are much more sen­si­ble and prac­ti­cal than

the three of us. We’ve al­ways felt like kin­dred spir­its who share a slightly more side­ways way of think­ing.”

At 50, Liane is the old­est of the six sib­lings. Ja­clyn, 49, is sec­ond in line. Ni­cola is the baby, younger than Liane by 15 years. While they were grow­ing up in the Syd­ney sub­urb of Kel­lyville, their mother Diane also fos­tered more than 40 chil­dren while rais­ing her own brood; fa­ther Bernie sup­ported the tribe by work­ing as an aerial sur­veyor.their fa­ther didn’t be­lieve in pocket money, which may be where their fu­ture as a fam­ily y of scribes be­gan. “He be­lieved in en­ter­prise ter­prise and would com­mis­sion us to write a story and pay a dol­lar each for them,” Ja­clyn aclyn says. “We were all pro­lific read­ers, , and wanted to be writ­ers from quite early rly on.”

Bernie’s scheme paid off – it’s hard to re­mem­ber a time be­fore the Mo­ri­arty iarty name was a fix­ture on Aus­tralia’s s pop-cul­ture land­scape. This year, the fam­ily sur­name found it­self at­tached ched to a true phe­nom­e­non when HBO’S se­ries adap­ta­tion of Liane’s 2014 novel Big Lit­tle Lies, spear­headed by and star­ring rring Ni­cole Kid­man and Reese Wither­spoon, rspoon, dom­i­nated world­wide wa­ter-cooler er con­ver­sa­tions for months.

But it was hardly an overnight suc­cess. uc­cess. The Mo­ri­arty sis­ters have ar­rived here thanks to un­told hours of un­flag­ging ng hard work. It was nearly two decades ago go that Ja­clyn pub­lished her first piece of fic­tion for young adults, earn­ing NSW Premier’s emier’s Lit­er­ary Awards for her first and sec­ond d ef­forts, and qui­etly achiev­ing best­seller sta­tus with ti­tles that fol­lowed. She’s now up to book 13, a magic-and-dragons tale en­ti­tled

Ja­clyn be­gan writ­ing as a side­line, while study­ing for a PHD in me­dia law at the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge. “Re­ally, I was just try­ing to ex­tend my stu­dent life and put off be­com­ing a lawyer for as long as pos­si­ble,” she says. “I knew Cam­bridge was my last chance to write, be­cause as soon as I started work­ing it would get shut out. So I made a pact with my­self to fin­ish a book be­fore I came home.”

She is be­ing mod­est – be­fore the PHD she earned a Masters de­gree at Yale Univer­sity, which she only men­tions in pass­ing. And she ne­glects to men­tion how dif­fi­cult it is to find real suc­cess in Aus­tralia’s small fic­tion mar­ket. Sell­ing 3000 copies of a book is con­sid­ered a good out­come by pub­lish­ers, and au­thors can re­ceive as lit­tle as $3 per copy from the cover price. So be­ing able to pay the bills with­out a day job is a rar­ity, but Ja­clyn – who is a sin­gle mother to 11-year-old son Char­lie – has man­aged to do it.

Liane had a ca­reer in mar­ket­ing be­fore be­ing in­spired by Ja­clyn to fol­low her into the trade. As she tells Stel­lar, “I’ve al­ways said Ja­clyn can never write a bor­ing sen­tence in her life. Her use of lan­guage is ex­quis­ite.” Big Lit­tle Lies was a run­away suc­cess with read­ers long be­fore it be­came an Emmy Award-win­ning TV show, and Liane’s 10-novel out­put has moved a healthy six mil­lion books world­wide. She is such a fix­ture on The New York Times best­seller list that she ap­pears on it even in years that she doesn’t re­lease a new ti­tle.

Still, as re­cently as last year, one news out­let de­scribed her as “the most suc­cess­ful Aus­tralian au­thor that you’ve never heard of”. And in some senses she hasn’t shaken the “se­cre­tive Syd­ney w writer” tag that at­tached it­self to her eea early on. “I don’t know where that cam came me from, the id idea that I’m reclu­sive reclu­sive,” e,” Liane says. “We all joke about it.. it. I find it hi­lar­i­ous.”

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