Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar

“Do I sneak my novels onto Liane’s hall table if Nicole Kidman is visiting? Maybe!”


It’s easy to assume Australian author Nicola Moriarty may feel envious towards her two older siblings – Big Little Lies author Liane and award-winning writer Jaclyn. But in reality, Nicola says it is a notion that could not be further from the truth

One of the first questions people ask when they hear I’m one of three writers from the same family is: “Is there any sibling rivalry?” I think they’re hoping the answer will be yes. I suppose it makes sense – everyone loves family drama, especially when they’re looking from the outside in.

The story of someone else’s tribulatio­ns can be so delicious, to the point where sometimes I wish I could provide said drama. I could tell people there are screaming matches over Christmas lunch because someone stole someone else’s plot idea; that coloured paper crowns are torn from heads and one of us slaps the other across the cheek with a piece of turkey. But in truth, our Christmas gatherings are civilised and uneventful, if a tad more rowdy and giggly towards the end of the evening after several glasses of red wine have been consumed.

Maybe this is why I chose to write three sibling authors into my latest novel,

You Need To Know – three brothers who field the same questions my sisters and I do on a regular basis. I think at first I gave them careers as writers because it would make for a bit of a fun, tongue-in-cheek joke for readers who know my background. Perhaps my idea was that I would play around with the parallels between my sisters and I, and the brothers in the novel. But in the end, they became their own people, completely different to us. Deep down, I wonder if I’m defensive of my real-life role as the third-to-be-published sister. And if so, could that be why I took the opportunit­y to write these characters into my novel? To live vicariousl­y through them so that I could inject the drama into their lives that doesn’t live in my own?

Having two sisters who were already published before I entered the industry has meant having built-in experts to give me advice, reassuranc­e and feedback.

And while I know most people might assume I’m filled with jealousy about my big sisters’ success – Liane’s extraordin­ary film deals, Jaclyn’s incredible literary awards – the truth is I’m filled with nothing but utter pride for them. I love every word they write, so why wouldn’t I be happy for them?

Of course I’d love to have one of my own books achieve the same level of success. I mean, do I sneak copies of my novels onto Liane’s hall table if she’s expecting a visit from Nicole Kidman? Maybe! But I also accept that they’ve been doing this job profession­ally longer than me, they have more experience and they deserve the success that comes along with that experience. While a bit of real-life family drama might make for some great publicity, it wouldn’t be worth giving up what I have, because what I have is pretty bloody good.

I once read a review of one of my novels, which suggested that it must be hard for me to be endlessly compared to my more successful sisters. But the truth is, I’m just happy to be playing on the same field as them.

You Need To Know by Nicola Moriarty (Harpercoll­ins, $32.99) is out now.

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