By Parker McKenzie
Christian White grew up and spent time around Yarra Junction with family, and has now gone to write a bestselling series.
“I was 37 when I got my first book published but I’ve been writing for 20 years. When the first book came out, I remember seeing myself described as an overnight success and I was like wow, that was a very long night.”
Best-selling author Christian White says he gave himself the deadline of being a published author by the time he was 25 years old, not that it worked out that way.
“In literature class, I wrote a story and it got read out. It was anonymous but I thought I’m going to chase that feeling,” he says.
“After 30 I started adjusting my thinking and I was just writing for the love of writing, as opposed to trying to be a writer. That’s when everything changed.”
While The Nowhere Child was his first book to be published in 2018, White says it was the fifth manuscript he had finished.
“I have this really silly problem in retrospect where I would write things and I would finish them or I would come just short finishing them, and then put them in a draw and not show anyone. I think that was because I had this fear of failure,” he says.
“Looking back I now realise if I didn’t show anyone my work, I could hold on to the fantasy of one day writing for a living. If I showed someone my work and they rejected it, then I think I saw that as the death of that fantasy.”
Since then, White has published two more books and written screenplays for a Netflix series called Clickbait and the horror film Relic.
White says he would highly recommend aspiring writers enter writing competitions after multiple projects of his were borne out of taking the plunge and entering his work.
“I used to be very sceptical of writing competitions, I have no idea why. Clickbait came from a writing competition that I entered years and years ago, where you write your own pilot,” he said.
“I entered the Victorian Premier’s Award for unpublished manuscripts in 2017. Just clicking and sending that email was really huge for me but then I was lucky to win. That opened a lot of doors in the publishing so I think if you’re feeling like I was — a little bit nervous about getting your work out there —look at writing competitions.”
He says his writing process has changed since his first bestseller was published because he now has the time to make writing his priority.
“When I wrote my first book, I was working at a t-shirt shop at the time printing t-shirts, so I would have to find these moments throughout the day. When The Nowhere Child came out and I started doing it for a living, for the first couple of weeks I was obsessed with you’ve got to be at your desk, eight hours a day, nine to five. I quickly learned that I just don’t have the stamina for that, I would suddenly be on YouTube watching a Bigfoot video,” he says.
“You get better at figuring out how much productivity you have in a day. So usually I’m now only at my desk for three or four hours, with probably two or three of those actually working.”
White says he received an excellent piece of advice from his late father-in-law, the prolific screenwriter Everett De Roche.
“I once asked him what your routine is like and he said he ends each day right before a scene he’s really excited to write,” White says.
“That’s what I do as well because it makes you want to get up in the morning; you’re itching to get back to the computer because of that scene you’ve been dying to write.”
Since the Nowhere Child was published in 2018, White has published two more novels — The wife and the Widow in 2019 and Wild Place in 2021 — alongside other audio and screen work.
You can find out more about Christian White’s work at www.christian-white.com