Amanda Creely shares the origins of 'Nameless' and her best advice for novel writers

Amanda Creely fiction Interview Nameless The Dorothy Hewett Award

Nameless by Amanda Creely is an allegorical literary fiction novel exploring love, death, war, and hope which was shortlisted for the Dorothy Hewett Award in 2022. In this interview Creely shares the origins of Nameless and her advice for novel writers.


Amanda Creely headshot UWA Publishing

Amanda Creely is an Australian writer from Bendigo, Victoria and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Literature. Amanda has previously worked as a librarian and a nurse. Of Irish descent, stories have always played a large part in Amanda’s life – she started writing her own as a child and has never stopped. Her Dorothy Hewett Award shortlisted novel Nameless is out in April 2024 with UWA Publishing.

How did Nameless come to be?

Nameless began its life in 2017 as the first novel in a three part fantasy series. I loved this series! The book, my fourth, was based on an old English fairy tale called, The Buried Moon; that tale is still a part of Nameless. But as I continued to write, I realised that some of my earlier writing wasn’t as practiced. So I decided to revise it. And as I did, new ideas emerged. They morphed into Nameless. It became my seventeenth book.

What is one thing about your book that will entice readers?

I think the anonymity of the setting. There are many, many novels about war, with all the facts and figures and history. But Nameless is nonspecific. It has nothing to distract the reader from the horror of what happens. Yet everything I have written is based on actual events; reading about women kept as ‘Comfort Women’ during WWII was what motivated part of the story. Terrifying and sickening tales emerge from every war humanity wages. They never change and we never learn. And that’s an indictment on our civilisation.

What was it like to be shortlisted for the Dorothy Hewett Award?

Exciting, terrifying, gratifying. All of these emotions. I have been writing on and off all my life (I still have a short story I wrote in Grade 2!), but pretty much full time since 2014. To receive an acknowledgment that finally I was good enough to be noticed…well, that was the best thing ever.


Which writers have inspired you throughout your life?

So many, too many to list, and so varied depending on where I was in my life. I grew up reading the likes of Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and Arthur Conan Doyle. Ursula Le Guin was a favourite – she was a feminist and pioneer for women as authors, and her writing advice and social commentary are equally as good as her fiction; the amazing Australian author, Juliet Marillier, whose books inspired me to pick up my writing pens again; and I love Cormac MacCarthy for his uniqueness and for defying genre norms.

What are some of your favourite novels by Australian authors?

The Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier; The Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn (aka Gillian Rubinstein); The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. Australia has some terrific fantasy authors! I also love Peter FitzSimons’ books, especially Tobruk.

What are some of your goals for 2024?

I don’t really set goals for myself. There’s so much in life we can’t control, so many unknowns on the path ahead, that setting definitive goals can be just something else to feel bad about if you don’t achieve them. As soon as I tell myself I have to do something, it becomes the one thing I spend all my time avoiding! Instead I try to fit as many of the things I love to do into each day, each week, and see where they take me.

What is your best piece of advice for people wanting to write a novel?

There’s a well-known maxim among writers that you should write the genre you love to read. I don’t agree with that. I love to read fantasy and crime. I’ve read a lot of literary fiction but never been a fan. Parts of Nameless are to my mind fantasy; but because it dabbles in other genres as well, it was put in the literary fiction box. So I say: write what’s inside you, write the story you feel needs to be told, write because you love it, love the sound and feel and taste of the words. Have fun. See where it goes. And to hell with genre. Who knows, you might create a new one! 


Nameless by Amanda Creely is available for pre-order from UWA Publishing and is out on 1 April 2024.




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