Niyousha writes: The Creative Writing & Research Interviews are a series of interviews with writer-researchers around the world, in celebration of the publication of Researching Creative Writing by Jen Webb.
Kate Paine is a Creative Writing PhD candidate at Deakin University. She has worked in the education sector as a researcher and lecturer in Australia, the UK and Switzerland. She is a researcher, writer, teacher, musician and mother.
How did you become interested in the relationship between creative writing and research?
I come from a varied research and teaching background, focusing primarily on vocational education, leadership, and the voluntary sector.
[…] I was curious to see how it would be undertaking an academic component (exegesis) and a creative component (novel) at the same time. I wondered if one would distract from the other and if I would be able to concentrate on two such disparate, or so I thought, disciplines at the same time.
How has that relationship played out in your own experience?
I relish the way the two parts work together, and find the exegesis process to be very creative, too, albeit in a different way. I do find it difficult to work on both at the same time, though, so usually let them take turns. But even when I’m working on one, I generate many ideas for the other, so in a way they are both constant, at least in my head!
I’m also a musician and music teacher, and I find many similarities between the academic/creative dynamic and that of music theory/improvisation. The gap between the two sides is not as big as imagined, and nor is it only one-way. It can be a very symbiotic relationship if you allow it to be and if you are encouraged to approach it in this way.
So, what are you working on now?
I’m writing an historical novel based on a true story set in colonial Far North Queensland. The novel’s got islands and a damsel in distress and a community that’s about to implode. My exegesis is also about islands, both real and metaphorical, with particular reference to colonial (and postcolonial) Australia.
What’s the best piece of research advice anyone has ever given you?
Don’t lose track of the main thrust of what it is you wish to research, but at the same time have an open mind to new ideas and approaches.
*This interview has been edited for length. You can find out more about Kate Paine’s work on her creative writing blog here.