As part of the LJ connection (that’s Logan and Justine, for those not in the know), Justine Spencer knocked many a task out of the park. She’s also a vital part of any engaging conversation around the centre, and as such, I often thought of things to talk about just to see her take them on. Justine Spencer is most definitely in the house…
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi there! My name is Justine and I was one of Margaret River Press’s interns earlier this year. Currently I’m completing my last month of study and co-editing Avenoir magazine’s Travel Department.
What were you studying at university and what’s next?
I completed my Bachelor of Art from Curtin University earlier this year, double majoring in Creative Writing and Professional Writing & Publishing. I’m currently still at Curtin doing my Honours, which is due late October. It focuses on the relationship between community and social contract theory through speculative Australian fiction. As the due date looms closer the stress is building, but it’s exciting I can further research in a field that really interests me. I’m not too sure what’s in store for me next. The plan was to move to Melbourne next year, but unfortunately that’s been postponed to 2018. I’m hoping to use next year as an opportunity to save like crazy and dive into personal writing projects I’ve been wanting to do. Will be nice to put my heart and soul into something without having to worry about a due date or academic grade!
Do you have a favourite book or favourite authors?
I will always have a soft spot for Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games trilogy, as they were the novels that influenced me to pursue creative writing. While I’ve been an avid reader for most of my life, it was this series that made me take the career seriously. I wanted to be the writer that plays with reader’s emotions rather than being the reader who was emotionally exhausted! Over the years, I’ve discovered Hugh Howey who wrote the Silo series and Sand. While I’m not a big fan of third person perspective, I love his style of writing and how real he writes his characters.
What did a typical day involve as an intern at Margaret River Press?
A typical day interning at Margaret River Press ALWAYS started off with a coffee! Shortly after it’d be time for me to post a morning image on Instagram. My wonderful co-intern, Logan, and I always teamed up early on in the day to set up a plan and look at what we’ve got to post on Facebook for the following week. Sometimes there would be heaps to post, other weeks we’d have to create our own content. Once we figured out what we were going to post (and I figured out what was relevant and suitable to post on Instagram), we would collect any necessary images or links, write up a caption and schedule it.
Once Facebook was sorted, I would searching for stunning images we could “regram” on Instagram. I tried to stick to a colour theme each week, so while I might’ve only needed 14 images, I’d usually save about 30 and keep some for later on. It would then be time to write up an appropriate caption, find suitable hashtags and credit the image source before scheduling it onto Hootsuite. Unfortunately Instagram hasn’t got an in-app feature to schedule posts like Facebook does, so that’s where Hootsuite comes in.
If there was time left in the day, I’d use it to focus on any marketing and event organising. This usually consisted of sending out a bunch of emails and hoping I’d get a reply!
Is there a particular area of publishing you’re looking to head into or other type of work?
Whenever tutors would ask us our favourite roles in the publishing process, my hand would shoot up for every option. I really loved the whole process, from the idea, to a draft, to a manuscript all the way to the editor’s desk and later on the distributor. Funnily enough I found a lot of my peers preferred copyediting over structural editing, but I really enjoy looking at a story from a broad perspective and trying to see if there’s a stronger structure the story could be told through.
At this stage I’d be happy with any role. Given my personal circumstances I’m going to have to hold off heading into the publishing industry until 2018 when I’m in Melbourne, but I’m very excited for the opportunities that await over there.
Justine Spencer is an up and coming science fiction writer based in Fremantle, Western Australia. To pay for her unhealthy addiction to stationary and books, she works as a Pharmacy and Dispensary Assistant. Justine has a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Professional Writing & Publishing from Curtin University and also minored in excessive coffee consumption and procrastination during her undergraduate degree. Currently Justine is completing her Honours, focusing on community in post-apocalyptic Australia. You can visit her website at www.wondertowords.wordpress.com