THE HIVE: Lizzie Wilcock

Aerodynamically, the bumble bee should not be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it, so it goes on flying anyway. – Mary Kay Ash

Welcome to the very first edition (edition? It’s not a version of a book or something – we’ll roll with it).

Welcome to the very first edition of The Hive, where I bring to you inspiring people, places and things. Things that have been worked for. Things which are, debatably, the ultimate prize. Things that truly are … The Hive. 

Meet Lizzie Wilcock. Aussie born and bred teacher and author in her free time. Newcastle inhabitant.

Copyright Peter Stoop.
Copyright Peter Stoop.

1. What did you want to be when you were little?

A nun. I wasn’t religious, but I went to a Catholic school and my teachers were nuns. They lived in a convent and they played guitars and went on camps. It seemed like a lot of fun to me.

2. What was your favourite subject in high school?

Ancient History – I had the most amazing teacher who could tell stories about the Ancient Greeks and Romans as if he was one of them. Plus, he was cute.

3. When did you decide that you wanted to be an author?

My Year 9 English teacher, Mary Debenham, told me I should become a writer. Her belief in my ability stuck with me all these years and although I didn’t start writing straight away, I always wondered, “What if she is right?”

4. Who or what inspires you and your writing?

My Year 5 students: I see what they read, I listen to their talk, I watch how they interact. Their enthusiasm for reading inspires me to write, and their personalities inspire my characters. 

5. What is one goal or dream you have for yourself?

I want to keep writing and being published. I would like to write a children’s picture book one day, and also Romantic fiction. It is a huge market and I would like to see if I can crack it. 

6. Which are your favourite authors and why?

I read a lot of Australian authors in both YA and Children’s Fiction. I like to support our local talent and I can really relate to the stories they tell. 

7. If you could collaborate and write a book with anyone, who would it be and why?

I am sure everyone says this but JK Rowling – not so much for her style, but for the millions of dollars I would make. I could then retire from my full time job and concentrate on my writing.

8. So far, which has been your favourite book that you’ve written?

I really love all of my books, but my favourite would be my first novel, Losing It. I was under no pressure to write it so I could take my time and make every sentence and description unique. I really love each of my characters in Losing It. The first book is always special. 

9. Are there any ‘taboo’ topics or subjects that you never include in your books?

I would write about anything if my publishers would allow me to, but with YA and children’s fiction, many topics are taboo. 

10. If you could go back in time, would you change anything in your published works?

I would change the name I write under. Lizzie Wilcock is my maiden name, but Lizzie Beck is my married name. I have often wondered whether book sales would be higher if I was at the start of the alphabet. Most people have found something they like by the time they get to the ‘M’ section in a bookshop or library.

11. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer, or to have their work published?

Do it! Don’t keep thinking about it for years like I did. Write that book, make it the best that it can be, do your research on publishers, then send it out to the right ones. 

12. Is writing your full-time occupation?

No, I am a full time primary school teacher.

13. What do you like to do in your spare time?

Write! Spare time is like diamonds – rare, precious, and very expensive to buy. I have an eight year old daughter, so that explains all.

14. What is your signature makeup look?

Foundation to hide my freckles, eyeshadow to match my clothing tones, charcoal eyeliner and mascara. Lip gloss in natural tones. 

15. What are your handbag beauty essentials?

Lip balm. I am too busy to bother touching up makeup at work.

16. What is your favourite lipstick and why?

I buy my daughter a ten pack of scented lip balms for Christmas every year from Lovisa. I usually end up with my favourite flavours in my handbag – strawberry, vanilla and sherbet. She never seems to notice.

17. What’s the one beauty sin that should never be committed?

I’m not sure what the beauty sins are, but I am sure I have committed all of them. But for me, I always make sure I get to the hairdresser before my greys start to show through again. 

18. What are your thoughts on girls around 15 years of age wearing a substantial amount of makeup?

I have three gorgeous nieces who are around this age. They wear a lot of makeup, but they have learned, mostly through watching YouTube, about what shades to buy and how to apply makeup to accentuate their features. Bright lipstick is a no-no. 

19. Which of your physical features is your favourite and why?

I like the fact that I am naturally slim and petite. This means I am still a size 6 or 8, without having to go to the gym.

20. If there was a piece of advice that you would give to your teenage self, what would it be?

“Listen to that high school English teacher. You have a talent for writing, so start writing. Now! Don’t leave it until your thirties.”

I’d love to extend my thanks to Ms Wilcock for being the subject of my debut edition of The Hive. Lizzie is so kind, helpful and funny and I’m so glad I was able to interview her.


Lizzie Wilcock is one of nine children and grew up in Sydney and later on a farm in rural NSW. She became a primary school teacher and has been teaching for over 20 years.

Her first novel Losing It, was published in 2006 and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. Her second novel, GriEVE, was published in 2007 and was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. The birth of her daughter in 2007 changed Lizzie’s focus from Young Adult fiction to Children’s fiction. In 2011 Lizzie had three novels published – Extinction: The Day the World Ended, Extinction 2: The Explosive Conclusion and Give Me Four Reasons. Her sixth novel, Thirst, was released in May.

Lizzie lives in Newcastle with her husband Phil, and daughter Isla. 

Click here to go to Lizzie’s blog/website.


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