From fairies to Einstein: storytelling with Ingrid Jonach | HerCanberra

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From fairies to Einstein: storytelling with Ingrid Jonach

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When you sit down and chat with local author, Ingrid Jonach, it is obvious why she makes such a good storyteller.

As we chatted about her latest book, When the World was Flat (and we were in love), Ingrid’s passion for her art was clear, as was her ability to spin a good yarn. It was also clear that Ingrid is not someone who just thinks about writing a novel. She actually writes it. She finished her last novel while planning her wedding and juggling a fulltime policy position in the public service. A difficult feat, some might say, but Ingrid wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ingrid and I met when we were both studying and living on campus at the The University of Canberra. In an environment where distractions were aplenty, Ingrid juggled her creative writing studies with working fulltime.

‘I am a self-confessed workaholic,’ Ingrid said.

‘If I didn’t have my writing, I’d probably be at work until 10 o’clock each night because I love to be productive.’

Ingrid has been writing for as long as she can remember. When she was young, she wrote about objects coming to life, school yard gossip and fairies. Her first full manuscript was finished at 13 years old and told the story of a magical ferris wheel. She now writes stories for kids and young adults.

When the World was Flat is a sci-fi romance aimed at young adults. It follows the story of 16-year-old Lillie Hart, who falls for a gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith. Over time, Lillie starts to suspect that Tom holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories of the two of them, together and in love.

Ingrid says the story was germinating for a while before she considered writing a book about it.

flat‘The book was really heavily inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – I’m really a big fan of that kind of romantic tension, when it’s done right. The other idea was around some of Albert Einstein’s theories and how this would create greater meaning behind why Lillie and Tom get together’.

Ingrid said Lillie is probably more aligned to her than any other character she’s written.

‘Lillie has got a really negative internal dialogue and I think that’s something that I’ve had, and a lot of other people do too – you’ll dwell on something you really shouldn’t dwell on. So even though her friends see her as the lynch pin of her group of friends, she is very insecure and unsure of who she is.’

Like Lillie, Ingrid has been on a journey of self-acceptance. Despite having written stories most of her life, Ingrid has only now reached a point where she feels comfortable calling herself a writer.

‘It’s only really now that I’m starting to own it,’ she said.

‘My balance in life is still very much see-sawing between my day job and my career and my writing.’

Ingrid says she’s often admired people who when asked what they do, respond with, ‘I’m a writer’.

‘I’m just waiting for that day when someone asks, ‘What do you do?’ and I respond, ‘I write books’, without even thinking about it.’

So if you happen to meet Ingrid in Canberra one day, make sure you ask her what she does for a living.

When the World was Flat (and we were in love) is available online, or at Dymocks in Canberra or Belconnen. Read more about Ingrid and her books here (


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