I was born and mostly raised in the beautiful city of Perth in Western Australia (WA). I also spent parts of my childhood in Port Hedland in the Pilbara and Kalgoorlie in the WA Goldfields.
Perth offers a great lifestyle. With a population of about two million, it’s small enough to maintain a relaxed vibe but still big enough to offer many career and study opportunities and a great dining, shopping, arts, sports and community scene. Plus, some fabulous getaways are possible within only a few hours’ drive. WA has stunning coastlines, beautiful forests, world-renowned wine regions, weird rock formations (Pinnacles and Wave Rock) and, of course, the unique beauty of the Australian outback. Perth itself has excellent beaches, many great parks and the picturesque Swan River and Perth Hills.
Lonely Planet just named WA one of the thirty best places to visit in 2023. Forbes also placed Perth as the 9th best place to travel to next year. Come on down!
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
The natural beauty, the lifestyle and the people. I don’t think I’ll ever leave. Our premier also did an excellent job of keeping us safe during the worst of covid. We are very fortunate to call Perth home.
Almost all of my friends and close family live here. I love that there are just two degrees of separation in Perth— everyone knows everyone or knows someone you know (which means you have to behave). The feeling of connectedness is special and is also one of the reasons I am drawn to story. WA also has a very supportive literary scene with some incredible writers.
As I write this (in November, which is our spring), the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom, which means masses of eye-popping purple flowers everywhere. I feel like I’m in another world just looking at them. People are also starting to put up their Christmas decorations, so that is exciting! During dusk, you can hear the chatter of little kids being taken on tours of the neighbourhood lights by their parents. Again, there is that buzz of community spirit and connectedness.
What turns you on creatively?
Everything and anything. Life. My ideas come from daydreaming, wondering what my life would be like if I went back in time, if I made different choices, if I was Jeff Winston in Replay. My brain often burns thinking about different ‘what if?’ questions or trying to solve a fictional mystery or personal dilemma. Books, movies, TV shows, news articles, music, photography and nature are also excellent sources of inspiration for me. I am the annoying person who shouts, ‘I know who did it!’ or, ‘I bet this happens,’ during the movie (my husband deserves a medal). Other people’s stories, body language and conversations (some of which I’m not a part of— shh, don’t tell) are also great fodder for the creative well.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
My favourite word for the last few years has been ‘ideas’. Chocolate is a good one too.
Without ideas, there is no story, no innovation, no scientific discovery, and perhaps no curiosity or hope. It is the source code of our lives.
Here is a cautionary tale for those toying with the ‘idea’ (get it?) of seriously writing:
Now that the trapdoor to the subconscious was open, there was a deluge of ideas spilling over into her conscious mind, building to a deafening roar until they were written down and given permanence in ink and paper. Not even a dozen lifetimes could flesh them all out.
There was no shutting the trapdoor once it was open.
What is your pet peeve?
Time wasting; also, free-loaders. I’m time-poor and always write to-do lists that are far too long, which is not doing me any favours. I tend to be a bit of a chronophobe* because I’m afraid of not getting everything done and running out of time. Some of this is because I’m conscious of my own mortality. I also find chaos and disorder stressful. And yet another part is related to me being a doer, which others sometimes take advantage of. Too bad for them, I took up writing.
If I had a superpower, it would be to freeze time. If I were a mad scientist (or Tony Stark), I would have invented a time-dilation machine (I spend a day in my office writing, but only one second passes on the outside). My secondary superpower would be the ability to write a bestseller in a month.
*I may have made that word up.
What defines Esme Lee Wilmot?
Gosh, this was a hard one. How I would like to be defined and how I am defined are probably not the same thing.
I want to be defined by my ideas, stories, words, messages, advice and actions. I would like these to convey that I’m a deep thinker and an ‘ideas’ person who has good intentions, speaks the truth, works hard, and exhibits integrity and organisation. I would also like to be defined as a good friend, daughter, wife, mother and workmate— someone who’s got your back.
Who am I, really? Perhaps you should be the judge. I’m a middle-aged wife and mother of two who works part-time as a metallurgist. I only watch TV on Saturday night because every other night is spent doing homework (writing and reading). My marriage is rock solid, and I know this because my husband just watched all three seasons of Twin Peaks with me. I’m still Googling to figure it all out (and the more I do, the more I love it).
I have a cheeky sense of humour and love a bit of adventure. I am drawn to the dark and the strange, caused by my fascination with the things I don’t understand and my attempts to rationalise my own fears. Darkness is also a quality inherent to human nature. Naturally, my favourite genres are thrillers, mysteries, crime, sci-fi, fantasy and comedy, especially dark comedy.
My biggest fears are something happening to my kids, followed by (not in any particular order) rejection, failure and regret. I definitely fear regret more than I fear failure, which probably explains my obsession with making the most of my time. I also feel strongly about justice and standing up for what’s right. My favourite stories are often about the underdog winning or people triumphing over great odds. They provide tremendous hope.
I feel happiest when my ideas, advice and work help others. This is why story is so powerful and magical to me. It’s been a constant friend my whole life. If I can write a story and it touches just one person, be that to entertain/comfort/distract them, validate their own values, give them a new perspective, get them thinking, or, best of all, impart the key message, themes and ideas I’m trying to get across, then mission accomplished. When that happens, all those homework nights are worth it. The feeling is priceless.
Esme is a metallurgist and writer of speculative and contemporary fiction. She was selected to participate in the 2019 KSP 1st Edition Retreat, the 2020 Four Centres Emerging Writers Program, a 2020 KSP Fellowship and the 2021 ASA Award Mentorship Program for Writers and Illustrators. Her work has appeared in the Underground Writers Zine and on Spillwords. When she is not reading and writing, she looks after her two children and garden in Perth, Western Australia.