By Rinkoo Ramchandani
When Robyn Flemming co-started WiPS with Polly Yu in the early 1990s, she never imagined that 30 years later she would be sharing the journey of her recently published memoir with its members in a virtual meeting from halfway across the world. On 6 June 2022, on a rainy Hong Kong evening, that’s exactly what she did, zooming in from an equally wet London where she was promoting her book, Skinful: A memoir of addiction (www.robynflemmingauthor.com).
Interviewed by WiPS committee member Rinkoo Ramchandani, Robyn touched on a wide variety of topics, including the publishing process and distribution, the vulnerability expected of a memoirist and the impact on relationships, her difficult childhood, her life as a perpetual traveller, and of course an addiction that haunted her for the better part of four decades.
Robyn openly shared her journey of drafts and rejections before she eventually found beta readers willing to give her valuable insights on how to transform the project into a marketable book. She considered self-publishing before the almost-seven-year labour of love finally resulted in contracts in Australia and the UK. Skinful is now available globally online.
Asked for her advice on the writing process, Robyn wisely suggested breaking a project down into manageable steps, seeking support along the way and being patient. Echoing the theme of the talk, It’s Never Too Late, Skinful was published as Robyn turned 69 and began planning her return to the nomadic life that had been paused only by Covid.
As the talk began to wind down, and a lucky draw was held for a copy of the book, Rinkoo asked Robyn a final question: as she approaches 70, what is it still not too late for? Her response will be no surprise to those who have read Skinful: “Romance!”