Well here we are on the Next Big Thing and this week I am it. Nominated by the very talented writer Jane Risdon whose blog you will find at wp.me/2dg55 – do have a look as it makes very interesting reading indeed.
I’ve read a few of these blogs now, including Jane’s and Anne Ireson’s both of which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I just hope I can do as well with mine.
The questions prepared for me to reply to are:
When did you first realise you wanted to write?
One of my earliest memories, apart from the one of my mother sewing her finger to a dress she was making, is of sitting at the kitchen table with pencil and paper, and rather than drawing like most kids at the age of 4 would choose to do, I pestered my mother about how to write words for my ‘story’. The genre of choice back then was usually the life of cats of the household, or cows and calves in the dairy that had each been named by me personally.
My mother was an excellent teller of stories and loved nothing better than to grab a few spare moments in the day with me and write great yarns about life on the land, droving cattle, milking the dairy cows, the big sale days at the stock yards and of the violent summer storms that brought us the much needed rain for the paddocks, as well as the homestead water tanks.
As I grew older I put my writing to one side while I studied nursing, and didn’t get back to it until my move to New Zealand with my first husband where I wrote about topics of conversation and concern of the day, and hand rearing Fresian calves and pigs on our 15 acre farmlet. Being an honest Australian, I wrote as I saw it, but my husband said he was embarrassed by my frank opinions published in the local newspaper, The Southland Times. So once again writing was shelved until I felt the pull a decade later, to take up the pen again, by then a single mother and a cancer survivor.
What are you working on at the moment?
As Jane mentioned in her blog, I have four books on the go as WIPs. In reality I have a few more besides. My main pieces I’m working on though, are a book about an elderly woman who decides to do something for herself after having spent many years being the dutiful wife and nurturing mother of a large family, and she plans her road trip round Australia. Getting going is the hard part because of all the drama her family and friends bring to her door. Currently I have thoughts of making the story as 2 books as I don’t want the first one to be too long so that the reader will get bored with it all (as I do with long dragged out books).
The fun part of this book will be when she gets on the road and visits friends and relatives she has lost contact with over the decades – Isla (the feisty lady), wants to know why they shelved her in their lives, and along the way they all find things out that is life changing to say the least.
My other 2 main WIPs are at each end of the spectrum as far as contrasts go. One is about a young man who is grieving the death of his beloved grandmother and has his beliefs and ideals turned upside down by the jealousy and nastiness of his family when the will contents is revealed.
The other is based on 4 couples, all wealthy in their own rights, professionals, movers and shakers of the business world who together attend a Day on the Green, an all day concert at a country outdoor venue. There they meet two girls, one of which attracts the attention of one of the males and one of the females of the couples. The party carries on through the night at the mansion of one of the couples, with dire consequences and the potential to ruin everyone’s career, life and social standing.
Is there anything else you are working on?
Yes I have several other works on the go, and one day I will have to bite the bullet and sit myself down for a full year or two and do nothing else until they are all complete. I won’t bore you with the details here though.
What do you read and do you have any favourite authors?
I read virtually anything that appeals to me. I enjoy light hearted lifestyle stories, romance, family sagas (Penny Vincinzi being a fave here), saucy and involved such as the style of Jilly Cooper, good kids’ books of all kinds, especially the Harry Potter series, and biographies. I adore anything written about the Kennedy family (President JK and Jackie etc) and the Clintons as well as other American politicians. Sadly I find most of their Australian counterparts dull and boring in comparison.
My favourite authors are many including Mary O’Sullivan, Santa Montefiori, Penny Vincinzi, Jilly Cooper, Nicky Pelligrini, Elizabeth Buchan, Roisin Meaney, Cathy Kelly and the late Maeve Binchy. I also read many others such as Marian Keyes, Victoria Connolly, Sarah Webb, Shirley Benton, Melissa Hill and a variety of Irish girls – you can always depend on a good laugh in a story written by one of the Irish girls.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Forever! I have the bad habit of editing and re-reading and re-writing the pages written the day, week, month before. Then I proceed from there, only to do the same the next writing session. I dislike doing the same chore twice so I try to avoid that at all costs. Whether this method will pay off in the end or not, who knows?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Well I would like to think that I will find a publisher to do all that for me, but realistically it seems as if the quickest way to be a published author these days is to be a self-published one and mainly in Kindle. So we will just have to wait and see for that one.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
In my road trip book I’d like someone really earthy, educated and intelligent to play Isla – someone like Dame Judi Dench would be perfect! (Dream on I can hear you saying). With the book about the couples which I call my ‘Melbourne book’ I’d like to see Ewan McGregor, Dennis Quaid, Glenn Close and Charlize Theron as some of the main characters. We can all dream though can’t we?
Last year I had the great privilege and excitement of having four of my short stories published in an anthology of short stories, called ‘Telling Tales‘. The idea was born on a face book page created by the lovely Sue Welfare where we submitted short stories or just a paragraph of a story each week for each other to read, comment on and encourage. The proceeds of the book published as an eBook as well as printed version, went to the Norfolk Hospice near where Sue lives.
It was a proud moment for me when my work colleagues kept coming to my desk to inquire where they could purchase a copy. Their feedback on my stories was very encouraging for me to keep doing what I love.
My other passion as many of you will already know, is my garden. We live on a few acres here in Victoria, and the climate lends itself nicely to the English country garden type of plants, which I love, despite being a born and bred Queenslander of the tropics! I adore roses especially David Austen heritage blooms. Poppies, daffodils, tulips, camellias azaleas, wisteria are among my favourites in my garden. I have so many daisies that form beautifully flowering hedges, I often think we could name our place ‘The Daisy House’.
For the next ‘Next Big Thing‘ I have nominated some very talented and wonderful writers, all with varying degrees in success in their chosen field. They all deserve to be read and applauded, so I hope you will all visit this blog again for their links which I will post here for easy (I hope) access. They are, Ruth Gilhool, http://wp.me/P2W5eu-7
Robin Greene, (whose address I will add as soon as I have it)
Megan Wynne http://www.meganwynne.com/category/blog/
and Neil Jameshttp://nealjames.webs.com/apps/blog/
I’m hoping Jean Long will be well enough to do it too. Sadly Carol Matthews and Lizzie Lamb had to decline due to other commitments.
One last thing I would like to mention, is that I am new to blogging and had a panic attack almost when Jane Risdon asked me to do this – I didn’t even have a blog, so I had to build one…..it was ok but I knew it could be so much better….then Nettie Thomson came to the rescue and offered her services for which I am so grateful. Nettie made my blog beautiful and is always there for help and to answer my silly questions on what to do or how to do something.
Should you need any help with your blog or to set up a blog of beauty, please don’t hesitate to contact Nettie at Meldrum Media. Contact Nettie on her blog at http://wp.me/p2R and I’m sure she will be only too happy to help you. I thoroughly recommend that you do!!