My love of creating words on paper started with writing thank you notes to Aunties and Uncles when I was a child. Ever since then a visit to the newsagency is my idea of bliss. The smell of fresh magazines and the newspaper ink combined with the fusion of colour draws me down the aisles. It reminds me of Saturday mornings with my Nanna as we collected our ordered copies of ‘Jack and Jill’ and ‘School Friend’ magazines. And they came once a month from England! From England! Where Prince Charles and Princess Anne lived and where every ancient castle was full of ghosts and secrets. At 8 years of age I imagined wearing a hooded cassock and sneaking along a secret passage that led underground from the boarding school to the abandoned Abby as the bell tolls midnight.
But none of this was the inspiration for my first published story that I wrote while attending a writing class in the old South Brisbane Town Hall in 1980. ‘Lily’ was an erotic story I’d written for homework. It got me hooked on writing for an audience and I’m grateful to the magazine that published it, even though they folded before paying me. The thrill of seeing the story in a glossy men’s magazine and handing it around for everyone to read got me over the hurdle of being self conscious about content.
When I’m about to create a story, I get a feeling of unrest, mingled with excitement bubbling away somewhere in my solar plexus. I plan and plot while washing up and jot down bits of dialogue and landscape until I have an outline that just has to be filled in, completed and tidied up. Often I have three stories tied up in one and I need to separate what’s important, putting the rest away for another time.
I write for a hobby and this has led me to meeting other writers and learning the craft by attending workshops and seminars. I’ve self published books when I’ve had something useful to say and the audience is small. A boutique audience, I suppose you could say. Writing has opened so many doors for me in many genres and I’m in wonder at the experiences that keep happening to me. Of course, I use these as fodder for my stories.
20 years ago I said I wanted to live at the beach and write and I’ve been doing that ever since.