What is your background?
Born in Brisbane, I completed a BA DipEd at the University of Qld, travelled the world and completed an MA in Montreal. A practising teacher, I have taught at many schools, specialising in English and Literature.
Tell us about your book
My writing has grown out of teaching – articles for magazines as well as co- writing Points in Time and Points of Departure. Writers World was a natural extension of my interests and the need I saw to encourage others to write – to foster the creative spirit in all of us. Attractively designed and user-friendly, the book describes the processes of writing and is accessible to all ages. The metaphor of the world runs through its pages – this includes bubbles and raindrops that my friend and colleague Bernadette Curtin photographed and painted, and the recurring image of the balloon flying over the valley to indicate flight and inspiration.
Where would you suggest people go for assistance if they want to write?
There are interesting courses at many colleges including the Council of Adult Education. The Victorian Writers’ Association is a good organisation to belong to. The Victorian Association of Teachers of English (VATE) also has a book-room and an online service.
What do you think is the hardest part of writing?
Believing in your own ability is the hardest part. Afterwards, the process of keeping going, proof-reading and editing – you need to be quite ruthless about what is working for you.
How would you suggest people start if wanting to write a book?
Keeping diaries and journals of ideas is a good place to start. Many writers listen carefully and observe closely, and record their impressions and experiences. Find a mentor or someone with experience who can help you through the processes of writing and publishing.
Six tips for people who would like to write (and haven't written before)?
1. Read widely and check how books are written and printed.
2. Jot down ideas and decide on your focus - autobiography, historical, mystery, science fantasy.
3. Explore characters, landscape, images. Be specific.
4. Work on structure – chapters, using frames, climax, resolution. Free-
flowing ‘stream of consciousness’ may be your style but it will still need controlling and shaping.
5. Short stories are manageable - several stories can later be connected to form a larger work.
6. Find your own voice and experiment.
What is your concept of retirement?
I couldn’t just laze on a beach somewhere - I would want to be stimulated and continue an active cultural life as well as enjoy the delights of family and friends. Students always need mentoring. The availability of books has never been greater and the internet constantly evolves. I would run a film group.
Do writers ever retire?
Writers never retire. The world is full of challenges – the good thing about experience is that’s there’s more of it as you get older and all the more reason to share it.
Where can people buy your book?
Dymocks has Writers World in their shops, presently discounted 15% – the book is also available on line.