Have you always wanted to be a published writer?I always found – even as a child – that I experienced something special when I wrote, some kind of fulfilment that I didn’t get from anything else. It was as if my life became more dimensional. So naturally I was drawn to writing – and I was encouraged by my teachers to be a writer. However, I had no idea what the practical path to this was. I started out being an English teacher because I thought this was a way of being close to writing. Of course, I hadn’t factored in the endless corrections, the draining task of disciplining and the awful regular yard duty sessions – as well as the fact that it wasn’t the ideal occupation for the shyest person in the world like me. After a few years, I heard about a writing course at RMIT – and I instantly enrolled. That was where I wrote my first novel.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what one thing would you take?I know she’s not a ‘thing’ and I’m sure she would be very naughty at times but I couldn’t be without my best friend, Sally. She is my shadow – or perhaps I’m hers – and constant companion. She is a little red pomchi (ie. Pomeranian and chihuhaha) and she came to me five years ago via a ‘free to a good home’ sign in the local supermarket. I love her dearly.
What does being a published author mean to you?It means I’ve been given a privileged space – to read, to write, to reflect, to think about the world in a way that is not constrained by the demands of a conventional job. It also means I have a responsibility – to write faithfully and meaningfully, to be sincere.
What was your first job?A local aspiring politician was friends with my parents so he would pay my brother, sister and me fifty cents each to trudge up and down outer suburban streets delivering his pamphlets. I was too young at the time to take any interest in the kind of policies or the ethos espoused in those pamphlets but, looking back now – and reflecting on the many millions of dollars this man accumulated over the years through various questionable business dealings, particularly in real estate – I assume I would not take up the job if it were offered today (despite the lucrative pay deal!).
And lastly, what tips can you give to upcoming writers?I’d suggest reading and writing what they are passionate about and using their writing as a way of exploring their world. I’d also say that it is helpful to see your writing as part of a dialogue with other writing and with the larger world; what I mean by that is, I’ve found it helps to adopt an attitude that a piece of writing doesn’t have to be perfect, that it isn’t a final ‘thing’ that stands alone but rather that it is an energetic expression, something passionate and powerful that is part of a larger conversation.I guess I’m talking about participation and being part of a community to bring your writing alive, to give it meaning. That community might be other people you physically meet up with in a workshop group or it might be something less personal.
Thank you again Sue!
Keep being inspired,