When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was big enough to reach the pens on the “telephone table” in my childhood home.  Here’s a story I wrote at school when I was five.

Writing sample_2

On Thursday Matthew jumped on Lauren she started crying when the children looked for it they found it

It’s a great little story, except that I forgot to mention that her earring fell out when Matthew jumped on her.  That’s why the children were looking for “it”!

During high school I wrote a lot of stories and during uni, lots of academic stuff too.  In 2000 I started creative writing more seriously and in 2005 I made the decision to work towards publication.

How long does it take to write a book?

It took me around 2 years to write Measuring Up. Then it took another year to edit, polish and publish.  I could probably write a book much faster if I didn’t have to go to work!

This question is a bit like asking “how long is a piece of string”?  Every writer has a different process for writing and has a different amount of time they can devote to their writing.  A publisher (Allen & Unwin) has asked me to expand an essay I’ve written for Griffith Review and I have a year to submit that draft.  After that, there will be six months of editing, polishing and publishing.

Where do you get your ideas?

I’m an ideas collector and an eavesdropper and a bit of a spy too.  I’m always observing and when I notice something interesting or funny or curious or special, I write it down in one of my hundreds of notebooks.

What else have you written?

I’ve got a couple of junior fiction novels hidden in the bottom drawer.  You can read excerpts of them here.  I’m currently working on a children’s picture book AND I’m tidying up another Young Adult fiction.  I also write a column for my local paper the Bega District News www.begadistrictnews.com.au.

I’ve got a great idea for a book. How could I get published?

There’s no magic formula for achieving success in the writing world and I’m still learning myself.  Here are a few things I’ve discovered:

  •  It helps to network; join a local writers’ group and gain insight from like-minded people
  • Join the online community of writers and make use of the resources, information, courses, programs and wisdom they have available.  I like:

Varuna the Writers House                       www.varuna.com.au

Australian Society of Authors                https://www.asauthors.org/

Australian Writer’s Marketplace           https://www.awmonline.com.au

NSW Writer’s Centre                                  http://www.nswwc.org.au/

  • Read lots – Read the kind of stuff you like to write.
  • Do your research and take notice of the publishers who publish the type of story you’re writing.
  • Don’t give up… if you think you’ve got something really special then don’t let a rejection letter stop you!