This Writing Life
Creative writing has been a passion since my teenage years when I wrote poetry, usually reflecting my feelings about social issues or newly discovered love. During my teens and early twenties I also entered public speaking competitions, often including snippets of my poetry in my speeches on particular subjects, for example: the threat of nuclear war, mental illness and pacifism. University studies (1978-1982) saw me concentrating on assignments and afterwards full-time work and parenting didn’t allow much time for writing, although I managed to produce short stories, poems and articles, some of which have been published in journals and anthologies. But only since I took early retirement in September 2008, have I been able to devote extensive time to creativity.
Since 2008 I have written three novels. In April 2014 Odyssey Press published ‘Sannah and the Pilgrim,’ the first of a trilogy, which presents a dystopian view of a future Australia. The second book, ‘Pia and the Skyman’ is to be published in March 2016 and I am currently writing the third, ‘The Sky Lines Alliance.’ Although the trilogy is set in the future, I want readers to grasp what is happening in contemporary Australia with regard to government policy on climate change and the inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. Words and statements like ‘illegals’ and ‘turn back the boats’ appal me, so I have created a world where Pacific Environmental Refugees are given sanctuary but they and their descendants are treated as third-class citizens, fed incorrect versions of history and led to believe they caused the inundation of their islands.
My third novel, ‘Safety Zone,’ for which I am seeking a publisher, deals with gender equality, pacifism and the problems that can arise within a tight-knit religious community. It is a ‘What-if’ story – what if I had married the suitable Quaker boy and not the ‘larrikin’ I have been married to for forty-five years. In ‘Safety Zone’ I have drawn on many aspects of my adolescence and young adulthood in England, however the three central characters bear little resemblance to the real people.
My goal as a writer is to continue writing novels, which focus on the social issues that concern me. I also hope to develop my scriptwriting skills and find producers willing to take on my projects, currently a feature film ‘Sand, Saviours and Spotted Dick,’ based on my father’s unusual experiences in Naples during and after WWII, and a pilot for a TV series adapted from my novel ‘Sannah and the Pilgrim.’
I took a risk in giving up paid work seven years ago to concentrate on writing but have no regrets. Living adventurously by spending hours ensconced in my beautiful garden studio, made by my husband, Mark, is making retirement the best time of my life.