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Interview about Writing

Here is a copy of an interview I had with the aussiewriters blog spot earlier this year.

What inspired you to write your books? For a number of years women asked me to write a book about what I was teaching them at different conferences. I suppose they were the ones who finally pushed me into actually doing it. The inspiration had been there for a long time–a God-given dream.

The inspiration to share our family’s journey of life in the barn was also bubbling away inside for some time, but was translated into action by many letters from people who had read my emails about all the fun and dramas we were having: “You should write a book!”

It’s all very well to have the inspiration, but at some point, you just have to start.  What do you find is your biggest struggle as an author? That would have to be finding the time to get away from my busy life and write. I have so many ideas, so many books I want to write, but how on earth am I going to find all those extra hours in the day?? (I’ve already given up ironing…) What were your favourite authors as a child? C.S Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein. I loved them! What made you decide to become a writer? My passion has always been to be a communicator and an encourager. I love to write songs and to speak, and the desire to write flowed very naturally on from that. I guess I have always been a writer for as long as I can remember, if you count keeping a journal. 🙂 When I was an eight year old in New Guinea I entered a writing competition and actually won it! The prize was a first edition copy of Tolkein’s new book, The Fellowship of the Ring!!! Dad read it aloud to us by tilley light in the evenings. What a cool prize.

Describe your journey to publication. In 2000 my children and I wrote and illustrated The Happy Prince and some time later we were given the money to self publish it. This was later picked up by CMCA for distribution. Then in 2001 my husband paid for me to do a writing course with The Writing School–my requested birthday present! I think he only did it because there was a clause in there that said that they would refund the money if you hadn’t been published by the end of the course. He was somewhat disappointed when I got my first story published in an American magazine at the end of the first year.

I sent many short stories off to dozens of magazines and received countless rejections. Not easy! I grew to dread opening the letterbox. But the acceptances began to trickle in from American magazines and then I had several articles published in the NZ School Journal. I was also offered a regular column in The Parenting Magazine–right up my alley.

I began writing The Gift of Values series and contacted CMCA to see if they’d be interested in publishing it. I was delighted when they enthusiastically said yes. And so began my connection with HSM Australia, who have gone on to publish both The Gift of Values series and The Barn Chronicles series.  What are the themes running through your work? My real passion is to encourage parents in the somewhat scary but hugely rewarding task of discipling their children in Christian values. And I LOVE to write about the joy of family life.  How do you do your work and what medium do you use? I type my manuscripts on my laptop, albeit with two fingers. (But I just recently read that Tolkein only typed with two fingers so I find myself in great company.)  Tell us something about your latest book. My latest book to be published is the second in The Barn Chronicles series, called Where Arrows Fly. It tells of the continuing adventures and fun that the Boom family have had in their second year of living in their ancient barn. Milly is now aged 11 and has an ever growing collection of animals. But she dreams of having her own milking cow. However when the time finally comes, she discovers that training a house cow is not as easy as she thought it would be.

The story is full of family fun and dramas–an eclectic mix of bows and arrows, camping in Lantern Waste, canoeing flooded rivers, broken bones and stroppy cows. “In a world bursting with shock-value and fast-paced cheap thrills, Where Arrows Fly is a simple piece of sunlit childhood.” Emma Jelsma, Scene Magazine.

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