Hello again from a wintery Buderim. Having enjoyed an extended summer it did look for a while as though we might skip winter altogether but, no, bang on time it arrived with days of heavy rainfall and when that was finished the cold winds came in.
For me June has been a stimulating month, meeting more special people, but one where I have had to multi-task my writing. When I was working for a living that was the norm, but these days I try to focus on one thing at a time, however when needs must etc. it is a matter of just getting on with it.
On the Sunny Coast front, after trying to find a grant to help cover the costs of publication, I soon found that with the requirements and restrictions imposed I would possibly still be writing this book way into 2017. Being the impatient person I am, I decided to just push on and have faith that things will work out in the end.
So June has been a stimulating and busy month. Once again I have been fortunate to encounter some special people. Firstly I interviewed a Buderim lady who was integral in the establishment of the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Garden. This has long been a favourite place of mine, particularly at school holiday time when we had our young granddaughter for the day. It’s a place where children can wander freely, enjoy the bushland, play on the grassy areas and touch the wonderful sculptures dotted around the Sculpture Garden - a feast for the senses and completely away from the various forms of electronic entertainment that can fill their days. I had always known the Gardens were a joint project between Council and volunteers, and assumed Council had contributed the necessary money and volunteers provided the hands-on work. But I had not realised how much cash had been raised by the local community to ensure this project reached completion. Once again, it was bought home to me how enthusiastic and generous the people of the coast are with both their time and their money. No wonder it is a special place. It does the heart good to visit the Gardens, to see the car park full, knowing so many people are enjoying this peaceful haven.
My second interview was with a local author whose books I have read and then followed on Facebook for some time. Knowing Maggie Christensen also lived in the vicinity, I got in touch and asked if she would meet with me and talk about her writing life here on the coast. So over a coffee I met this delightful Scottish lady and enjoyed chatting about all things writing. While social media often comes in for criticism, one of the positive things is that it can bring people together who would never otherwise have met. This being one such meeting! It was a thoroughly enjoyable morning and I’m sure it won’t be the last. As a bonus I was given a pre-release copy of Maggie’s latest book which I was happy to read and review below.
As well as working on my forthcoming Sunny Coast book I have been out and about promoting Searching for Family and delivering copies to local bookshops. An unexpected delight was being asked to attend a meeting of a local writers’ group as an introduction before being invited as a guest speaker in August. What an interesting evening it was! They were a mixed crowd with quite a few young people who read their contributions and for the first time I found myself enjoying fantasy in the form of poetry and prose. Fantasy is something I have avoided reading as it simply didn’t appeal, despite its current popularity. But maybe I was too hasty – there were certainly some well written and entertaining pieces amongst them. So, in an effort to expand my horizons, this month I have started reading Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. When a policeman, discovers a headless body in Covent Garden and the first witness he talks to is a 200 year old ghost, one wonders where will it lead? It is an interesting concept to say the least.
Still on Searching for Family, I was touched and flattered to receive the following review from Linda, the owner of Autumn Leaves Books here in Buderim.
I finished reading this book recently. In a three day stint it kept me up during the night, finally finishing it at 2am in the morning. I didn't want the characters to leave my house and heart. A memoir written from the birds eye view as this is, makes for an intriguing page turning novel.
When I think of the number of books which must come her way through her business, such a review means a great deal. Thank you Linda!
My own reading this month was Madeline House by Maggie Christensen. Here is an author who is equally comfortable writing about both Australia and the Oregon Coast of America. Consequently the locations in her stories are well described, easy to envisage and sit very comfortably with the reader. This is the third in the series of Maggie’s Oregon Coast books and once again we meet some familiar characters as well as some new ones. There is something comforting about this - like meeting old friends - and writing about the same location immediately gives the reader a feeling of familiarity and being at home. Having said that, it is a book that can stand alone be enjoyed without having previously read the first two.
Like Western Australian writer, Liz Byrski, Maggie also writes about mature women, their problems and their strengths to overcome and move forward. Her characters are believable and her knowledge of and fondness for this part of the Oregon Coast is obvious in her writing. As with all her books, here again is a strong beginning and I soon became immersed in the story and the characters. The book is hard to put down.
That’s all from me now. Back next month.