|Knocking on Hemingway's door in Paris|
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
At a very early age. I began winning writing competitions when I was eleven. Then as I got older I kept thinking I didn't have enough life experience to write anything worthy, so I went out to get it. University degrees, Creative Writing courses, High School teaching...travelling. I started novels, researched novels, but always felt too immature to tackle the issues I wanted to write about. It's only in the last few years that I've wanted more from my writing than writing flash fiction online, and short stories, travel articles and profile pieces for magazines and newspapers.
Hmm, I still feel too immature.I know you love to travel, what is the most amazing place you've ever visited?
|At the highest point of the Sahara Desert in Morocco with my Toureg guides|
I'm sure all your travels give you plenty of ideas to write about, but what inspires you the most?
That would be 'who'. People. I don't just thirst for travel just to see different things. Meeting the locals is my favourite part. But the more countries I visit, the more people I meet, I understand that humans are basically the same with similar needs and aspirations. Landscapes inspire me. Literature inspires me. I find life inspirational.
I see you have a couple novels in progress. Which one do you spend most of your time on? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yes, I have three novel in progress. I had to decide which one to finish first or I'll never finish any of them, so I've chosen my first novel, Ruby. All my novels include other cultures, issues, and things I've learned from my travels. Ruby is a contemporary romantic novel whose heroine is a young French girl who has come to Australia to follow her dream of owning her own hotel, a dream inherited from her father. The hero, Michael is an Australian sea captain who takes tourists whale watching, but his dream is to assist in the whale hunt, but on the side of the Sea Shepherd crew, whose aim is to inhibit the Japanese whalers in Antarctica. Conflicting dreams make this story.
What a great way to share your experiences. It sounds like a wonderful story. I'm looking forward to reading more.
Speaking of reading, what books have influenced you the most?
My favourite genre is literary fiction, but my tastes are eclectic. I love to read just about anything, really. As far as the most influential, Ernest Hemingway, Papa, has been my favourite since I moved beyond Heidi as a young girl. Maybe Hemingway's stories fed my urge to travel and my tendency to observe people. (I wasn't influenced by his hard drinking, lol!)
That's good! He did love his drink.
That's good! He did love his drink.
Last year I finally got to Pamplona in Spain, where he set his The Sun Also Rises. Can't explain the thrill of seeing the things he saw. I even blogged about a walking tour around Paris I took, Moveable Feast in hand, to see his Paris apartment and the square where he liked to eat and the coffee shops where he went to drink rum. I think the best writing advice ever, comes from Hemingway - write all morning, then go and rub shoulders with authors and people watch all afternoon and night. Read his Moveable Feast for that and other writing gems.
I just finished A Farewell to Arms, but I'll have to add A Moveable Feast to my list. I wonder if blogging counts as 'rubbing shoulders with authors'.
You have three great blogs. How long have you been blogging and what is the best part about it?
I started blogging in 2007 when I saw a competition for the best travel blog post. Five years is a long time in the blogosphere, where bloggers burn out in an average of three years or decide other social networking groups are more efficient. But blogging is my favourite, although it's very time consuming.
The best part of blogging is the people I've met and the things I've learnt about writing. Knowing how I love to travel, I have invitations from bloggers from all around the world to come and stay. Who can beat that? Currently I'm spending 6 weeks in Fiji, courtesy of blogger Nas Dean, who I met online years ago and formed a strong blogger friendship. Another favourite blogger, Charmaine Clancy, recently moved to my hometown, Brisbane, and we've hit it off so well we now have our own Writing Group and are collaborating on our first epic fantasy novel in between doing writing courses at the Queensland Writers Centre, the best one in the country. Can't beat the blogosphere!
That's for sure. There are so many wonderful people blogging!
But 6 weeks in Fiji! I'm a little jealous.
What do you like to do when you're not writing or traveling?
I like to run, to read, try a new restaurant, go for coffee, watch television and movies, and spend time with family and friends. Pretty ordinary. That's when I'm not checking out Lonely Planet.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
Well, I'm a political animal and a news junkie but I usually keep quiet about that as in these PC times, you aren't supposed to talk about politics. I can probably blame Hemingway for nurturing my strong political opinions as he wrote so much about war. I especially enjoyed his novels that explored the Spanish Civil War. I always have the 24-hour news on at home, so I usually know what's going on in most places around the globe, or at least the sanitised version. No listening to music while I write! It's a wonder my stories aren't pessimistic, but they're not. I'm a very optimistic person.
You're also very inspiring. I can't wait to get out and travel again myself. Well we're out of time for today. Thank you Denise for stopping by, I really enjoyed getting to know you and good luck finishing Ruby.