Category Archives: empathy

Michael Ball and Alfie Boe: Meet and Greet

Last night, two of the most cherished performers with two of the greatest voices in the UK were in Melbourne for one night only.  Michael Ball and Alfie Boe were on stage at Hamer Hall. 

 Alfie Boe and Michael Ball

Image may contain: 2 people

I could not believe my good fortune when the email arrived

CONGRATULATIONS!

You have won a VIP Meet & Greet Experience with Michael Ball & Alfie Boe!

This consists of:2 x tickets to see Michael Ball & Alfie Boe live in concert

A meet & greet with Michael Ball & Alfie Boe at the show, including photo and autograph opportunity

A copy of the Alfie Boe & Michael Ball CD ‘Together’

A copy of the Michael Ball & Alfie Boe tour programme

A commemorative concert laminate and lanyard

To claim your prize, simply respond to this email and indicate your preferred concert date and location:

 5 October 2017 – Queensland Performing Arts Centre – Brisbane, QLD
7 October 2017 – Arts Centre Melbourne – Hamer Hall – Melbourne,    11 October 2017 – State Theatre – Sydney, NSW
14 October 2017 – Adelaide Entertainment Centre – Hindmarsh, SA                      16 October 2017 – Crown Theatre Perth – Burswood, WA

Image may contain: 2 people

I immediately asked Carol-Anne to come with me. What she doesn’t know about stage productions is not worth knowing. I loved her theatrical stories and I soon got to know all about Ball & Boe and their musical journey

They performed many songs that many people have covered before, but they did something different to them. And the voices! they were individually superb and totally amazing when harmonizing.

Michael is a legend of musical theatre and Alfie is Britain’s most popular tenor. Both have played leading roles in Les Miserables and who could forget such songs as ‘Bring Him Home, Empty Chairs and Empty Tables and my favourite, I Dreamed a Dream. They sang these to a standing ovation. They held the audience in the palm of their hand. It was more than a concert it was a full on experience.

Their teamwork began in 2006 when they bonded on the musical theatre production of Kismet playing at the London Coliseum.  They found that they were both on the same wave-length. They cheerily brush aside the rules in their respective fields, are brave enough to try anything from Elvis to opera and ignore people who say they can’t step outside the box and sing something different. It’s that joy and spirit of musical adventure and superb harmonizing that resulted in them producing a CD titled … what else but Together. I’m delighted to see that their second album is nearly ready. The title? Why Together Again of course.

To listen to their glorious voices and to get an understanding of why they are so popular please go to Youtube and watch some of the videos. That way you’ll understand why I’ve become a full on fan.

MEET & GREET EXPERIENCE
Top priced ticket within first 4 rows on the floor to see Michael Ball & Alfie Boe live
Meet & Greet with Michael Ball & Alfie Boe
Professional photo opportunity with Michael Ball & Alfie Boe
Autograph opportunity
Michael Ball & Alfie Boe tour programme
Commemorative concert laminate and lanyard
Exclusive Michael Ball & Alfie Boe tour gift created for package purchasers
Designated check-in with our on-site event staff

On stage was and the superb voices of West End music theatre STAR, Michael Ball along with the fabulous classically trained Alfie Boe as well as a fifteen piece band ( including strings and brass) and three amazing backing singers.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the BEST live concert I have ever experienced!

bunch

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The Highs And Lows of The Writing Journey

As authors we are constantly told to write and share our journey. I decided to send a blog article to the Historical Novel Society of Australasia (HNSA) before presenting on a panel Sunday week (10th Sept) at Swinburne University

Here is a copy of that article and accompanying email by author Elisabeth Storrs

An inspirational story that gives heart to ‘later bloomers’ – Glenice Whitting joins us on the HNSA blog. https://hnsaustralasia.blogspot.com.au/2017/08/writing-and-publishing-hidden-stories.html

Glenice will be appearing in the ‘The Lie of History’: How the Mirror of the Present Shapes the Past for its Own Purposes with Wendy J. Dunn, Diane Murray, Gillian Polack, and Cheryl Hayden in our academic programme. http://hnsa.org.au/academic-programme/

Writing and Publishing Hidden Stories – by Dr Glenice Whitting

Writers often dream of being published and getting their work ‘out there’. I am no exception. I had just completed my Masters of Creative Writing at Melbourne University when my first novel, Pickle to Pie co-won the Ilura Press International Fiction Quest. This meant a cash advance, plus publication and I was beside myself with excitement. Pickle to Pie was the story of a boy, a great-hearted German Grossmutter and a man caught between two worlds. It was a record of my father’s life. In his late eighties he would sit for hours telling me, or whoever would listen, the stories of his early life as a boy with a German name living through two world wars and a depression. After he died I discovered a box of old German postcards and decided to write his story. In the process I came to terms with my previously hidden German heritage.

In any society, there are many forms of cultural and personal censorship that prevent the telling of tales considered unpalatable, unsavoury, subversive or insignificant. The result is that written history can be one sided, dominated by strong cultural groups, the stories of minorities unvalued and unrecorded. These stories cry out to be heard and with every life extinguished, we lose part of our collective memory. Writers can give voice to neglected stories of human beings who have been damaged deeply by world events.

To be a guest speaker at the Historical Novel Society’s Conference Academic Program Session four at Swinburne University is a dream come true. On the 10th September from 10am-11am our focus will be on the Lie of History. It is my chance to give voice to the children of German descent who lived in Australia during the last century and struggled to come to terms with their opposing worlds.

I had promised myself, if Pickle to Pie was ever published that I would give up my day job. Hairdressing had always augmented the family income through good times and bad. After the book launch I stuck to my promise, sold the salon and walked away to a life of poverty. I knew I was not a J K Rowling, but I was happy.

My second novel has just been published but it has been a long road to publication. This manuscript has had at least three reincarnations with a change of title each time. Each version has its own merit and has taught me something valuable about the craft of writing. The novel, ‘Something Missing’ began life as ‘Hens Lay, People Lie’: my artefact for my PhD at Swinburne University.

I had often toyed with the idea of studying for my PhD but never dreamt it could happen. However, to be awarded an APA scholarship meant the opportunity to study at Swinburne University. I grabbed it with both hands. With the help of two supervisors I could learn the craft of writing and understand all the rules. I would then know why I was breaking them. I decided to do what so many writers do. I chose to write something close to my heart. Something entirely different. This time it would be based on my thirty-five year pen-friendship with an older American poet, a story about two women, a life changing pen-friendship and the lies they tell each other. I wrote in my journal, I am writing an epistolary, autoethnographic novel grounded in both feminism and post modernist paradigms with the aim of revealing women’s hidden stories in the hope of instigating social change. I believe this embedded story of the journey of self discovery and friendship will carry with it the possibility of nothing less than the restoration of faith in human kind.’

What lofty aims, but here was a chance to use our letters, interspersed with text, to explore the influence this elderly poet had on a young woman who left school at fourteen to become a hairdresser: a woman who unconsciously yearned for the education given to her brother and denied to her. My journey into epistolary fiction using letter, diary and journal extracts, plus snippets of poetry, had begun.

I began work using an older American woman’s voice in first person narration; an elderly Australian woman in second person; and the young Australian mum in third person. The story would have embedded dialogue, following author, Debra Adelaide’s example, where only the formatting and actions of the characters, rather than dialogue marks, reveal to the reader who is speaking at that time. The elderly Australian woman would reveal the pitfalls and joys of writing a novel in a humorous, tongue in cheek, vein.

For three and a half years I am caught up in a world where my mind kept bouncing backwards and forwards between my creative writing of this novel and the formal academic exegesis.

Friends warned me that I would have a meltdown post PhD, but I was convinced that would not happen to me. I was too strong, too resilient. That sort of breakdown only happened to other people. The wail of the ambulance soon bought me back to earth with a thud. I asked my adult son what section of hospital I was in. He replied, ‘The resuscitation room, Mum.’ Two weeks later, just home from hospital and feeling weak and tired, I had resigned myself to missing my already paid for graduation ceremony. My son hired a wheelchair, determined I would make it.

There were only three PhD degrees awarded that night. I waited in the wings for all the BA’s, Masters and double degrees to be awarded before my son wheeled me over to join the queue waiting for their turn to hear their name called and to climb the stairs to the stage. Determined to walk under my own steam, doubts filled my mind. What if I couldn’t manage the stairs? What if I fainted, collapsed, or worse still, threw up when the chancellor, in all his finery handed me my much sort after certificate. What if…

To leave my wheelchair and walk on stage wearing the hired floppy Tudor bonnet and colourful gown was a highlight in my life. I had an overwhelming feeling of achievement and self worth that no one could take away from me. Afterwards, I thankfully joined my peers on the stage and proudly marched out with the academic procession only to flop into the wheelchair waiting by the door. The mature aged student journey from VCE to PhD had required passion, dogged determination and guts, but it had also been the most exciting, exhilarating time in my life. I knew I would miss it and all the friends I’d made along the way.

Using my recently gained title of Dr Glenice Whitting I sent my edited and, according to me, perfect manuscript out to publishers and waited for the offers to come rolling in. Nothing happened. Slowly, relentlessly, one after the other a stream of rejections arrived. ‘Thank you for sending Hens Lay People Lie, however…’

I was caught in a catch-22 situation. To get a publisher I needed an agent but to get an agent I needed a publisher. I also took a long hard look at what I’d written, and following the suggestions of American author/editor, Cindy Vallar, I inserted quotation marks to all the dialogue and renamed the manuscript ‘What Time is it There?’ Still the rejections arrived. It was ‘too academic’ too many voices, too literary, too hard to read and so on. Had I, over the years of study, begun to sound as if I’d swallowed a dictionary? I knew I had to, once again, rewrite the manuscript. It took a huge leap of faith to take it from literary fiction into popular fiction.

The third reincarnation is the one that is published. It was an invaluable lesson. To be a writer I had to be myself and write the way I really wanted to write, from the heart. I took out the overarching second person narrating character, made both Maggie and Diane third person narration, threw in a handful of suspense and Voilà …’Something Missing’ was born. It had gone beyond academia, beyond epistolarity into what is now called, popular faction. I was over the moon with excitement the day I received the email from Tim Ridgway and Melanie V Taylor of the international MadeGlobal Publishing. They loved the story and would I sign the contract?

Madeglobal Contact Form

It is every writer’s dream to hold their book in their hands. It gives them a chance to thank all the people who have helped along the way. There have been so many people I could list who have patiently and painstakingly worked with me through Pickle to Pie and all three versions of Something Missing. However, there is an indescribable joy in being able to finally thank them formally, via an acknowledgment page.

It is invaluable for a writer to participate in conferences and to be part of the Historical Novel Society of Australasia. The HNSA provides the opportunity to talk with readers and authors and discuss writing and promoting ideas. The members are so supportive and it feels like you belong to one large family. Why don’t you join us during this stimulating and inspirational weekend filled with talks, feedback and historical writing workshops? Go to HNSA and check out the program.

Glenice Whitting left school at fourteen to become a hairdresser. Her journey as a mature-aged student too her from VCE to PhD in creative writing. Her debut novel, Pickle to Pie, was published by Ilura Press. Her latest novel, Something Missing, was launched at Swinburne University in December 2016. Both books are available from Dymocks book stores and at her websiteSomething Missing is also available though Made GlobalBook Depository, and Amazon. Connect with Glenice on her website or on Facebook at Writers and their Journey.

As part of our HNSA 2017 academic program, Glenice will be discuss: The Lie of History: How the mirror of the present shapes the past for its own purposes with Wendy J Dunn, Diane Murray, Gillian Polack and Cheryl Hayden.

Admission to the academic programme is free but bookings are essential. You can find more details about Lie of History session on our website or buy tickets here.

HNSA 2017 Conference

The HNSA 2017 Melbourne Conference is being held on 8-10 September 2017 at Swinburne University.

This celebration of the historical fiction genre will showcase over 60 speakers discussing inspiration, writing craft, research, publishing pathways and personal histories in our weekend programme. Among the many acclaimed historical novelists participating are Kerry Greenwood, Kate Forsyth, Deborah Challinor, Libby Hathorn, Lucy Treloar, Sophie Masson, Sulari Gentill, Robert Gott and Arnold Zable. The HNSA’s speakers’ list is available on the HNSA website.

In addition to the two-stream weekend programme, there will be ten craft based super sessions and two research masterclasses.You won’t want to miss our interactive sessions on armour and historical costumes either! Purchase a ticket and you will be entered in the draw to win a $100 Dymocks Gift Card.

Historical Novel Society of Australasia Sept 2017

To be a guest speaker at the Historical Novel Society’s Conference Academic Program Session four at Swinburne University is a dream come true.

On Sunday the 10th September from 10am-11am our focus will be on the Lie of History. It is my chance to give voice to the children of German descent who lived in Australia during the last century and struggled to come to terms with their opposing worlds. I also want to reveal what it was like for a woman growing up in the USA and Australia during the fifties and sixties. These stories are often the hidden stories of the past. Unrecognised and forgotten. They need to be recorded and told.

SUNDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER 2017

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME

 TIME

10.00 am -12.30 pm (2 hours plus tea break)

Entry for anyone wishing to attend the academic program is free but bookings are essential due to limited space. http://hnsa.org.au/academic-programme/
VENUE

LEVEL   5,   ROOM AMDC  506

AMDC Building
Swinburne University of Technology
Hawthorn Campus

 10.00 am – 11:00 am Session Two
THE LIE OF HISTORY’: HOW THE MIRROR OF THE PRESENT SHAPES THE PAST FOR ITS OWN PURPOSES  

There is no question that we are constructions of our own times, and the writing of history is always shaped by those who recount the past for their own purposes. How does the mirror of the present day reflect and dictate the telling of history? Do we filter a version of history that tells more about us than the times of long ago through what we choose to reveal and erase? Dr Wendy J Dunn will discuss these questions with panel members Drs Glenice Whitting, Diane Murray, Gillian Polack, and Cheryl Hayden.

The HNSA conference is from Friday 8th Sept to Sunday 10th sept http://hnsa.org.au/conference/programme/ and the aim is to promote reading and writing of historical fiction.

My Abstract: Writing Hidden Stories

In any society, there are many forms of cultural and personal censorship that prevent the telling of tales considered unpalatable, unsavoury, subversive or insignificant. The result is that written history can be one sided, dominated by strong cultural groups, the stories of minorities unvalued and unrecorded. These stories cry out to be heard and with every life extinguished, we lose part of our collective memory. So how do writers give voice to neglected stories of human beings who have been damaged deeply by world events?

 

    

The Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) promotes the writing, reading and publication of historical fiction, especially in Australia and New Zealand. The HNSA was formally established in 2014. The society considers the historical fiction genre to be important to both the entertainment and education of readers as it contributes to the knowledge of the reader and provides a valid perspective beyond the viewpoint of the historian. Both the imagination and dedication of historical novelists present an authentic world which can enrich a reader’s understanding of real historical personages, eras and events. The HNSA conferences enable readers and writers to celebrate this genre and showcase the best of Australia and New Zealand’s literary talent.

Meet And Greet Author Day

 

Wendy Dunn and I are the Australian author representatives of the MadeGlobal publishing family and had our own table complete with our books, bookmarks, and our Madeglobal giveaway pens. An incredibly talented author, Kathryn Gauci took this lovely photo of us. Also authoring at the event was Rachael Nightingale, Elizabeth Corbett. Barbara Denvil and many others

It was a fabulous opportunity, not only to promote and distribute our own books but to support and learn from other authors. We were looked after by the library staff from the moment we arrived and even had our own authors lounge with free tea and coffee.

The photo below was taken of me in front of a green screen and my book superimposed. Amazing. Many thanks to Wendy Dunn for sending it to me via email.

 

Best Tip of the day

A Sales point reader

Two authors had sales point readers plugged into their iphones. I was fascinated by how easy it was for a reader who wanted to buy a book but didn’t have the cash on them to simply swipe their credit card. This is something I’m definitely going to look into buying over the next couple of days.

Mill Park Library was an excellent opportunity to  meet, greet and share writing journeys with other authors. This iconic library building  at 394 Plenty Road Mill Park Victoria opened in 2002 at a cost of $8 million and was the first library in Victoria to be designed on the concept of a hybrid digital/print library.

Location Photo

The Debut Day is an opportunity for emerging local and debut authors to connect with new readers and with each other. Writing can be a lonely occupation and most authors relish chatting to others and sharing experiences. The library was set up EXPO style! Authors promoted their books, chatted with readers and amongst themselves and even sold copies on the day.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the day chatting to our readers, meeting each other and talking about our writing journeys. We all agree that the first draft is written from the heart. After that we revise, revise and revise. To all budding writers always remember…

 

The Unspoken Secret

How I’m writing my third novel.

I never choose a story. The story chooses me. During my two writing classes at Godfrey Street Community House I always have at least twenty minutes stream of consciousness writing. We call it a splurge.  The idea is to knock the critic off your shoulder and with no thoughts about grammar or punctuation you write whatever comes into your head.

Doing this form of uncensored writing with other members of our group frees me from fear and perfectionism and the aim is to grow as a writer. It may not be my best work but the idea is to write from the heart.

So what has kept bubbling to the surface of my writing mind? I find I am having great fun writing my third book. Every time I put pen to paper, or tap away on my computer I find myself writing about two aging hairdressers and one has multiple affairs. However, the main focus of this book is revealed in the working title The Unspoken Secret. What else could it be about apart from old age. As an elderly friend said, ‘When you turn eighty…God help you.’

After reaching three score years and ten it is impossible to avoid the signs. The affects of gravity are everywhere and everything about you is dragged downwards. Your skin is wrinkled, you lose an inch in height and you have to wear glasses if you want to see anything clearly. But would you have believed that one day you would be old? That it is a fact of life? No. It is the unspoken secret

The only way to cope with the stark  reality is to make fun of it and simply get on with living.

The Senility Prayer. 

Grant me the senility  to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

I am having so much fun writing this book and by having time for me I am able to relate to others more fully. We recently flew to the Gold Coast to spend time with our two grandchildren. Aged ten and seven, Tahlia and Caxton lead active lives.

     

I watched them run around netball courts, soccer fields and football grounds and reveled in their athletic abilities

I clapped and cheered when the Broadbeach State School Choir won their way into the finals in August.

They are growing up so fast and one day they too will suddenly find that years have gone and it will be time for them to begin to understand the unspoken secret. I hope my book will help them to laugh at and find the funny side, plus the benefits of growing old. After all…who would complain about growing old when many people don’t have the privilege.

Guest Speaker at VIEW Luncheon

Different women, one view. How awesome is that!

I was invited as the author of Pickle to Pie and Something Missing to talk about how I became a novelist and my journey from VCE to PhD. I was to be the guest speaker at the VIEW Dingley Chelenham inaugural luncheon at the Keysborough Golf Club.

After receiving the invitation the first thing I did was to learn as much as I could, via the internet, about this amazing group of talented women. However, I was not prepared for the genuine welcome and friendliness of everyone there. Edna, Jennie and Kath, all from different VIEW clubs and part of the Development Team, plus the National president, Gwen Wilton took me under their wing. We laughed, shared stories and I learnt first hand about the many projects they embraced. Wonderful women, all with a story to tell.

I soon understood that VIEW was an acronym for voice, interests and education of women. They believe that every child deserves a chance and they live by Mother Teresa’s  belief in the joy of giving a gift when there is no chance of any return.

As Australia’s largest children’s educational charity, The Smith Family provides targeted educational support for disadvantaged students. There are 34,000 students in Australia currently supported by The Smith Family Group

As an APA (Australian Postgraduate Award) scholarship recipient for my PhD at Swinburne University I know only too well what a scholarship can mean to a student. I makes you feel as if some group has faith in you as a person, not only to deliver a 100,000 word thesis but also that your work will add to the sum of human knowledge. Someone cares enough to back you financially for three years. You are not alone. Someone is supporting you and your passion. For a mature aged woman student  it makes you stand tall and in my male orientated  world, money speaks louder than words.

VIEW’s pledge is to promote the interest of VIEW, extend friendship to all and to help those in need. One student William Nguyen was identified as needing assistance and with VIEW support is currently studying at Monash University. His story of growing up in a single parent home with three younger brothers in Sunshine and the importance of being supported and helped over the years was inspiring. He was such a humble, intelligent young man. I can see him going far in his chosen career.

The focus of this amazing group is to improve the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children. In this way they make a positive, sustainable and measurable difference. And they do it so well. The whole event was beautifully organised, speakers stuck to allotted times and the venue looked fantastic. But more important than that was the happy atmosphere in the room. They laughed, swapped stories and made the most of every minute. It was a joyous occasion.

This day was a celebration. The newly formed Dingley – Chelsea had the twenty-five members needed to form their own VIEW group and were being inducted into the VIEW family. There was even an amazing colour co-ordinated cake

Each new member was called forward to the podium, received their VIEW badge, shook hands with the National president of VIEW and smiled for the camera. The group photo  will surely find its way into the monthly magazine viewmatters.

After a delicious meal it was time for me to talk about how I never thought about becoming a writer until a twist of fate uncovered a passion that changed my studies at University from Sociology to Creative Writing. I shared with them my delight when my PhD novel, Something Missing was published by the London based MadeGlobal Publishing. From there I talked about the joys and pitfalls of returning to study as a mature aged student and the impact of being awarded an APA doctorate scholarship. How it meant I could complete my academic journey.

 I could also promote my books and pass on where to buy a copy of Something Missing

 

In December Something Missing, was published by Madeglobal Publishing.com and is available from www.madeglobal.com or www.glenicewhitting.com

Book depository (free postage): https://www.bookdepository.com/Something-Missing-Glenice-Whitting/9788494593765

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Something+missing+glenice+whitting

Amazon Kindle books: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MQKMUZZ?tag=theancom-20

Something Missing

Two women, two countries. Serendipity, life, friendship

Diane, a young Australian mother meets Maggie, a sophisticated American poet, in a chance encounter. Everything – age, class and even nationality – separates them. Yet all is not quite as it seems. Maggie is grieving for her eldest daughter and trapped in a marriage involving infidelity and rape. Diane yearns for the same opportunities given to her brother. Their lives draw them to connect. This is the story of two unfulfilled women finding each other when they needed it most. Their pen-friendship will change them forever.

 

Thank You, Dr. Charles French

This is my first reblog but I join many others in thanking Dr Charles French and Jennie for all their help and support over the years

A Teacher's Reflections

I posted on my blog yesterday, “A Gift of Charlotte’s Web.”  As I scrolled down to print a hard copy (yes, I have a hard copy of every blog post- it’s wonderful), I looked at the three suggested readings of similar posts.  One was titled, “Death and Dying and Chapter Reading.”  What? I could not remember the post, as it was quite old.  Well, I read it again, and it was terrific.

Then, I looked at the bottom of the post.  There was only one ‘like’.  One!  That ‘like’ was Charles French.  He has been a follower and supporter of my blog since way-back-when.

I learned everything I needed and wanted to know by following his blog.  I learned how to thank people, how to follow people, and how to reblog.  I learned, and Charles French kept reading and liking my blog posts.  His blog has become a favorite and a gold…

View original post 773 more words

Subscribers Button Fixed at www.glenicewhitting.com

Fantastic news. Webcare have fixed my subscribers button
Apparently it was a bigpond email problem…again

Please try to subscribe again at http://www.glenicewhitting.com for a chance to win a free copy of ‘Something Missing’ .

friendship 3

 

At the end of this month on the 27th of April I will randomly select a winner from my http://www.glenicewhitting.com webpage subscribers list and announce it here and on Facebook and twitter

GOOD LUCK 

The Victorian Writer

I’m delighted to be able to share an article about my writing journey published on page 22 of the The Victorian Writer magazine.

Anyone who wants to know what is happening in the writing world looks forward to this magazine. I believe they have 3500 members who delight in reading the articles and love the ‘competitions and opportunities’ page.

vic-mag-2                  new-book-cover-madeglobal

Beyond Academia

Writers often dream of being published and getting their work ‘out there’. I am no exception. My second novel has just been published but it has been a long road to publication. This manuscript has had at least three reincarnations with a change of title each time. Each version has its own merit and has taught me something valuable about the craft of writing. The novel, ‘Something Missing’ began life as ‘Hens Lay, People Lie’: my artefact for my PhD at Swinburne University.

I had just completed my Masters of Creative Writing at Melbourne Uni when my first novel, Pickle to Pie co-won the Ilura Press International Fiction Quest. This meant a cash advance, plus publication and I was beside myself with excitement.

small-final-pickle-cover

Pickle to Pie was the story of a boy, a great-hearted German Grossmutter and a man caught between two worlds. It was a record of my father’s life. In his late eighties he would sit for hours telling me, or whoever would listen, the stories of his early life, the first child born in Australia to his family of German immigrants.

I had promised myself, if Pickle to Pie was ever published that I would give up my day job. Hairdressing had always augmented the family income through good times and bad. After the book launch I stuck to my promise, sold the salon and walked away to a life of poverty. I knew I was not a J K Rowling, but I was happy.

I had often toyed with the idea of studying for my PhD but never dreamt it could happen. However, to be awarded an APA scholarship meant the opportunity to study at Swinburne University. I grabbed it with both hands. With the help of two supervisors I could learn the craft of writing and understand all the rules. I would then know why I was breaking them. I decided to do what so many writers do. I chose to write something close to my heart. Something entirely different. This time it would be based on my thirty-five year pen-friendship with an older American poet, a story about two women, a life changing pen-friendship and the lies they tell each other. I wrote in my journal, ‘I am writing an epistolary, autoethnographic novel grounded in both feminism and post modernist paradigms with the aim of revealing women’s hidden stories in the hope of instigating social change. I believe this embedded story of the journey of self discovery and friendship will carry with it the possibility of nothing less than the restoration of faith in human kind.’

What lofty aims, but here was a chance to use our letters, interspersed with text, to explore the influence this elderly poet had on a young woman who left school at fourteen to become a hairdresser: a woman who unconsciously yearned for the education given to her brother and denied to her. My journey into epistolary fiction using letter, diary and journal extracts, plus snippets of poetry, had begun.

I began work using an older American woman’s voice in first person narration; an elderly Australian woman in second person; and the young Australian mum in third person. The story would have embedded dialogue, following author, Debra Adelaide’s example, where only the formatting and actions of the characters, rather than dialogue marks, reveal to the reader who is speaking at that time. The elderly Australian woman would reveal the pitfalls and joys of writing a novel in a humorous, tongue in cheek, vein.

For four years I am caught up in a world where my mind kept bouncing backwards and forwards between my creative writing of this novel and the formal academic exegesis.

Friends warned me that I would have a meltdown post PhD, but I was convinced that would not happen to me. I was too strong, too resilient. That sort of breakdown only happened to other people. The wail of the ambulance soon bought me back to earth with a thud. I asked my adult son what section of hospital I was in. He replied, ‘The resuscitation room, Mum.’ Two weeks later, just home from hospital and feeling weak and tired, I had resigned myself to missing my already paid for graduation ceremony. My son hired a wheelchair, determined I would make it.

There were only three PhD degrees awarded that night. I waited in the wings for all the BA’s, Masters and double degrees to be awarded before my son wheeled me over to join the queue waiting for their turn to hear their name called and to climb the stairs to the stage. Determined to walk under my own steam, doubts filled my mind. What if I couldn’t manage the stairs? What if I fainted, collapsed, or worse still, threw up when the chancellor, in all his finery handed me my much sort after certificate. What if…
To leave my wheelchair and walk on stage wearing the hired floppy Tudor bonnet and colourful gown was a highlight in my life. I had an overwhelming feeling of achievement and self worth that no one could take away from me. Afterwards, I thankfully joined my peers on the stage and proudly marched out with the academic procession only to flop into the wheelchair waiting by the door.

The mature aged student journey from VCE to PhD had required passion, dogged determination and guts, but it had also been the most exciting, exhilarating time in my life. I knew I would miss it and all the friends I’d made along the way.

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Using my recently gained title of Dr Glenice Whitting I sent my edited and, according to me, perfect manuscript out to publishers and waited for the offers to come rolling in. Nothing happened. Slowly, relentlessly, one after the other a stream of rejections arrived. ‘Thank you for sending Hens Lay People Lie, however…’

I was caught in a catch-22 situation. To get a publisher I needed an agent but to get an agent I needed a publisher. I also took a long hard look at what I’d written, and following the suggestions of American author/editor, Cindy Vallar, I inserted quotation marks to all the dialogue and renamed the manuscript ‘What Time is it There?’ Still the rejections arrived. It was ‘too academic’ too many voices, too literary, too hard to read and so on. Had I, over the years of study, begun to sound as if I’d swallowed a dictionary? I knew I had to, once again, rewrite the manuscript. It took a huge leap of faith to take it from literary fiction into popular fiction.

The third reincarnation is the one that is being published. It was an invaluable lesson. To be a writer I had to be myself and write the way I really wanted to write, from the heart. I took out the overarching second person narrating character, made both Maggie and Diane third person narration, threw in a handful of suspense and Voilà …’Something Missing’ was born. It had gone beyond academia, beyond epistolarity into what is now called, popular fiction. I was over the moon with excitement the day I received the email that Tim Ridgway and Melanie V Taylor of MadeGlobal Publishing. They loved the story and would I sign the contract?

It is every writer’s dream to hold their book in their hands. It gives them a chance to thank all the people who have helped along the way. There have been so many people I could list who have patiently and painstakingly worked with me through all three versions. However, there is an indescribable joy in being able to finally thank them formally, via the acknowledgment page, in the soon to be published last reincarnation of the manuscript, ‘Something Missing’.

When academic friends say, ‘Congratulations on getting ‘Hens Lay, People Lie’ published’ I simply smile and reply with a heartfelt ‘Thank you’.
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Glenice Whitting left school at fourteen to become an apprentice hairdresser. Her journey as a mature –aged student took her from VCE to PhD in creative writing. Her debut novel Pickle to Pie won awards and was published by Ilura Press. Her latest novel, Something Missing was launched at Swinburne University in December and is now available via MadeGlobal in London or at Amazon.com.

Connect with Glenice on her website or on Facebook at Writers and their Journey

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‘Something Missing’ available at www.madeglobal.com & www.glenicewhitting.com

Radio Interview with Neil Wanstall

I’m so excited. Something Missing is on Amazon Kindle and my new website  glenicewhitting.com has been successfully made live today.

How wonderful to see a book you have published available on the internet, but how do you market and promote your latest novel? By doing everything you can to get the word out there. Let people know how thrilled you are to see this book find it’s legs, hopefully to run.

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 This week I found myself in the studio of 3WBC 94.1 fm at 4pm being interviewed by Neil Wanstall on his radio program Roundabout.

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I had to choose four songs to play to break up our chatter. My choices were:     The Impossible Dream (from Don Quixote)

Don Quixote: The Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha (2015)

The Rose by Bette Midler, Wild Horses and The Wind Beneath My wings because it reminded me of so many people who have supported and helped me along the way. All my writing projects have been a team effort. I have a long list of people who have inspired me over many years. How wonderful to at last have the opportunity to thank them via the acknowledgement pages of my book. You are right up front there Wendy, Mairi , Maureen, Carol-Anne,  Lisa, Julie and  Elizabeth…Wonderful women who                                                               nurture others.

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okay, so I am not used to taking selfie’s, but there was no-one around to take our photo. I’ll get the hang of it…one day. I may even remember to smile (scary thought)

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This is Neil’s attempt. What is the verdict. Better?

I found the whole experience exciting and time flew. Before I knew it Neil was  signing off and gradually, as I came back down to earth our conversation was a blur. What had we said? Hopefully it was all positive. However, my family say I’m the proverbial Pollyanna: eternally the optimist. But I also know that to get your book accepted by an international publisher like MadeGlobal all the planets need to align. And to market the book takes this thought to another level.

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Many thanks to Carol-Anne Croker for introducing me and organising my appointment. My thanks also go to Neil Wanstall, for placing me at ease, and kindly guiding me through this fascinating experience.