Meeting Other Writers And Sharing Ideas

It is so important not to lock yourself away in an attic to produce your latest work. Writers need to be with other writers, to share ideas, successes and discuss problems.

Last Sunday I caught a bus to the station and spent an hour reading as the train rattled its way to the city. Melbourne was buzzing. Buskers performed, played unusual instruments and generally entertained. The street market was in full swing. A French style black felt hat caught my eye but at $120 was soon replaced on its stand. The Yarra river was bustling with boats ferrying happy passengers and the coffee shops were full.

At the Vic Restaurant at the Art Centre under the spire I met a group of Hysterical Melbourne Historical writers.

It was so uplifting to sit and talk about our latest projects and discuss the highs and lows of the writing life. I know Pickle to Pie fits nicely into Historical Fiction but I’m afraid Something Missing and this latest book are a little too modern.  But it doesn’t matter. What matters is to be communicating with like minded people. It refreshed my soul and inspired me to jot down hasty notes in the train going home and pound the keyboard of my trusty computer late into the night.

 

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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 

Moving to https://www.glenicewhitting.com

I have been told that my blog should now be at my new wordpress website so I am moving to www.glenicewhitting.com

I invite anyone who has enjoyed my rambling blog about my life/writing/ publishing/marketing and experiences with MadeGlobal Publishing to join me at  www.glenicewhitting.com. 

For all future blogs just click on the link www.glenicewhitting.com. and whatever you do, please SUBSCRIBE.

IT COSTS NOTHING and you will be notified once a week when I post a blog. If you don’t want to see what marketing a book is all about at least you will get one of my quick and easy recipes to keep you going when you are up to your ears tapping away in front of the computer,  jotting down your memories in an exercise book or madly marketing your latest novel and writing the next.

Here is my favourite recipe to keep body and soul together. You can even make this dish when unexpected guests arrive right on lunch time and it will still look as if it took hours to prepare. It is filling and nourishing.

Quick and Easy  Salmon or Tuna  Quiche

One 500gm  block of cheese

3 tabs flour

1 tab dried onions

1 tin Salmon or Tuna

6 eggs

Half a cup of milk

Ingredients

Method

In a bowl grate the block of cheddar cheese, add 3 tabs flour and 1 tab dried onion and mix together.

In a greased flan/pie dish place half the cheese mixture, spread over a drained tin of salmon, top with the rest of the cheese mixture

Mix six eggs with the milk and gently pour over the cheese/salmon mixture

Top with extra cheese squares and sprinkle with sweet paprika

Microwave for 10 mins, then bake for 30 mins in moderate oven

 

Serve with tossed salad and crusty bread. I find it is not only tasty but satisfying. Have fun and I hope I see you at www.glenicewhitting.com

 

                  

I’ll look forward to catching up with my friends at my new wordpress website www.glenicewhitting.com. 

 

Celebrating Women Writing History

An excellent Saturday afternoon at the Eltham Library talking with other authors about why we write history.

Catherine Padmore (on the left) from La Trobe University was excellent as chairperson for our panel discussion

Most of the authors attending write amazing books about Tudor Queens or fascinating people who have led interesting lives. I have eventually accepted that I write to unravel my recent history;  to delve into my past. To look back at the world of my parents leads to understanding them as people, their culture and their lives. By doing this often I come to terms with my past and finally understand many of the decisions I have made along this fascinating life journey.


Program: organised by

Wendy J Dunn, author of Falling Pomegrantate Seeds along with several helpers

Women’s History Month at Eltham Library
Panther Place, Eltham, Victoria Australia 3095

Generously supported by Eltham Library, Swinburne University and Madeglobal.

Eltham Library celebrates Women Writers of History by giving readers of history the opportunity to meet local (writers living in or near Melbourne) women writers of history in a series of readings and panels.

Sunday, March 5th
1.15 to 2.45
Panel discussion:
Why women write history.

Authors taking part:
Kelly Gardiner
Barbara Gaskell Denvil
Elizabeth Jane Corbett
Kate Mildenhall
Glenice Whitting
Kathryn Gauci

Chaired by Catherine Padmore.

2.45 – 3.15 Afternoon tea

3.15 – 4.45
Historical Fiction readings and book discussions.
Kathryn Gauci, Barbara Denvill and Wendy J. Dunn

Bookings taken by the Eltham Library, Phone: (03) 9439 9266, or book your ticket here: https://www.trybooking.com/256904

Saturday, March 11th

Starting at 12.30pm with readings from and discussion about their works:

Katie Holmes, Janis Sheldrick, Christina Twomey, Liz Conor

Afternoon tea

Starting at 2.30 pm.

Panel –
Liz Conor, Katie Holmes, Christina Twomey
What draws you to write about the past?
Chaired by Wendy J. Dunn
Bookings taken by the Eltham Library, Phone: (03) 9439 9266, or book your ticket here: https://www.trybooking.com/256928

March 18th
Meet the author day.

Elise McCune
Wendy J. Dunn

Afternoon tea

Rachel Rossignol
Elizabeth Jane Corbett

Bookings taken by the Eltham Library, Phone: (03) 9439 9266, or book your ticket here: https://www.trybooking.com/256912

March 25th

The powerful and different ways that non fiction and fiction tell the stories of the past, and why women are so good at telling these kinds of stories.

Professor Josie Arnold
Barbara Gaskell Denvil
Kelly Gardiner
Glenice Whitting
Chaired by Eloise Faichney

Closing celebration – wine and light refreshments provided.

History panel 5th march: Some possible discussion points to get us started on the topic of why women write history:

In preparation for this event I asked for a list of possible questions. When they arrived I quickly answered them in a stream of conciousness way by simply jotting down whatever popped into my head. Why don’t you try it. I found it an amazing, clarifying  writing exercise.

What was your catalyst for writing about the past?

The past deals with my own life and writing about it is a great way to sort stuff out. To see what really happened and why. My writing records the recent past. Pickle to Pie is about a boy, a greathearted German Grossmutter and a man caught between two worlds. It was my way of dealing with my fathers death and growing up in Parkdale to a parent of German descent. Something Missing deals with the next stage of my life. In 1975 I met my older American poet penfriend and reveal how that friendship changed our lives.

Do you prefer your protagonists to be actual or fictional figures?

I like my main characters to be based on fact and veiled in fiction. For authorial freedom I always turn the story into fiction.

Some writers choose well-known historical figures while others inhabit lesser-known ones – what choices have you made and why?

My choice is to write about everyday, non famous people. I believe their stories need to be recorded and their voices heard.

What was the most challenging aspect of your rendering of the past?

The most challenging aspect was the amount of research involved to make sure dates of major events were correct and to attend to every small detail. The grossmutter makes herbal tea and then reads what kind of leaves. Definitely not chamomile because that is made from flowers. Spearmint

What ethical dilemmas kept you up at night?

Worrying about how other people would react to my novel. Had I portrayed the motives of my characters correctly? If , heaven forbid, someone thought they recognised themselves would they be upset?

What is your sense of the relationship between the characters’ past and our present?

We learn by understanding the past. By understanding the past we can come to terms with our present.

 How do you approach ideas of authenticity in historical fiction?

Research and more research from reliable sources. It is an essential part of writing historical fiction

 What lessons have you learnt through writing the past?

By writing about my past I can now see it clearly and put to rest many things which worried me in the past. I have come to terms with my hidden German heritage and understand why my father was so withdrawn and self protective. I also now understand why I was so self driven to achieve academically and how, and why I became an author instead of a social worker

 How has writing as an Australian affected your approach to these people and events?

I try not to let nationality influence the way I think and feel about people in the past. However, it is only natural that my Australian culture and values influence the way I write. Therefore I seek help and advice from people of the nationality I’m exploring. For Pickle to Pie German born Herbert Etienne translated old postcards and helped me with my research. For Something Missing, I sent the manuscript to American author and editor Cindy Vallar and followed her advice.

How does your gender influence your approach (to history, to fiction)?

Being a woman living in a patriarchal society definitely influences my approach to fiction and to writing history. I find the cultural expectations and the roles women play affects their lives and those around them. To write about cultural values and inconsistencies means my stories often strike a cultural chord with other women. I am telling their stories as well as my own.

My First Video

Becoming a writer stretches you. You find yourself trying different things, making a video is one of them. Below is my first video made with the help of Wendy and David Dunn. Such supportive and kind people willing to extend themselves to help another in need.

On-line Madeglobal Book Tour

This is the program for the on-line book tour . I found it inspiring to address the questions presented to me. It made me think about my novel and my motives for recording this story.  I hope these questions will be helpful to other writers.

 

Mon 20th Feb – mylittlebookspace.blogspot.co.uk – blog post.
Tues 21st Feb – https://novelgossip.com
Weds 22nd Feb – https://knovelcafe.wordpress.com – video looked great.
Thurs 23rd Feb – / http://quietfurybooks.com/blog/
Fri 24th Feb – https://lindasbookbag.com/ – interview questions.
Sat 25th Feb – https://kirstyes.co.uk/ – an article on friendship.
After the book tour I had one more stop with Sally Odgers

Mon 27th Feb https://tinyurl.com/PMPGlenicewhitting

Something Missing

Glenice Whitting

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.

Below is what I sent to the different blogs and websites

Guest Post for Amy Sullivan at novelgossip.com (500-1000 words)  

Q: How did I come up with the idea for this book.

Purely by chance. I’m definitely a late bloomer. During my early years I never dreamt I’d become a writer. However, fate intervened and eventually I leant to write about people and events important in my life. I wrote from the heart and was true to myself. Something Missing, is based on my thirty-five year pen-friendship with an older American poet. It was a chance to explore our unique relationship and eventually to understand my journey as a mature aged student. Something Missing, published by MadeGlobal Publishing, is the result.

The journey

I left Malvern Girls Domestic Arts School at fourteen to become an apprentice hairdresser, and later, wife and mother. When I turned fifty, goaded by my American pen-friend’s well educated letters I went back to school to sit for my VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education). My results meant I was offered a place at Monash University to study for my Bachelor of Arts where my majors were English Literature and Sociology. At the end of my course, thinking I’d eventually work as a sociologist, I needed one more class to complete my literature major. The only course available to fit in with my day job was a night class in fiction writing. I wrote a short story based on my father’s life about a boy, a great-hearted German Grossmutter and a man caught between two worlds. That story was highly commended in the Judah Waten International Short Story Competition. It didn’t win but I was hooked. However, the story haunted me day and night and I decided to continue writing, but needed guidance. To study for a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing at TAFE (Technical and Further Education) was perfect and under the guidance of Australian author, Liam Davison, my story grew into a novel.

A play written in Ray Mooney’s class at TAFE, based on my hairdressing experiences, was performed during the Fertile Ground New Plays Festival. The result was acceptance into the Masters of Creative Writing at Melbourne University. During that time the manuscript of the novel was short listed for the Victorian Premiers Literary Awards and later won the Ilura Press International Fiction Quest. Pickle to Pie was launched by Ilura Press during the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Publishing the first novel meant I could apply to Swinburne University for a PhD by artefact and exegesis and to my delight I was awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship. Here was my opportunity to learn the rules of the craft of writing and know why I was breaking them. I grabbed the chance. But what would I write? What would my next novel be about? Would I follow on with another German Australian story and use all those files and folders containing years of research?

Instead, I did what most writers do. I decided to explore and record my thirty-five year pen-friendship with an older American poet. It would be the story of two countries, two women and the lies they told each other that led to truth. I titled the story, Hens Lay, People Lie and my PhD focus would be autoethnography, (using my own experiences as research) and epistolarity (interweaving extracts from letters, journals, newspaper articles etc). In my journal I wrote, ‘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.

 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 unconsciously yearned for the education given to her brother and denied to her. And what did my elderly pen-friend gain from our correspondence? My journey had begun.

I began by introducing 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 had 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, style.

For four years I was 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. After completing the PhD I 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. It then took a huge leap of faith and much rewriting to take the story from literary faction into popular fiction.

It was an invaluable lesson. To be a writer I had to be myself and write the way I really wanted to write, down to earth, uncomplicated and honest. I made both Maggie and Diane third person narration, threw in a handful of suspense and Voilà… Something Missing was born. I was so excited the day I received the email that Tim Ridgway of MadeGlobal Publishing loved the story and would I sign the contract etc.

It is every writer’s dream to hold their book in their hand. 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 the versions. However, there is an indescribable joy in being able to finally thank them formally, via the acknowledgment page, in the published reincarnation of the manuscript now titled Something Missing.

Thank you, Amy for hosting me at your site. It is greatly appreciated.

Video interview for Kristin Truman https://knovelcafe.wordpress.com

5-10 min video: produced by David Dunn and edited by Tim Ridgway. The video can be viewed at http://www.madeglobal,com

Interview: Glenice Whitting author of Something Missing with Wendy Dunn author of Falling Pomegranate Seeds about Glenice’s novel and her writing life.

Q1: Glen, what is Something Missing about?

Q2: Do you think you were supposed to write this novel? Why?

Q3: Tell us about your journey writing Something Missing?

Q4: When did it begin to solidify into a novel?

Q5: How is the experience of being published by MadeGlobal different from your first novel with Ilura Press

Q6: Where can we buy 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+whittingAmazon Kindle books: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MQKMUZZ?tag=theancom-20

Darcia Helle quietfurybooks asked me to answer questions

Q1:What inspires you

Other people’s life stories. I’m interested in how people cope with life situations and love to hear other people’s stories. One of the benefits of being older is that people sit next to you on public transport and talk about their lives. I think it is because you look safe and comfortable with the time and interest to actually listen to them. This is of course coupled with the fact that they possibly will never see you again. And I love people. I find them and their stories fascinating.

Often when I’m sitting in front of my computer working on my latest project a snippet of conversation pops into my mind and I’m off writing again, weaving it into the story. I will take a situation, a relationship, a particular longing, a moment of insight and work on it, change the gender or the class or make the characters older or younger.

Out of respect for the people I meet I disguise them completely and they would never see themselves in any of my work. However, when MadeGlobal asked what my next novel would be about I immediately thought of a conversation I had with a grandmotherly woman on the train who excitedly revealed she was having an affair with a widow in the same retirement village. My reply to MadeGlobal Publishing was, ‘It will be about two elderly women hairdressers and one has multiple affairs’. Already during my Memoir Writing class at a local Community House, in our stream of conscious writing time I’m jotting down the bones of this story.

Q2: What books have most influenced you?

The only book in our household when I was growing up was the Bible. My parents believed in the Protestant work ethic. We were told not to loll around reading but to ‘Go outside and do something useful.’ How amazing that books have become my life.

When writing my first novel I doubted my ability and questioned whether I could write well enough for people to want to read about a deliberately concealed German heritage. I was constantly told, ‘Not another immigrant story’. At this time I read Sally Morgan’s My Place. Here was a down to earth, simple story about a girl struggling to come to terms with her aboriginal ancestry where curly the dog was determined to nuzzle the visiting inspector’s private parts. I was inspired. If Sally could write about her life so simply so could I.

The same thing happened when I was struggling with Something Missing. My American pen-friend sent me a copy of Helen Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road. Written entirely in letter format this powerful little book is about the love of books and words and reminded me of my pen-friend. I started out writing a similar book using our correspondence as the basis of the story. However, this was very limiting and I wanted to write with a broader stroke. It was then that I read Australian author, Elizabeth Jolley’s Miss Peabody’s Inheritance and loved it. Elizabeth Jolley has a wry sense of humour. Why couldn’t I write something that was somewhere between the two books I loved? After that, during my time at Swinburne University I researched a long list of epistolary letter based novels. Here are several thought-provoking books I found helpful.

Adelaide, D 2008, The household guide to dying, Picadore: Pan Macmillan, Sydney.

Balint, C 2004, Ophelia’s fan, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest.

Behn, A 1684, Love letters between a nobleman and his sister, Randal Taylor, London

Shriver, L 2004, We need to talk about Kevin, Harper Perennial, New York

Turner N 1999, These is my words: the diary of Sarah Agnes Prine 1881-1901, Harper Collins New York.

Turner, N 2005, Sarah’s quilt: a novel of Sarah Agnes Prine and the Arizona Territories, Thomas Dunne Books, New York

Turner, N 2007, The Star Garden: a novel of Sarah Agnes Prine, Thomas Dunne Books

Q3: Are you a morning or night person

 Definitely morning, although I have been known to burn the midnight oil. Most of my writing is done between the hours of 3am to 6am. The house is quiet, the telephone doesn’t ring and I am free to write uninterrupted to my heart’s content. My husband is snoring oblivious to my tapping and I slip back to bed before he wakes, content that I’ve done my word count for the day. When writing a novel I live, eat and breathe with the characters. I relate to both Maggie and Diane, understand them, empathise with them and have mental conversations with them. When I think about it I’m really quite scatty when I have my teeth sunk into a novel. Thank goodness for an understanding family. They know I’m weird and accept it.

Q4: What is your favourite food

 A slab of old fashioned boiled fruitcake. In Something Missing, when Diane and the well educated American, Maggie meet for the first time in Outback Australia, Diane dives into the campervan and produces a boiled fruitcake, wrapped in Alfoil, kept for just such an occasion. That is the beauty of this fruitcake. It keeps indefinitely. It became a symbol of Diane and Maggie’s friendship; rich, fruity and totally satisfying. As a matter of fact it is 4am and I have two cooking in the oven at the moment. From tomorrow there will be a steady stream of visitors and I must be ready to provide lots of coffee breaks. There is nothing better than a slab of fruitcake with your coffee. Here is my mother’s recipe from her old, handwritten and food stained cookbook. At the top of the page, she always put the name of the person who gave her the recipe.

Boiled Fruit Cake (Miss Day) Two elderly sisters, both called Miss Day lived two doors down from us.

1 teas mixed spice, 1/4 lb butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1 lb mixed fruit, 1 level teas carb soda

Method: Put into large saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. Take off and let cool, then beat in 1 large egg and add 1 cup Self Raising flour and 1 cup plain flour sifted together. Cook mod oven (300-325) for ½ to 2 hrs. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Q5: What is your idea of perfect happiness

I can think of many things; my wedding day, the birth of my boys, grandchildren and just being alive. Many people don’t get the privilege. However, on a very personal satisfaction level I must say the moment when you hold your book in your hand. To flip through to the acknowledgement page and see where you’ve been able to formally thank everyone who has helped you along the way and proved their faith in you was justified. There is no other feeling like it. It is unique, very special and something you hug around you when life gets tough.

Thank you, Darcia for hosting me at your site.

Interview for Michelle Doorey: Academic Armour: Diane tells her story

After meeting Maggie I somehow I felt as if the universe, fate or something was falling into place for me. She recommended books to read, opportunities presented themselves, friends recommended courses, people and places to be. Ever since I was fourteen I had made my way in life and was now a successful wife, mother and hairdresser. But always I felt as if something was missing; my thoughts and suggestions devalued and disrespected. Was it because I was a poorly educated woman? The everyday derogative comments would pierce my heart and damage my self esteem. Big brother would say, ‘No use you entering that writing competition. I’ll beat you.’ And he did. When I asked my parents about going to High School they laughed and replied, ‘You? High School? No way. You’ll only get married and have children.’

I remember resentfully vacuuming my brother’s bedroom and taking great delight in hearing his B.B. gun pellets ping when they hit the housing of the carpet cleaner.

Maggie’s letters inspired me to become a mature aged student and go back to school where I embraced every educational opportunity that came my way. No matter how scary. I wanted to be well educated like Maggie, write like Maggie. During classes I gave 110%, loved to study and found that I could succeed. I had finally found my wings and soared to the moon.

During the academic journey that followed I soon realized that success did not depend on gender, intelligence or having a gift from God. It all boiled down to how passionate and enthusiastic you were and how much time you were prepared to devote to your course, study and research. During those years of study I discovered many past and present women and men, who investigated a topic, teased it out and came to their own conclusions. It was time for me to stand tall, enter the conversation and add my hard won knowledge to the literary and social discussions.

When I’d completed the journey from VCE to PhD I found I did not need to use the prefix Doctor and no longer would take to heart the jibes and jokes of male friends. Many times I’m told, ‘So you’re now a doctor. I wouldn’t let you operate on me.’ Or, ‘you should know that, you’re a doctor.’ Instead of walking away hurt and belittled I quietly reply, ‘I’m a doctor of creative writing. Ask me anything about that and I’ll give you an answer.’ I am finally secure. Unassailable. The cultural arrows of my generation now bounce off my academic armour.

Since graduating I’ve had to watch that my pendulum does not swing too far and I become inflated with my own importance. I am a small cog in a big wheel. However I now understand the how, when and why of my life and I’m thankful for that chance meeting with Maggie in the Australian Outback, the years of inspirational pen-friendship and the opportunities presented to me. Many women do not have the privilege.

Thank you, Michelle for hosting me at your site. It is greatly appreciated.

Guest blog post on friendship for Kirsty Stanley:

 What makes a good friend?

 This question really got me thinking about the many friendships I’ve had over the years. Friends who have come into my life at a particular time to support, help and advise. Childhood friends, hairdressing friends and academic friends. Many became lifelong friendships but none have been as constant, or as inspirational as my thirty-five year pen-friendship with an older American poet. Something Missing is based on that pen-friendship because I wanted, through my writing to try to work out why this friendship, in spite of the odds, survived. What was it that made it last all those years and endure the ups and downs of life which so frequently destroy relationships? A clue for me was a quote I use at the beginning of the book by American author, Irving Stone, ‘There are no faster or firmer friendships than those between people who love the same books.’

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and be understood. When I began writing our story I never meant to write a novel. I set out to record our friendship and letters in an attempt to understand how and why our chance meeting permanently changed us. Why this pen-friendship inspired my academic journey from VCE to PhD. I also wanted to reveal how fragile friendships can be, how easily they can break only to lead to truth when both parties finally understand and are understood.

I am always amazed how friends come into our lives when we need them most. It was a chance meeting at our camp on Coopers Creek near the Bourke and Wills Dig Tree in Outback Australia. I was thirty-five and working full time as a hairdresser, plus being a wife and mother. However, I always felt there was something missing in my busy life. My campfire friend was sixty. I didn’t know it at the time but her adult daughter had suicided the year before and left a permanent hole in my friend’s heart.

She came from well educated parents, married her much older college professor and researched and typed his published journal articles. They had retired and she was so proud of his success. I grew up in a working class family where boys were educated because they would become the bread winners. My fate was to go to a Domestic Arts school to learn cooking, sewing and how to balance a budget for a family of four. The only book we had at home was The Bible. Everything – age, class and even nationality – separated us. However, my pen-friend’s educated letters, although often intimidating, also inspired me. She wrote about interesting people and exotic places, recommended books and poetry to read. She opened my eyes to a world of literature. I never replaced her daughter but became her work in progress. My pen-friendship put a bandaid over the hole in her heart.

I started writing our story as part of my PhD by artefact and exegesis at Swinburne University. By this time my pen-friend was over ninety. When she died I was devastated. I know I should have expected it but somehow I felt that my friend would always be there. My writer’s journal remained closed, the novel and exegesis frozen. How to write the unsayable? I could not continue. The story, balanced between fact and fiction meant that half my writing was in the real world. I was telling another woman’s story as well as my own. I had worked through many writing issues, and told numerous stories of literary and personal goals, but I came full circle when faced with my pen-friend’s death. At the heart of the novel were two real women. Now one was lost and the other one was grieving.

Time is a great healer, and by moving more into fiction I finally finished a third rewrite now titled Something Missing. My pen-friend’s life is permanently part of mine. I miss her feisty nature and her wisdom and bless the day we met on the banks of Coopers Creek.

Thank you Kirsty for hosting me on your blog site.

Lindas book bag: https://lindasbookbag.com. Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Glenice. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing. Firstly, please could you tell me a little about yourself?

Hi, Linda. It’s hard to know where to begin. I am an Australian author with two published novels. However, I didn’t start writing until I was in my fifties. I think you could call me a late bloomer. But I love writing anything and everything, including short stories, plays, film scripts, and of course novels. I discovered my passion for writing when I returned to study as a mature aged student. The journey took me many years from VCE to a PhD in creative writing. At the moment I look forward to teaching a group of women how to write their memoirs. We meet every second Wednesday at a Community House in Bentleigh, Australia. My second novel Something Missing has just been published by MadeGlobal Publishing.

Without spoiling the plot, please could you tell us a bit about Something Missing?

The novel is based on my thirty-five year pen-friendship with an older American poet. It is about two women, two countries, chance meetings, life and friendship. I think the best way to tell you about it is to give you the blurb.

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

When did you first realise you were going to be a writer?

I never dreamt of becoming a writer until I returned to study. To finish my literature major for my Bachelor of Arts I needed one last subject. The only class that fitted in with my day job was fiction writing. A story I wrote was highly commended in the Judah Waten Short Story Competition. It went straight to my head and I fell in love with writing. I guess the rest is history.

You’re a playwright as well as a novelist. How different or similar do you find writing in these two ways?

They are entirely different genres. I learnt how to write dialogue in Ray Mooney’s playwriting class when studying for a diploma for Professional Writing and Editing at TAFE (Technical and Further Education) college. Writing dialogue is so different from everyday speech. However, learning how to write engaging dialogue has helped me immensely when my characters speak for themselves in my novels. I feel that most writers benefit from courses that teach them how to write for different genres such as film scripts, playwriting, novels and non-fiction. Writing is a craft and it helps to know all the aspects of that craft.

.You have a Ph.D. in Philosophy (Writing). How has this impacted on your style as a novelist?

When I finished the PhD I’m sure I sounded as if I’d swallowed a dictionary. Words like epistolarity and autoethnography were part of my vocabulary. I had to take my head out of the clouds and come down to earth. However, studying for my doctorate meant that I knew the rules of the craft of writing and I understood why I was breaking them. Something Missing is the third rewrite of the novel that was the artefact for my PhD. To publish I needed to turn it from literary fiction into popular fiction and I’m very happy with the outcome. I feel that all the courses I’ve taken have helped me improve my writing. And isn’t that our aim? To do whatever we can to be the best writers we can be.

 

Education is one of the themes of Something Missing. Why did you choose this theme?

I grew up in an Australian culture that educated the boys at a High School because they would be the bread winners of a family. Girls went to a Domestic Arts School to learn cooking and sewing. We were going to be a wife and mother . Our family lived by our golden rule. He who makes the gold makes the rules. I happily became a wife, mother of two boys and a hairdresser but I always felt there was something missing in my life. My well educated American penfriend’s letters constantly showed me the advantages of a good education. In her letters she recommended books to read, authors to admire and one day I decided to accept her challenge and go to TAFE.

How do you go about researching detail and ensuring your books are realistic?

I can’t put enough emphasis on the need to research every tiny part of your novel. Even though you may be writing fiction, dates of major events etc. must be correct or your reader will not believe in your story. You can’t have your biologist not know about her natural world. My main source of information is the internet. I source articles, journals, newspaper clippings, and always verify if the information is coming from a reliable source. There is a lot of misinformation out there  For every writing project I always end up with at least three large files of printed research questions and answers. I’ve also discovered that a good editor will soon pick you up if you’ve made a mistake.

 Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?

I love it all. I relish the struggles and the challenges as well as the joyous feeling when everything flows and falls into place,

 What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?

I’m an early bird. I get up at 3am and write till 6am. At this time the house is quiet, the phone doesn’t ring and I can still slip back to bed before my husband wakes, unaware of my tapping. There is such joy in snuggling under the bedclothes knowing that I’ve completed another section of my work in progress. If possible, it pays to have a room of your own and mine is a bedroom converted into a study/writing room. It is lined with books of all shapes and sizes, plus all my research folders which I can’t bear to throw out. You never know, I may need them one day.

Female friendship is crucial to Something Missing.  To what extent do you believe women need other women in their lives to be happy?

It is a wonderful experience to have someone in your life, woman or man who supports you and nourishes your soul. However a woman friend understands you and a good friend is willing to forgive your mistakes and still be there for you through good times and bad. It is wonderful to have a friend by your side to share your happiness. They cannot make you happy but are there to celebrate with you when you are. I have some amazing friends and I just can’t think of life without them.

Something Missing has a cover that suggests female friendship regardless of age to me. How did that image come about and what were you hoping to convey (without spoiling the plot please!)?

MadeGlobal sent me a cover design that featured two other women. My reaction was instant. They were too young and one had brown hair. They didn’t look anything like my mental picture of Maggie and Diane. One woman had to be young and blonde and the other older and grey. Tim sent me a link to a website where you can buy photos of women and therefore be sure of not having any copyright problems. I chose the two photos currently on the cover because, to me, and thankfully to you, they showed the friendship of the women in spite of the age difference. And, being an ex hairdresser they both had to have the right hair colour. Somehow the photos of these two women felt right and I always go by my gut feeling. I love the cover Tim has produced.

If you could choose to be a character from Something Missing, who would you be and why?

Diane. I based her on myself and through her I explored the second part of my life journey. I find this is a benefit of writing biographically based fiction. Or faction as one of my friends calls this style of writing. In my first book Pickle to Pie I dealt with my ancestry. In Something Missing I worked on understanding the second stage of my life. My third book has to be about two ageing hairdressers and one has multiple affairs. That would be fun.

 If Something Missing became a film, who would you like to play Diane and Maggie and why would you choose them?

Meryl Streep for Maggie. Meryl is such a talented, older actress who I admire. She would be able to play the feisty, well educated Maggie with a subtle air of superiority. Nicole Kidman would be perfect as the younger Diane. Nicole has amazing acting skills and would suite the physical appearance of Diane. She would also be able to convincingly portray the extent of Diane’s adulation for Maggie.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?

Anything and everything. Mostly books written by fellow authors. I believe that writers support other writers and I try to do the same.

If you had 15 words to persuade a reader that Something Missing should be their next read, what would you say?

That’s a hard call, Linda. I’d have to say they should read Something Missing next because…the story’s about women, friendship, understanding each other and lies that lead to truth.

 Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.

Thank you, Linda for showcasing me on you blog site.

 

For Sally Odgers blogspot (500 words)

There are many momentous life events but there is no greater personal happiness than the moment when you hold your published book in your hands. You hug the feeling around you like a warm blanket to keep out the wintery chills of life. It is a rare moment of bliss, and it doesn’t matter if it’s your first book or fifth.

Recently, with the launch of my latest book Something Missing I find myself humming The Wind Beneath My Wings because it reminds me of so many people who have supported and helped me along the way. All my writing projects have been a team effort and I have a long list of people who have inspired me over many years. How wonderful to have the opportunity to thank them via the acknowledgement pages of my books. To publish is one way of proving to them that their faith in me as a writer is justified. Most writers need to pluck up courage to send their work to others for feedback. However, I’ve discovered that other women writers support, encourage and inspire you to reach for the stars.

Years ago, when I was a budding author and did not realize that my academic journey would take me from VCE to a PhD in creative writing, I sent a chapter of my first novel, Pickle to Pie to Sally for assessment. My mouth was dry and I had sweaty palms waiting for her reply. To my relief she sent me a detailed report of my writing that was not only encouraging but also gave me some insightful ideas of how to lift the work up another notch. Her tick of approval at a time when I was still finding my feet was invaluable. Over the years, many other women have selflessly helped me on my writing journey which eventually became one of self discovery.

My debut novel, Pickle to Pie published by Ilura Press was based on my father’s life. It is about a boy, a great-hearted German Grossmutter and a man caught between two worlds. An unexpected bonus of writing his story was that I finally came to terms with my long hidden German ancestry.

This latest novel, Something Missing published by Madeglobal.com deals with the next stage of my life. It reveals how a chance meeting and thirty-five years of pen-friendship with an older American poet inspired and changed my life.

Tim of Madeglobal Publishing summed up the novel when he wrote, Something Missing is about two women, two countries. serendipity, life and 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. This book will appeal to women aged between twenty and ninety-nine years and men who wish to understand them.

It has been an interesting journey finding these excellent blog sites, writing articles, making videos, answering questions and commenting. I hope my experiences will help other writers embarking on their first on-line book tour 

I am currently teaching Memoir Writing at Godfrey Street House in Bentleigh Victoria Australia and love to encourage and help people to write their stories.

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.

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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.

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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

Farewell Dasha’s Mum

A celebration of a life well lived.

To have a celebration of a life that had ended inside a chapel used mainly for weddings was a somber but uplifting experience.

WhiteChapel Estate has a beautiful garden. The 19th century, historic, white weatherboard chapel is both elegant & charming.
The beautiful chapel and grounds were a balm to the soul. The estate has a relaxed, elegant feel in an Australian bush-land country setting, yet is only 45 minutes from the City of Melbourne.
I had never been to this location before. Situated on four lovely acres, the WhiteChapel Estate  must be the Peninsula’s best kept secret

With everything included in the one location, following the ceremony, friends and family were escorted to the “Terrace Room” and lawn area for refreshments and to share their favourite stories of a woman who had played a part in all our lives.

This peaceful property is the perfect place to celebrate the beginning of a new life together or for a final farewell.

Our Australian Christmas 2016

Christmas was filled with sun, sand and happiness and lovely gifts.

We caught up with so many family and friends and Jason, Karen, Tahlia and Caxton were here for a very special Christmas morning.  A night boat trip around the canals to see the Christmas lights was a highlight.
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 Christmas morning the sun shone through the window and the seagulls made a racket hoping there would be some interesting treats later in the day. They were not disappointed. Santa bought bikes and under the tree were toys and games. Wrapping paper was quickly torn away to reveal hidden treasures.

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Boxing day both our sons and daughters -in-law were with us plus Alan’s sister, Betty, John , Carol-Anne and Margaret.

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We cut the cake from my Book Launch. At the book launch on the 11th December Wendy Dunn presented me with a fantastic book-shaped cake with the front cover of Something Missing proudly displayed on top. I couldn’t bear to cut it so froze it to share with my Queensland family.gold-coast-family

New Years Eve we were caressed by the last rays of the evening sun and joined other families sitting on the sand to watch the sun slowly sink beyond the blue waters of Port Phillip Bay. Later, jet skis dashed past, well out of the way of the many swimmers enjoying the welcome coolness of the water. Children played cricket until it was too dark to see the ball while others enjoyed the swings, slides and other activities at the beach-side Keast Park foreshore playground.

In the darkness at home we lit a brassier filled with pine cones, ran along the sand waving sparklers in either hand and popped party poppers. The multitude of  colourful streamers covered our outdoor deck.

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How wonderful to start a brand new year. It feels like opening a special new book with empty pages just begging for some interesting events to be recorded.

May 2017 be a year of fun, good health and happiness.  With fingers crossed we all made New Year resolutions. Hopefully they will last…at least until February.

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Happy New Year to all fellow bloggers.

May all your writing dreams come true in 2017.

‘Something Missing’ Book Launch

Friends, family and colleagues helped celebrate the launch of my latest novel Something Missing.

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Over fifty friends, family and colleagues helped me celebrate the launch of my latest novel. To simply hold my book in my hands knowing that I’d had the opportunity to thank many people involved with its evolution via the acknowledgement page was so uplifting. I felt as if I had wings. Many thanks to everyone who helped to make it such a memorable day. The book is available postage free at Bookdepository.com and is also available at Amazon.com or at my website www.glenicewhitting.com and at www.madeglobal.com

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Swinburne University kept bringing a plentiful supply of delicious food and excellent wine/champagne to the Sky Lounge at Swinburne Campus.

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My ex PhD supervisor, Associate Professor Dominique Hecq read from the novel and launched the book and I had my five minutes of fame
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Wendy Dunn made this day possible and gave an insightful introduction,
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Paul Whitting was official photographer,
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Carol-Anne Croker sold many books
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I was free to catch up with so many folk I hadn’t seen for a long time. Ingrid Ahmer flew in from Adelaide, others came from many regional areas and 95yr old Margaret Scott insisted on being there.  It was a fun filled, happy celebration.
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My email inbox was flooded with congratulatory messages. Thank you all for your good wishes and support. You are amazing
The highlight of the afternoon was when Wendy Dunn presented me with a fantastic book-shaped cake with the front cover of Something Missing proudly displayed on top. I couldn’t bear to cut it.
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Best wishes to everyone at MadeGlobal. The level of support has been greatly appreciated. It is a day I will always remember.
Have a very happy Christmas. I know I will.