Tag Archives: Glenice Whitting

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.

 

And The Winner is…

Unfortunately, there can only be one winner of the competition for a copy of my novel Something Missing 

something_missing_fullcover_proof-25

One name was randomly selected from the list of email addresses of subscribers at www.glenicewhitting.com. I was delighted to see Gillian Polack‘s name emerge. Soon a copy of the book will be winging its way to her.

DSCN0003 (2)

Congratulations, Gillian.

May you have hours of happy reading

I would like to thank everyone who subscribed at my website and entered this competition

I’m sure you will have better luck next time.

Your participation is greatly appreciated.

bunch

Only Two Days To Go

In two days the winner of a copy of the novel , Something Missing will be chosen from the subscribers to www.glenicewhitting,com.

If you haven’t subscribed already why not take this opportunity to get your name on the list and a copy of the book could be winging it’s way to you.

The Perfect Australian Mother’s Day Gift.

A book that deals with two women and their life-long pen-friendship will be the perfect gift for Mother’s Day on the Sunday 14th May. This book and a bunch of gorgeous flowers would brighten any mother’s heart.

      Country Garden

Unfortunately for this competition Mother’s Day in  the UK was on the 30th of March 2017.

I guess. if you are in the UK  you could always keep your hard won copy for a more opportune time, maybe even 2018. I don’t know why, but the years seem to fly past at an ever increasing pace. Good heaven, soon half this year will be gone and we’ll be thinking once again of celebrating Christmas.

I’ll be drawing drawing the winner of the competition on the 2nd of May instead of the last day in  April because many subscribers are from England.  I must be fair to them . I will never get used to the fact that when it is Tuesday morning here it is Monday evening in London. You should see the times we have our MadeGlobal Publishing masterclasses. It’s usually aproximately 10pm Saturday night for English Authors while the Australian authors get 9am Sunday morning , And then there are authors from USA, Ireland, Belarus to name a few.

Best wishes to all who have taken the time and trouble to participate in this competition.

GOOD LUCK

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. 

 

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

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.

What do you think?

MadeGlobal Publishing have just sent me their design for the cover for my novel to be launched in December this year.

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The story is about two countries (USA and Australia) two women, a life-altering pen-friendship and lies that lead to truth.

What do you think of the cover?

Would you want to buy this book?

Does the picture of Uluru make you think of ‘secret women’s business’?

I must say I think they have done a great job, but would appreciate any feedback.

I would also like to thank Mairi Neil, Mary Neil and Maureen Hannah for helping me in so many ways. Mairi is so supportive and encouraging and a fabulous writing buddy. Even though Mary Jane is not a book cover designer she created an amazingly artistic cover to carry me through until MadeGlobal produced their own design. Maureen is the best backstop I’ve ever had. They are all wonderful, talented women in their own right and I am so fortunate to have them on my side.