Clancy Tucker supports
National Year of Reading 2012
Quote of the day:
"Try a thing you haven’t done three times.
Once, to get over the fear of doing it.
Twice, to learn how to do it.
And a third time, to figure out whether you like it or not."
- Guest Author
Today I'm pleased to introduce an emerging writer from Australia - Melissa Wray. Welcome, Melissa. How's your journey been so far?
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
It was six years ago that I decided to take a Professional Writing course. Originally my intended audience was a middle aged reader as that was the age group I had mostly taught in. But funnily enough I seemed to have found my voice in the Young Adult genre.
WERE YOU A GOOD READER AS A KID?
Yes. I grew up about 600m from our local library. I spent a lot of time at that place! I was an only child for ten years so books kept me in good company. When the neighbourhood kids knocked on the door to play I often said no because I was too busy reading.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
About six months after I had my first child I decided to embark on a professional writing course. I naively thought I would have a lot of time on my hands! But I have always loved reading and studied children’s literature at university while studying for my Bachelor Arts/Bachelor Teaching (primary). After a while I entered a few competitions and received some good feedback. In one I was awarded runner up in the Junior Novel - Honour Book Award for the Ipswich Festival of Children's Literature Writing for Children Competition. This was all the encouragement I needed to keep going.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
When I started writing it was more of a hobby for me. I enjoyed creating the stories and then I started to become addicted to writing more and more! I write because it gives me the freedom to create a world of make believe with enough reality thrown in to make it believable.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I find having uninterrupted writing time the hardest. I now try to look at my week ahead and timetable blocks of time in so I have that to look forward to. That way I know I will be able to get some writing done.
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I was always going to be a primary school teacher from the time I could talk. So that’s what I became and have been doing on and off for fourteen years. Over the past few years’ life got really busy with being the mum of two beautiful kids who keep me entertained and my life interesting.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Having my YA novel Destiny Road published. I think that no matter what happens it will be my greatest writing achievement as it is very special to me.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I have begun another YA novel that is over half finished. However I have been side tracked with another idea though which I am researching before I begin playing around with it. The concept is quite different to Destiny Road.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My kids. I don’t believe I can tell them to try their hardest to achieve things if I don’t lead by example.
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
My debut novel Destiny Road is a Young Adult novel. Originally I began writing for a middle age reader.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
My biggest tip is to just write whatever you feel like. Don’t get bogged down with the details and plot as that will fall into place the more you write. Enter competitions, especially the ones that offer feedback. It’s a great way to learn and develop your skills. Also to read widely in the genre you’re interested in. Lastly stay true to your writing style. Don’t try and mimic someone else’s.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Absolutely. I am not a very good plotter. I am more a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ writer. So I tend to write a scene I know I was to be in the story, then work out a way to put it together. I also find writing the finer details tricky. I tend to write the shell of a chapter and then it takes many attempts to add the necessary detail.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I wish I could get a better schedule happening! Generally it is at night after the kids have gone to bed. It’s then I can manage to tune out to the things around me. I do need to keep an eye on the time as it can get pretty late, very quickly.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
I like to tap away at the kitchen table when the sunlight streams in. Mostly it is at the computer in the study. Sometimes at night I enjoy sitting up in bed with the electric blanket on!
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
The satisfaction of creating something out of nothing. I get so excited when a scene in coming together and working well. I love how the characters develop throughout the story.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
My favourite author is Bryce Courtenay. I had the honour of listening to him talk once and he had the entire audience on the edge of their seats. He is just as much of a story teller in real life as he is in his books.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
I was told my descriptions were very good. The reader could literally picture the scene coming to life. That was great for me because it’s the details I find hardest to pin down in my writing.
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
Hmm … I haven’t heard any yet.
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
The idea for Destiny Road came from when I was 16 I went to live with my father for the first time. Unlike Jessica I had known him all my life but my parents divorced when I was very young. I was never able to say thank you to my father for saying yes when I asked could I live with him. He passed away several years ago and it has always bothered me that I could not get those words out before he died. Now with Destiny Road I feel like I have said them, so hopefully he knows.
HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
Just the one so far with hopefully many more to follow!
HAVE YOU WON ANY PRIZES OR AWARDS?
I was awarded runner up in the Junior Novel - Honour Book Award for the Ipswich Festival of Children's Literature Writing for Children Competition.
WHAT DID THEY MEAN TO YOU?
This was at the beginning of my writing journey so it gave me all the encouragement I needed to keep going.
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love my two beautiful children. They are 4 and 6 and are like sponges at this age. It is pure joy to be a part of their development. I also love to get lost in a good book and spending hot Summer days at the beach.
DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Yes. I used Sally Odgers and her Affordable Manuscript Assessment service. She provided some valuable feedback from an unbiased viewpoint.
IF YOU HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK TO THE ENTIRE WORLD, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
I would say ‘Things work out the best, for those who make the best, of the way things work out.’
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Sleeping in past 7am. Imagine that! Then enjoying a day at the beach where I actually get to walk along the shoreline rather than just supervising the boogie boarding and sand castle creations going on with my kids. There would be a hammock I can swing in and write some ideas down. Then after I’ve plotted my best seller I would curl up with a good book. That evening I would enjoy a good old Aussie bbq with the family and some friends. It’s the simple things that keep me happy.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST ASSETS AS A WRITER?
I am a quick learner. I also have the perseverance to keep writing because I enjoy a challenge.
IF YOU HAD A PREMONITION YOU’D BE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND, WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU THROW INTO YOUR BAG?
Destiny Road By Melissa Wray
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
WHAT FIVE WORDS BEST SUMS YOU UP?
Independent, self-motivated, excitable, positive, determined.
MELISSA, HOW CAN WE LEARN MORE ABOUT YOU?
You can click on the links below:
Read the first chapter at Morris Publishing Australia:
Watch the Destiny Road Book Trailer:
Thanks so much for hosting me Clancy.
Dream Big … Read Often.
Clancy's comment: You're welcome, Melissa. Don't give up. Sounds like you are on the right track - CT!
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