Hi Anne, welcome to Café Cala,
Thank you for inviting me Maggie, I’d love a cup of tea please with just a dash of milk.
1 What made you decide to write Searching for Family?
Being an adoptee I was, for as long as I can remember, curious about my ‘other family’. It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I was in a position to travel to England and find out more about my natural family. What I discovered was an exceptional story but it wasn’t until I retired from work and I began to write that I felt competent enough to tell the tale and do it justice.
2 It’s a very personal tale. What was the most difficult part of it?
For me it was trying to put myself in the place of my natural parents as I told their story. It was very moving; attempting to feel their reactions and emotions as they lived through their dreams and the drama tragedy that happened to them. There were many tears shed as I wrote those passages. Thank goodness the story does have a happy ending, I could not have written it otherwise.
3 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?
With writing in general, there is nothing quite like holding a published copy in your hands, knowing that without your efforts it would be in existence. About this book in particular it was receiving the approval of my two half-brothers when they read what I had done with the stories they had told me; especially how I had interpreted the character of our father. They, of course, knew him closely and it was important to me they approved what I had written before I could even think of publishing.
4 How did you start writing?
It was an offshoot of my interest in family history – my own family and my husband Mal’s. There were good stories to tell on both sides.
5 What would you say has helped you most?
Without doubt it is being part of a writing group; I have been in various groups over the past sixteen years. Writing short stories is a good apprenticeship and preparation for undertaking longer works. You learn not to waste words in short stories – it’s especially good for someone like me who tends to be rather wordy in my first drafts. Reading aloud to a group helps develop self- confidence. You should always read your work out loud to really pick up on those grammatical errors – you miss so much just reading on a screen.
6 What are you working on at the moment?
My next book My Sunshine Coast is almost ready for release. At the moment it is with the publishers for design and formatting and should be available during October. It is without doubt the most difficult thing I have done. There is so much to tell about this great part of the world and to select what to leave out was as hard as choosing what to put in. I didn’t want it to be just another tourist guide or coffee table picture book. I wanted it to have some depth. Although this does have a large component of photographs it also covers the history of each area, the contemporary life and case studies. Sometimes these are contributions from local people, other times of industries. I hope it is a book that has appeal to both visitors and to residents too.
7 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
As I said earlier, being part of a writing group is invaluable. But apart from that make time to write something every day. I don’t aim for a word count; that can leave you with a feeling of failure if you don’t make it (and some days you won’t). Rather, begin a journal; write down experiences and feelings, describe something you have seen, places you have been. This develops your powers of observation. The old saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is absolutely true. I have written many a short story prompted by a photograph. Once you begin journal writing you will be surprised how much of that you can bring in to stories.
8 Which authors do you enjoy reading?
Besides yourself, Lyz Byrski and Kate Atkinson are favourites. Add Elizabeth George for her skill at portraying a sense of place and being a jolly good mystery writer and Ruth Park for her wonderful descriptions of Sydney and its characters in the fifties.
Searching for Family is an emotional and heart-warming family story spanning seven decades from 1916. Beginning in a small coal mining town in Yorkshire it tells the life of a simple mining family and tells of the strong love that bonds them together despite the hardships of working down the mines.
We follow the lives of a family caught up by tragic personal disaster as well as the effects of World War II. We share the heartbreak of a father forced to give up his daughter to adoption.
Their lives continue along different paths and as each tries to make a new life, both continue to be haunted by thoughts of the other.
We see how the years of mass emigration from war torn England can change the lives of so many people, as they are separated by continents.
Finally comes the opportunity for them to be reunited, but is it too late?
With memorable characters and a touching story, this book portrays life as it was in the difficult war years and the changes that those who chose a new land had to overcome to build a new life.
You can find Anne at|:
Her books are available from Amazon and through her website.