KEZ’S TOP WRITING TIP: Take your time. It’s a creative process, and so very interesting to see how your brain/heart interact as words spill onto paper.
Kez Wickham St George is a widely traveled artist and author who says her greatest joy in writing is passing on what a wonderful world we live in. In 2003 Kez wrote and published a motivational work training manual for New Zealand and in 2008 she wrote and published a children’s book, The Stone Birds, for a community in Northern Queensland. She has since been published internationally and her three romance thrillers and an illustrated children’s story have all been translated into Italian, Spanish and German. Kez’s passions are travel, her family, garden, painting, writing, reading great books, movies, meeting friends and having spontaneous dinner parties to celebrate life. Most days she is either in her beloved garden, or in her workshop, creating or dreaming up another artwork or story. She tutors in eBook publishing and creative writing for children and adults.
Why do you write? I write for readers to enjoy my world. More than once I have been tempted to write for the approval of others, but have lived too much of my life with a performance orientation, so I no longer wrestle with that. I write because I love to create, I write because I feel if I can make another smile or ponder over a word or a sentence or two, then I have written well. I found you can be blessed beyond your wildest dreams if you follow your own.
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Once you say “I’m an author” other folk will tell you all sorts of details, then you can plait, weave and assemble your own creative story with a twist. I love it when I meet people who tell me their story. As they speak my brain starts to piece it all together.
—the worst? Honesty from my publisher. He was tactful, honest and charming with his advice, but it still became a disappointment in myself. First I wanted to tell him off, then common sense prevailed: if his way was better, why not give it a try? I did and it worked.
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Not have such high expectations of my work. I don’t mean standards, I mean the expectation that your baby (book) is going to become an instant huge international success. It’s rare.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Forget the ‘naysayers’, forget the negatives, do the research, ask question. Speak from the heart and most of all be honest with yourself. Enjoy what you do, then edit it once again. Have a humble heart and a hefty hide. Stay the course.
What are you working on?The Feather Catcher is a sequel to my last two novels, The Metal Mermaid and The Cuppa Tree. Each book is filled with adventure, thrills and spills, with a tad of romance. Tara the lead character, once a stay-at-home mum, nana and local artist, discovers she needs a lot of motivation to carry on as life throws some curve balls her way. The travels are around Australia, New Zealand, and an adventure to Bali, always looking for the upside of a situation. And like most writers, I have one book being typed in front of me, while another is forming at the back and beyond of my brain.
Tell me a little about your writing process. I write, read, write some more, walk away till tomorrow, read and write some more, till I can knock chaos into structure. I may even leave the story for a week, my fingers itching to get back into it. I preview each chapter myself, then when I’m happy with a finished chapter, I pass it on to my husband. Apart from me, he’s my worst and best critic ever. If he shakes his head while underlining in red changes that could be made, I know I’m in for some hard work. But it’s better than hearing my publisher shriek from afar, “you can do better, please review”. For those of us who write, our books are our babies. We give birth and we watch them grow, to be carried off by strangers. It’s sometimes a painful process, but when I see readers smile or chuckle at something I have put down, I know it’s all worth it. If there is no editing or critiquing then the writer does not grow. In my experience I am a better writer than when I first started. The critics were harsh and many, but it made me more determined to be good at what I do, and that is write.
What is the best writing advice you were ever given? Reread, then edit, edit and re-edit.
The Cuppa Tree
Tara really wants to get back on the road. The red dust of the Outback is so heavy in her blood, her body aches to go there, but family comes first. Nursing her ill daughter back to health, running a household, being part of a community is all great, but the call is there at night in Tara’s dreams. In the day when she is doing mundane jobs it’s there, a whisper of adventure. After much debate, Tara is on the road once again, a grey nomad. With her is a Kiwi bloke, Gordi, who won’t take no for an answer. Tara picks up all sorts of strays along the way, experiencing drought, her vehicle catching fire, laughs, love, tears, a spiritual traveler, baby joeys, underground living in Coober Pedy, breathtaking experiences across the Outback and the Painted Desert and peaceful bush bilabongs.
Available from: http://www.autharium.com/Ebook/Kez/the-cuppa-tree-