PIXI’S TOP WRITING TIP: Just do it; tap into the whole on-line experience; and remember that art for art’s sake is all well and good, but writing is like the performing arts and without an audience (reader) the art work is only half complete.
Pixi Robertson spent many years working on circuses in Europe and Australia before retiring in 2013 and putting her energy into writing her first novel. Aimed at young adults, Bunty Armitage Circus Girl is a time-travelling tale about a girl who is cast into circus life in regional and outback Western Australia in the 1890s.Using a mix of first and third-person narrative, film scripts, old photographs, post-cards and newspaper articles, the novel was inspired by tales Pixi heard from real-life Australian circus heroine, Evelyn Hyland Coverly. Evelyn travelled the state in her family’s horse-drawn tent show, Hyland’s Circus.
“Ev was in her late 90s when I met her and I enjoyed regular chats with this wonderful woman who died just short of her 103rd birthday,” Pixi said. “I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of Evelyn’s friendship and to have the opportunity of listening to her amazing anecdotes. She was a true circus legend and inspiration to many; I feel honoured to have known her.”
The road to publishing was not easy for Pixi, who self-published the novel through Lulu.com, after finding regular publishing channels difficult to breach.
“I knew I had a great story here that I wanted to share with young readers, and this seemed like a really good way to get my novel out there,” she said.
Why do you write? Writing is a door-way to another life, both for the writer and the reader. Writing and reading allow me to live more lives than I could possibly fit into this life-time. For me, as you can see, writing and reading are inextricably linked. I don’t “plot” a story, just go with the flow and the excitement of discovery as the characters and plot develop is a never-ending pleasure. What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Hmm … interesting, as I am officially “retired”. A professional traveller, perhaps? What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Ah, that’s a good question. Without putting too many noses out of join, I hope, the greatest obstacles have been the “gate-keepers” of the publishing industry. Getting a publisher to actually accept, or even read an ms, seems like Mission Impossible, and if you have no track record most agents are not even interested in talking to you. Ask me another …! What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Fun, absolute indulgence. —the worst? Dare I say it again – getting through the gate-keepers. What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Get a job in publishing, get to know the people who have some clout. What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? See above. What’s the best advice you were ever given? To paraphrase the great American comedian, George Burns: “Have a good publicity pic and always be on time for auditions/interviews”.
BOOK BYTE “Hey!” I called after him, “Do you and Lulu really meet at the pirate cave?” Alfie turned, a cheeky grin on his face. I didn’t hear his reply. I walked towards him, my hand reaching out to catch him by the arm. I walked straight through him. I walked through the fire and the pot of stew. My outstretched hand banged into something hard. It was a mirror. I could see my reflection and behind me stood Mrs D, her mouth full of pins.” What is going on? When Bunty Armitage wins the coveted TV role of Lulu Ireland, an early 20th century circus girl touring outback Australia, things just aren’t what they seem to be.
What is the mystery of the faded trapeze costume? Just what is Bunty’s connection to Lulu? And can she really be in love with somebody who lived 100 years ago?
The book is available from Lulu.com as a paperback or ebook.