ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Monday, 12 August 2013

Author Helen Lacey shares her childhood travelling the Australian Outback...and the books that kept her company. There's pretty horses too!

Hello friends!

I am delighted to host Helen Lacey today as part of her launch for her new novel, Date With Destiny. Helen is a fellow Aussie, fellow Queenslander, with an interesting story to tell of an early childhood spent travelling around the Australian Outback. What great motivators to write -- travel and reading.

Hi Denise and thank you for having me here today.

I think most of us have people or places that shape us and make us who we are and generally we’re moulded from a young age. I had a happy, although fairly unorthodox childhood.

My parents and siblings emigrated from Wales to Australia when I was two. Once some of the older brothers and sisters moved out and married, my parents and three of my siblings started travelling this wonderful country in a fabulously renovated motor home and did so for several years. 

Because of this lifestyle I didn’t have a conventional education for a number of years. I actually went to a total of seventeen schools over several states, but while we were travelling for those few years I didn’t attend school for any regular length of time. Instead, I had books. Lots of them, compliments of my dad. 


When I was eight and in between schools as we were half way across the Australian outback, my father gave me a battered duet copy of Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty and Jack London’s Call of The Wild. I read the stories from cover to cover, back to back and it instilled in me a lifelong love for horses and had me longing for a dog like Buck all of my own.

Next came Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, R.L Stevenson’s Kidnapped and several Dickens’s classics. Of course, some of these books were hard going for an eight year old, and I often resisted and begged to go back to the classics I loved like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. But my lovely dad insisted and whenever we stopped at a small town he would take me to the local book exchange or second hand book shop. 

It was on one of these trips where I discovered the stories that would enrich my life in ways I had yet to imagine. Little did I know at the time that these books were my education when school wasn't an option. Over the course of several towns we picked up three books – Little House On The Prairie, Anne Of Green Gables and Little Women. Because we travelled and moved around so much making friends my own age was hard and my brother and sisters were a lot older than me . . . but I had my books. I had Anne Shirley and Jo March and Laura Ingalls. These three young heroines changed my young life and set me on my path to become an author. Anne Shirley in particular resonated with the girl I was who never quite fitted in. Not that I was an orphan or had red hair. I was the youngest of eight siblings and had very ordinary brown locks – but the way Anne lost herself in stories and had such fabulously huge dreams, struck me in a profound sense.
I also realized something else – these books also had a romance running through. Anne had Gilbert, Joe March her professor and Laura Ingalls fell for Almonzo. In fact, I realized I had actually been reading romances long before I picked up my first Harlequin novel.

My dad’s gone now, but I am eternally grateful to him for introducing me to the world of Black Beauty and all the countless books I read during those early years that made me what to write stories of my own.   

About Helen:
From Welsh parents and a large family, she lives on the east coast of Australia in a small seaside town at the southern most point of The Great Barrier Reef, with her wonderfully supportive husband, many horses and three spoiled dogs.

Connect with Helen:

Website    Blog      Facebook    Twitter     Goodreads 


 Financier Grace Preston did fourteen-hour days in New York City. She didn't do small towns in Australia. Not since she'd fled almost twenty years ago. But when a personal trauma sent her home-with a secret she couldn't reveal-the last person she needed was her first love.

Local cop Cameron Jakowski had loved Grace for most of his life. But he wanted marriage and family and she didn't. He was small town, while she was big city-and lived half a world away. But for now she was right here-a walking, talking temptation. One he managed to avoid...until he made one mistake. He kissed her. And reawakened the passion that could change their lives...forever.

Read
Reviews

Buy Links



Mills & Boon UK

Harlequin US

Amazon

Amazon UK

B&N

Powell's Books

BAM

indieBound



Watch this series set at Crystal Point:


I have a copy of my August Harlequin Special Edition,  Date With Destiny, to give away to one commenter. So leave a comment and share with us your favourite books when you were growing up.

Thanks Helen for appearing on my blog today. I loved reading about your literary childhood influences, very similar to my own.

And please, pretty please, don't forget to sign up here for Write...Edit...Publish's blogfest where you can post just about anything. Travel stories would be very apt for the VACATION (HOLIDAY) prompt. Thanks to everyone who's already signed up.






36 comments:

  1. Hi Helen! Thank you for hogging my blog today! I always love reading about travel and childhood favourite books. I love all those you mention, but I think my absolute favourite was Heidi by Joanna Spyri. Maybe because of its beautiful setting in the Swiss Alps. D

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  2. It may have been unconventional, and lonely at times, but WOW, how rich! All the sights, cultures, experiences and memories!

    How many of us spent our childhoods between the covers of books? I'll bet certain books bring back memories of particular places-their smells, the scenery...just wow!

    I've loved Anne Shirley since I was a young teen :)

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  3. I didn't do any travelling until I was 16 and then that was an educational cruise (!).

    I cried when I read Black Beauty by Anna Sewell and scared myself silly reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (my dad suggested that book to me - thanks dad).
    Little Women and the other three books kept me enthralled and the Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, Heidi by Johanna Spyri and various other classics. My list goes on and on.

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    1. Hi Sally. Pleased to see another Heidi fan!

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  4. Hi Denise - it's lovely to be here and hog the blog! You know, I've never read Heidi....now it's on my TBR pile, kids book or not. :)

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  5. Hi Word Crafter - yes, it was a wonderfully enriching experience and one I wouldn't trade. And always great to meet another Anne Shirley fan.

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  6. Hi Sally - ah, The Water Babies, I remember my sister had a copy of that and Mr Pinkwhistle (Enid Blyton I think) That's a great list....thanks for sharing.

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  7. A marvellous childhood with great books, Helen. And how lovely that you still keep horses! My favourite childhood book also features a horse - it was The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge. I also enjoyed many of the ones you read as well, but The Little White Horse was my absolute favourite book until I was about fourteen!

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    1. Hi Val - yes, I feel very lucky to have horses. And The Little White Horse takes me back. Thanks for that suggestion and for stopping by :)

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  8. What an adventure for a young person! Think of all the books you got to read because of it.

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    1. Hi Alex - yes, it was a wonderful adventure! :)

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  9. I love hearing about the books that have influenced others! I just reread all the Anne of Green Gables books :-)

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    1. Hi Deniz - I love revisiting Anne and her escapades....but I have to admit I tend to watch the TV version, cos I think Megan Fallows did such a great job in the role. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  10. I loved hearing your journey, Helen. Sounds like romance has always had a place in your writing radar, which is lovely.

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  11. Hi Madeleine - you're right, I think romance always had a place. I read my first Mills & Boon when I was eleven and was hooked :)

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  12. OMW you just took me back to my childhood and my favourit book growing up. Dear God its me Margaret by Judy Blume. Thank you for the memories of the writers and books that made us who we are....

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  13. Hi Wendy - I haven't read that book.....must go and check it out. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by :)

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  14. I avoided Anne of Green Gables growing up, thinking of it as a girls' book. I read it as an adult, though, and was simply blown away. I realized I'd known and loved Anne disciples my whole life and had been granted a whole new perspective on each of them.

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    1. Hi Armchair Squid - how wonderful to discover Anne as an adult. Reading your comment has made me want to go and read the Green Gables series again :)

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  15. Books can certainly be a lonely child's best friend, and you names several of my favorites.

    .......dhole

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    1. Hi Donna - you're right - books can be great company. Thanks so much for stopping by :)

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  16. I remember reading those same books, Little Women was one of my favourites and I wished I had sisters and a trunk of dress up clothes in the attic :)

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    1. Hi Charmaine - I loved Little Women and Little Men and Joe's Boys. Such great storytelling. And the romance between Jo and Freidric was so sweet. Thanks for commenting :)

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  17. I remember reading those same books, Little Women was one of my favourites and I wished I had sisters and a trunk of dress up clothes in the attic :)

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  18. I read many of the same books. Reading teaches on so many levels - reading, writing, English and grammar, problem-solving, geography and cultures, and spurs the imagination. Your father was wise to supply you with so many books.

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    1. You are so right L Diane. I'm sure if you love reading from a young age it will always be the case.

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    2. Hi Diane - yes, my dad was a very wise man :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  19. I remember my first book was Gulliver's Travels. And then reading opened this whole new world for me. I haven't stopped since then.

    Congratulations on your release of Date With Destiny, Helen.

    Thanks Denise for a lovely blog today.

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    1. You're the first to mention Gulliver's Travels Kelly but I'll bet many would have it as one of their favourites.

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    2. hi Kelly - Gulliver's Travels....great pick! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  20. What an amazing childhood. Sounds like it was inevitable you'd turn into a writer.

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  21. When I was a youngster I loved the library, and lived between the pages of many a book. It was my escape, pretty much my salvation.

    Awesome tale Helen, wonderful memories.

    Congrats on your book a Date with Destiny! Will have to put it on my TBR list.

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  22. Its great to meet Lacy and I followed her on her social network links. Best wishes for her and Date With Destiny!

    And I'm signed up for the Blopgfest and have the badge on my side bar. Looking forward to it!

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  23. Helen sounds like she had a fascinating early life. I could read a whole book about a girl traveling around in her parents' RV reading and experiencing great stories. :) 17 schools! WOW!

    Reading has always been an escape for me too.

    Congratulations on A Date with Destiny! :)
    ~Jess

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