Interview with Australian Author – Mavis Parsons

“Australian Authors” – Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?

Mavis – I was born in Woodford England and migrated to Melbourne, Australia when I was six years old. A love of books and reading led me to a career in Teaching and Librarianship. I worked in Victorian Secondary Schools teaching English, History and Research skills, as well as exploring, through reading programs, many avenues to encourage and impart a love of reading to students.

“Australian Authors” – What made you want to become a writer?

Mavis – I guess my love of reading and the joy of being totally immersed in a good story, along with being a keen observer of human nature soon translated into writing. It just seemed a natural progression.

“Australian Authors” – What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?

Mavis – For my short stories and poetry the inspiration can come from many sources. It may be some injustice I have seen or read about, political issues, life, death, joy and sadness.
Nature and the seasons feature in some of my poetry.
In my novel The Door: What Lies Within, the inspiration came from seeing a mysterious ivy covered door at a caravan park where we spent many holidays. This door was so well hidden that I was compelled to write about what may have been behind that door.

“Australian Authors” – Now, the big question, are you working on another book?

Mavis – Yes, well perhaps more than one. I am about four chapters into what I hope will be my next novel. In doing some research for this novel, I came across something that gave me an idea for a story set in Melbourne sometime in the future. I immediately rushed to the computer and started writing. Another novel? Could be.
There is another collection of short stories and poetry in the making also.

“Australian Authors” – What genres do you prefer to write in?

Mavis – Because I write short stories as well, I write across many genres. I do like to write adventure and mystery and particularly like writing for young adults.
I also enjoy writing and have written non fiction – History/Family History.

“Australian Authors” – What do you think about the ebook revolution?

Mavis – As a former teacher and librarian, I think anything that encourages reading is a good thing. I see people reading ebooks now who would never pick up a print book to read.
I believe there is room for both print and ebooks and publish my books in both formats.

“Australian Authors” – Do you start a book with a definite plot, or do you just write?

Mavis – A bit of both really. When I wrote The Door: What Lies Within, I had a pretty good idea from the start what the plot would be. I do not plan it out in detail but work from the seed of the idea and just write.

“Australian Authors” – Pen or type writer or computer?

Mavis – Definitely computer. I might write notes about my characters in a notebook and timelines, dates and things like that but the actual writing is straight into the computer.

“Australian Authors” – Do your characters seem to hijack the story, or are you always in control?

Mavis – Well I hope I am in control to a certain extent, however my characters do tend to lead me at times. I tend to live those characters as I am writing and to my surprise they sometimes take me to a different conclusion than the one I had in mind.

“Australian Authors” – Are your characters based on real people or completely imagined?

Mavis – Both really. In my last book the teenage boys were certainly an amalgam of many students that I had taught over the years. The caravan park owner and the park eccentric were also based on people met over the years in a caravan parks, if perhaps a caricature of such people. There are as many of my characters that are completely imagined, though probably influenced by my observations of people over many years.

“Australian Authors” – Have you thought about joining with another author to write a book?

Mavis – No, I cannot say I have. An interesting thought though. If the opportunity arose and I thought the idea had merit I may consider it. I guess one should never rule anything out.

“Australian Authors” – Who are your favourite authors?

Mavis – Oh that is a hard question, there are just so many.
Steinbeck would have to be up there, Orwell and certainly Tolstoy.
Dickens, Charlwood really far too many to list here.

“Australian Authors” – What’s your advice to Authors? On writing? Publishing? Marketing?

Mavis – Just to follow their instincts. Write about what moves you, what angers you and what you are truly passionate about.
Publishing is tricky, there is a lot to learn and hurdles to be negotiated but don’t give up.
Marketing is also a tricky area but there are many avenues to make you works available in print or ebooks worldwide, so explore them.
Writers festivals, book signings at clubs and libraries along with book talks are all ways to promote your books and of course online websites and social media. Join writers and authors groups and organisations.
For me though, it is about the writing.

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