Hello friends, readers and writers.
My name is Mary Mageau, and I live in a small semi-rural village in Queensland, Australia. I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1934, now making me 80 years young. My parents had family roots in French Canada and the upper American mid-west. In 1974 I arrived in Australia as a guest lecturer in music, fell in love with Australia and with Ken White (my soul mate) and married him later that year. We have raised two sons and enjoy our four grandchildren who fortunately live nearby. My first profession was music, working as a lecturer, pianist and composer. After completing a forty five year career as a musician, I found a new direction in creative writing and nature photography, while my husband continues part-time in his chosen profession of architecture.
From 1995 onward, I completed courses in creative writing, grammar and editing, and then joined my first writers’ group. This spurred me on to begin writing full time. To date I have published twelve books, commercially and more recently for the digital market. Much of my poetry—in the Japanese verse forms of haiku, tanka, and the prose/poetry haibun form—has been published in the United States by Red Moon Press, Kei Books, the MET Press, and in literary Journals: Atlas Poetica, Gusts, Take Five, and Paper Wasp. In 2010, Blemish Books in Australia published my collection of twenty haibun poems in Triptych Poets Volume 1.
Prose writing also fascinates me as does research and study into Australia’s early penal and colonial settlements. Our visits to several Pacific islands—New Caledonia, Norfolk and Tasmania—led to a trilogy of novels exploring these themes. The Trousseau and An Antique Brooch are combined under one title, Finding Love in Distant Lands. My latest book, The Rose and the Thistle, completes the trilogy. Other writings include a series of lyric essays entitled, Australia, Land of Timeless Beauty, and several collections of short stories. All of my books are available as eBooks through my author pages on Amazon USA, Amazon Australia, and the Adelaide Digital Publishing Group. To visit, click on the following links.
I also post weekly to my blog, ‘Nature as Art and Inspiration,’ that showcases the magnificent scenery, foliage and flowers of Australia and the surrounding Pacific islands. This blog also serves as my website. http://marymageau.wordpress.com
If I could offer suggestions to other aspiring writers, my participation in several writers’ groups has been nourishing and enriching. It’s a joy to make friends with other writers, to share your work and interests with them, and get some valuable feedback along the way. I would also plead with you to read widely—historical and contemporary writers—and to participate in the occasional class to acquire new skills. Writers’ Festivals always offer master classes and workshops that develop your craft. If you choose to self-publish, you won’t need an army of middle men: agents, talent scouts, or letters of introduction to the commercial press. One thing is essential though—a good, professional editor—as anything you submit to the internet must always be carefully edited, proof read, and free from grammatical or punctuation errors, and typos.
I always present a carefully edited copy to every eBook publisher, and I make sure that my manuscript is accompanied by a well-designed colour cover. Initially when I first published with Lulu, I used the services of its graphic designers to create my book covers. As I enjoy nature photography, I occasionally create my own covers with special software that allows me to superimpose text over a JPG image. Recently I found Melissa Smith in the US, who designed my latest cover. I intend to use her again when the occasion arises.
As I just completed a major project, The Rose and the Thistle, I plan to take a deep breath, continue with daily meditation, my weekly blog postings, and get out into the garden again. I’m determined to finish knitting a new scarf and catch up on more travel and reading. Below is an excerpt from my newsletter, The Internet Scribe, one that I send to an ever growing community. The Prologue from my new book will give you a sample of my writing, and a photo of the cover.
What could be more breath-taking than the first experience of a sunrise over the wide open sea? Mary Alworth gazed in wonder at the rising sun’s pathway of molten gold. It spread before her, refracting into a thousand shimmers—dancing like brilliant flames of fire—over the rise and fall of the Atlantic swells. But she had another task to accomplish and a personal ritual to fulfil, and now was the time to complete it.
Moving across the deck of the Harriet, Mary found a place near the prow where she would be alone. Removing a large brass key from her pocket and holding it up she spoke to the rolling breakers. ‘Right now my step father will be searching the house, trying in vain to find me. I locked my bedroom door from the outside and when he forces it open, everything of mine will be gone. I have all of my possessions with me on this ship. Nothing remains.’
She raised her arm and, leaning forward, deliberately threw her key into the waves. For only a moment its brass surface gleamed in the sunlight before it sank into the depths. Then, standing tall, she spoke to the wind: ‘Finally I am liberated and on my way to Van Diemen’s Land, far away in the South Pacific Ocean. Here, at the ends of the earth, I will never be found. Now I’ve broken all the ties that bind me to him and to London. At last I am free.’
Thank you, Fiona Mcvie, for inviting me to contribute this interview. I look forward to following your blog, and to enjoy the achievements of many other writers. I only hope that I can live to be a hundred, as life is so filled with wonderful experiences—all just waiting to be written about and celebrated.
My 80th birthday photo