Name:-` John Findley
Where are you from
Woodleigh, Victoria, Australia. The farms around us are small by Australian standards, ours being only seven acres and it is by definition a “hobby farm.” Our daughter and her husband purchased it about five years ago; we sold the family home helped with the money and built a second house on the farm.
I grew up in several country towns, went to a different school each year as we moved often until we finished in Melbourne. Spent four years at a secondary school, “Richmond Tec,” found out that there was more to school than heartache and sadness, I met some fantastic educators some took an interest in us as students and really helped. As well I met the other side of learning, finding out what corporal punishment was all about.
Then thirty plus years with a government bank, watching the bookwork go from pen and ink to computers. Running taxis after that, as well as in the final years working for the bank. Along with many and varied part time jobs.
My first wife left me with our three children, and I was lucky enough after a few years to find Heather. She joined our family with her own three children, now our extended family has given me lots of grandchildren.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Everything else has left my mind as I count the hours to my visit to the dentist; I could never warm to liking men and women who take on this profession. But with a toothache hanging around for the two days I needed to wait for an appointment I can’t think of anything else.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
About ten years ago while living in another country town, a young lady who helped run the local general store asked me to join a small writing group. I joined and once a month we shared our stories we wrote, and offered advice and our opinions on each. I really enjoyed the process, and I would like to think they didn’t hold back on their comments because I was twice their age.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I started putting my stories together, someone suggested that I should get them published. My thinking at the time was to leave something of my life, for my grandchildren to read, so that they might understand the life I had. Perhaps to get from my writing why I remain happy with how my life progressed.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well I think I’ve covered that? Well perhaps not all. I had years of the stories I had written at one a month, also stories I had started and then went on to something else. What did excite me was how we lived all those years before, and in many of my stories I told of how I saw my life back when I was a boy.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
As I started my writing so late in my life, and when I think back to my schooling, writing styles weren’t mentioned. My writing style is just to write it down as I believe the reader can best understand me, in doing this my wife and those friends who help proofread, I suppose they set the style.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
“Recollections of my life” In writing my book, my greatest task was remembering all the happenings. I spent many hours with my children, chatted over how I remembered something with Heather my wife. With my good friend Diane who just happened to be my cousin. Also with the young lady who I married first, the mother of my own three children who left us all for a better life, she helped me get as near the correct story told as could be.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Perhaps, be happy to live your life the way it happens. What I mean is with all the up’s and down’s that come your way, enjoy the challenge, learn from the bad decisions as well as the good ideas you have. I never have had been able to learn from seeing someone else mess up; I had to wait till it happened to me.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
This book is how I remember my life. Some of my friends have commented that it may be the way I wished my life to have gone, but I say to them. I have written my story with the goal of telling it like it is. I might also say that I sometimes add a little for the story’s sake.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
Well I suppose I should include the fourth grade school reader, our teacher had us talk about a story written by an Englishman. As close as I can remember the title it was “The drive from Kuala Lumpur to Penang” I believe now it was set around 1935, and it described driving through heavy rain on unsealed roads. The car’s canvas top leaking along with the road darkening due to nightfall. This was an exciting group discussion as most of the fourth grade could identify with car trips in rainy weather.
Another book I received as a Sunday school prize for attendance was about a riverboat that was set up as a general store and with each stop something exciting and unusual happened to the two friends that travelled with this boat during the school holidays.
I am a grandpa now, but it was my own grandfather who read to me, his books had a religious theme I consider that mentored me in some way. My sister and I lived with grandma and grandpa from about my sixth birthday, I found his guiding influence by watching how he reacted around me and others we met, I never heard him run any one down, nor swear, never heard him tell an untruth. But there were others through my life, as luck would have it I managed through no effort on my part to have some fantastic school teachers. I write about some of them in my book, and through the school years guided me to do the best I could.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Yes Samita Sarkar, a young Canadian writer. I reviewed her book “I Am the Ocean” On Amazon, and on Goodreads. If you get a chance have a look at the reviews, I consider this book is worth the read. This young lady from a different religious faith to me writes about a month travelling by public transport down the east coast of the USA. Though her faith is mentioned, what came across to me was the resourcefulness of Samita and how ingenious she was.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My dear friend Judi, I remember her first as a very capable young lady that had her life all together. Her husband had run off with my wife, I was an emotional mess and drew strength from how she handled herself. If it wasn’t for her I would not have moved on as well as I did.
Now Judi, along with my cousin Diane and Heather my wife help me with proofreading my writings.
With all that being said, Judi is great to have as a good friend. Someone I can email a joke to, phone for a chat and enjoy the cup of coffee when we can catch up.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, at seventy plus I need something to do. I still think as a young man, and as long as I can put a story together I will continue writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, once written I believe the story has been told. But I would change something new with the experience I gained or from advice I have been given, I might write a new story differently.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Well I could mention again the young lady at the general store, but before that, in fact all my life I have enjoyed telling a story. So I believe it’s only a short step from recounting an anecdote to writing it down.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Yes, my grandchild joined the army; this got me thinking as he passed on the process of attending interviews, sitting for tests etc. I put this together with memories of my friends when I was his age and put it together as a fictional story about a young man joining the Australian air force. I am very pleased with how it has come out, and will be published in a couple of months. It’s titled “Tomorrow is another Day.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The editing process, I realize it’s very important and must be done. But it really slows you down. I have the story rolling out in my head; I hate stopping and slowly reading back through what I have written. Then handing it on to someone for their comments, and then waiting for them to finish so I can attack the editing with their recommendations.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, only shorts trips away now, and my book is seldom mentioned while away. Maybe Heather and I should look at getting away more, perhaps with my new book. We both like travelling.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
With “Recollections of my life” the publisher arranged it with photos I supplied; I rather liked the way it turned out. I think I will go the same way with this next book.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My book is a collection of short stories that I had written over a number of years, and when I started putting them in order some narratives overlapped. So I needed to rewrite some to end earlier than I had planned, and reintroduce the latter part of the story in the correct year.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I believe that I have always faced up to any problems that crossed my path throughout my life, which was restated many times when recalling what happened through the years. I have enjoyed my life, managing to move on quickly from those times that did upset me. Dwelling on things you can’t change is a waste of time and effort, getting on and finding happy and exciting things to do is far better.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I took a few months of acting lessons, finishing up with an understanding of how involved it was. Partly realizing how much effort one must put into the work to be any good at it, and it was not for me. But in saying that, I see in my grandchildren and my children glimpses of me at their age. So as my book is about me, I would have to say those who know me the best, at least they should be considered.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Only write if you enjoy it, take breaks, and find someone to talk to about your current work. I am lucky as I can bounce ideas of my wife Heather. Be prepared to put something aside if you find something else that interests you more. But I restate “enjoy the writing” as I believe it’s important.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Take the time to leave a review, I know I enjoy reading them and they really do help. Not only the author, but it’s a great help to the hesitant purchaser.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Great Australian Droving Stories: – By Bill ‘Swampy’ Marsh. As it sounds it’s a collection of short stories written after interviewing men and women working by moving cattle and sheep around Australia, years ago. What I like with this type of book is you get retold stories from the very independent drover who works by his/her wits, and solve the daily problems they come across.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but I remember many times being read to before going to bed. What took my interest with reading as far back as I remember was the Disney comics, my pocket money were spent at the newsagent on Saturday mornings? They are gone now; I wonder what their resale value would be?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Jokes, sad stories either told directly to me or some I get to see on Facebook and twitter. I am not that clever to separate the real from the imaginary perhaps evil falsehoods. But never the less I react, enjoying the jokes the best.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
My mother, she died when I was six, my last memory was of her holding my hand from her bed. I remembered her words, and how she spoke to me and my sister. Now as an old man with a life time of experience behind me, I would understand her much better.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
How fortunate I am that the responsibility for the words on my head stone is not mine, which will be the job of the ones still around after I go. But I would like to glimpse what they inscribe; perhaps this shows how inquisitive I am.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Gardening, with living on a small farm sometimes consists of collecting manure in the wheelbarrow. I have become good at running pipes from our dam to water our plants. All can be time consuming cutting in to writing time.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Romanic comedy, why watch anything else? Though sometimes we husbands need to toe the line and watch murder mysteries, as our loving wives have the remote.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Roast pork with crackle along with apple sauce, why say anything more? Husbands don’t have an opinion on color; I leave that up to my wife. I have added this to help all the young husbands that feel that they may be entitled to speak their mind, my advice don’t. With music I have been known to listen to and enjoy country and western.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Writing has just come into my life. I spent many years with full time jobs and part time jobs; I had to work a lot as I could never live within my means with one salary. For thirty years I was a banker, then running our own taxis and managing other people’s taxies. After that I managed beach houses used for holiday rental. As a young man I delivered bottled milk with a horse and cart, I worked at a bakery in the mornings. Discovered how to be paid for fourteen hours work with cleaning banks and offices, by working fast and getting it done in four hours. I then drove taxis at night, then purchasing taxis of our own, leasing the taxi licence and putting on more taxis to run. As we grew we managed other people’s taxis, that part of my life I really enjoyed. Then retiring from work and finding more and harder work looking after holiday homes on the beach side were we used to live.
I think I will stay with writing as long as my books get purchased and liked by my readers.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My website: – www.johnfindley.com.au
My Amazon page: – https://www.amazon.com/author/john_findley
My Author Facebook page: – https://www.facebook.com/Life.JMF
My twitter connection is: – https://twitter.com/JohnFindleyAuth