When I first self-published 'Quizzical' I had no idea where the journey would lead me. I was just happy to have my first book published, and out into the market for people to read. I have had some wonderful experiences since then.
I remember when Irina Dunn, the then Executive Director of the NSW Writers' Centre, rang me to tell me I'd jointly won the 2006 Best Australian Self-Published Book Award for Fiction. I was so dumbstruck that all I could say was 'Really?' She advised me that the awards presentation would be taking place the following weekend as part of the Leichardt Book Fair and even though it meant I'd have to travel interstate to get there, I didn't have to think twice about it. I was going to be there ... and enjoy my first major experience in my journey as an emerging writer!
I booked an early morning flight and stayed in accommodation close to the airport the night before. This was my first plane trip on my own, which didn't bother me, and when I arrived in Sydney I caught a taxi to the venue. It was quite nervewracking not knowing anyone, but once I found Irina, she took me under her wing, and explained how the official proceedings would unfold. I have never been so nervous in my life as I was when I was up on stage, waiting to collect my award, which consisted of a certificate and a cheque for $250.00 as joint winner. I remember my knees shaking and I couldn't control them, and I was even worse when I had to speak in front of the microphone. But I got through it. Afterwards Irina set me up at a table with my books, and people bought copies! It was very exciting. I also met some other authors, one of them being Maureen Bartlett, a fellow self-published author of the children's books, Spiggie the story of a puffin, and Tigerfin and the ferry children. Check out her website at: http://www.maureenbartlett.com/ We have kept in touch since. She writes the most beautiful poems, and always emails me one at Christmas time.
One of my favourite parts of being an author, is visiting schools and libraries where I get to meet and spend time with the children that read my books. I also go through the publishing process with them because it is very interesting, and it is also very relevant because just about every author, (even a multi award-winning one, or a best-selling one) needs their work edited, and it is good for children to know that; that no-one gets it right on their very first attempt, that we all have to practise and work at things, no matter how good we are at them (or think we are)!
There have been other memorable moments for me, too. I was writing my second novel 'Money Bags' when I realised I'd never seen a Green Room, so I contacted Channel 9 in Melbourne and they invited me in for a tour, followed by a taping of the now defunct 'Temptation'. It was great. And Ed Phillips and Lavinia Nixon were lovely.
All these wonderful experiences continue to reinforce to me that this is where I want to be. I'm not there yet. But I'm on my way, and I'm enjoying the journey immensely.