A Sweet Ending to 2016

presentWith all the noise and bickering of 2016, and most of it played out on social media, it was gorgeous to hear from one of my fellow Romance Writers of Australia, Lesley Ann Acton, asking if she could promote everyone on her Facebook page, as a positive gesture to finish up the year. Loads of us took her up on it – she was swamped by the looks of it!! (Authors… Free advertising… What can I say?) But I was interested to hear why she decided to do it, and so I asked her along for a quick chat:

Thank you, Bree, for this opportunity. When I decided to make my offer to promote authors, I didn’t realise it would get such a big response. It warms my heart to think it has reached so many people. Let’s hope it catches on.

Absolutely. It was an amazing gesture, and one that was so appreciated by so many people! Why did you decide to help out other authors?

We all need help at times but asking for help is not always easy. On my personal page, I disclosed that during my UNI years, our creative writing class was asked to name Australian Authors. I’m ashamed to say that I was at a loss to name many. Since discovering Kindle and ebooks, I realised that there are many talented authors who have made the decision to self-publish but aren’t getting the publicity they deserve. My FB page doesn’t reach a lot of people but I hope that it will help. I know of at least one book that sold since I started yesterday so that’s a bonus.

That’s awesome – the number of people on your FB page is usually not the issue – it’s whether they are responsive to your posts. Looks like yours are!

Now, let’s talk about the year just gone. What made 2016 so yucky for you?

This year has been financially, physically and emotionally challenging but compared to the rest of the world, I should consider myself fortunate. My main problem has been giving up a lot of the physical activities I enjoyed due to chronic pain.

The part that makes me the most upset is that people, in general, are becoming more aggressive, less patient and more self-centered.

It certainly does seem that people are changing, and not for the better. Loads of good people are not sure that they want to celebrate Christmas with all the bows and whistles they usually do this year – they feel as if it’s not really a good time for celebrating. What about you?

I normally have the immediate family over for Christmas but, this year my eldest is spending Christmas with the in-laws so I won’t have my Granddaughters here. It’s only fair, as I see them weekly, but Christmas won’t be the same without them. I will still cook our traditional glazed ham on Christmas eve but I might let DH barbeque the Turkey this year. No lights this year as no-one has the energy (or courage) to get on the roof.

We bookish people tend to disappear into our favorite books when the going gets tough – which books have you been diving into when you need to get away from it all?

There have been so many to choose from this year. I’ve read quite a few but my favourites are Phantasma by Efthalia, Kakadu Sunset by Annie Seaton, The Soldiering on series by Aislinn Kearns and Allison Butler’s Highland Brides and Borderland Brides books.

the-healer station-alpha kakadu-sunset phantasmaQ8 What is your favourite book and why?

It’s very hard to choose a favourite as they are from different genres and I loved them all but the characters in Allison’s books had me sobbing. The Healer touched my heart.

If it’s not a book, it’ll be a movie we dive into. What are your favorites?

I am very eclectic so I love everything from Musicals to Horror and everything in-between. I guess, if I am forced to choose, it would be Dirty Dancing or Brigadoon. Dirty Dancing feels a bit like the story of my relationship with my husband. He was a bit of a rough diamond when we met and people worried that he would crush my spirit but I saw the kindness in him. We have been together now for over forty years.

Brigadoon is such a beautiful story, who wouldn’t love it.

And, with our writerly imaginations, we travel all over the place to escape. Is there anywhere you would like to go?

I would love to travel to Greece but physically, I’m not up to the challenge anymore. I do love Hawaii and have been there twice. The people are very friendly as they count on tourism to pay their bills and it’s very easy to get around there. My husband loves to point out that their sand comes from our part of the world as it was shipped in from Newcastle.

Hahaha. Well, they do say that Australia has the best beaches, right??

Okay, so moving on to 2017. Where are you at on your author journey?

Bree, I have given myself a deadline on waiting for acceptance from publishers, then I plan to self-publish. In 2014 I won a short story writing competition run by Wyong Shire Council which encouraged me but my time at uni made me decide to rewrite my books so it set me back a bit. This year I approached Annie Seaton for editing and she graciously accepted, providing me with lovely feedback and encouragement. Fingers crossed for 2017. I started writing Intrigue, then YA, Paranormal romance and I am currently trying Fantasy.

Do you write under your own name?

My pseudonym is Annie Harland Creek – I know Annie is a common author name but I always said I’d use my Great Grandmother’s name. She was Annie Harland…origin Unknown, who married Edward James Creek. Bit of a mystery. My hope is that, once I get published, other relatives may approach me.

What have you gained from your association with Romance Writers of Australia?

The first word that comes to mind is Friendship. I have met some wonderful people along the way and continue to find new friends. I attended the August Conference in Adelaide this year and was inspired by the speakers who were gracious enough to share their stories and formulas. It is also lovely to know that if I have a question, there is always someone with an answer.

And finally, what message would you like to give everyone for 2017?

Please, please be kind. We are all on the same journey to share our stories. Some of us may never be best sellers but that doesn’t matter. If we touch the heart of one person with our words, that makes everything worthwhile. Helping others achieve their dreams will not take anything away from your own dream but unkind words can crush a spirit and rob the world of a story that was meant to be told. There is a place for all of us.

Thank you so much for your time today, Lesley Ann, and for your amazing gesture. I’m so glad to know you, and hope the very best for you in 2017. Will keep an eye out for your novel!

A Sweet Ending to 2016
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