VENY ARMANNO

Veny Armanno

Veny Armanno

In 2002 , the year I first decided to take my writing seriously and  pursue the long-held dream, I attended lots of courses at the Queensland Writers Centre. One of the first I went to was taught by Veny Armanno. He made the world of writing sound so exciting, difficult yet rewarding, that I was inspired to apply for a Masters degree at the University of Queensland where he taught in the creative writing programme. I was lucky enough to be accepted and have him as my supervisor/advisor. It was from Veny that I learnt the importance of each sentence, the power of good strong prose. It was also from him I learned that discipline and persistence are as essential to the writing business as creativity.

I was already a fan of his work, especially Romeo of the Underworld and Firehead, where he infused laid back Queensland with a deeply sensitive Sicilian sensibility. Then he won the QLD Premier’s award for best novel for his epic The Volcano. I loved his recent release, The Dirty Beat and in a few weeks his new novel Black Mountain will be launched at Avid Reader Bookstore in West End. Time to go along and cheer!

Somehow Veny manages to keep on producing work of combined power and beauty, all while continuing to teach writing to upstarts like me.

I was honoured to have Veny launch Thrill Seekers earlier this year and am very grateful for all he’s taught me. He’s running a workshop at the QLD Writers Centre later this year, “Show Don’t ‘Tell” and I recommend that if you’re serious about improving your writing or just need a kick start, this is one workshop not to miss.

I’m looking forward to reading Black Mountain and seeing what he’s come up with this time. It looks fabulous!

Black Mountain by Venero Armanno

Black Mountain by Venero Armanno

Three cheers for Veny Armanno, one of this country’s most exciting, yet under-recognised, writers.

You’re recognised by me Veny, and by all those readers and writers whose lives you’ve touched.

Thank you.

With lots of love,

Edwina

WE HAVE LIFT OFF!

Thrill Seekers launch crowd

Part of the Thrill Seekers launch crowd

Now I know what it feels like to have your dreams come true. On Friday 9th March the night I’ve been dreaming of for ten years became reality as Thrill Seekers was launched at Avid Reader Bookstore in West End with a wonderful crowd of friends, family and well-wishers cheering it on.  It felt surreal but fantastic. A huge high. My most cherished  memories include Veny Armanno’s speech mentioning the Song of Bernadette, an all-time favourite movie, and of getting the crowd to bust out a few of my brother’s dance moves to his signature song  – Greased Lightning! I felt like a queen, or at the very least a head of state, as I greeted people and signed book after book.

signing books at launch

Edwina signing copies of Thrill Seekers at the launch

What a wonderful night. Here’s a  montage of photos by my friend, the fabulous writer, Isabel D’Avila Winter.  My lovely uncle Jonathan, was there and wrote a review of the night on his blog.

I’ve also been interviewed by the local paper South City News by Charley Rico and had a great time doing a radio interview (part two here) on Queer Radio on 4zzzfm102.1 with the charming Blair Martin who has the most delicious baritone voice.

And just when you think it can’t get any better Thrill Seekers made number one on the independent best seller list in The Courier Mail this weekend!  That’s another dream achieved. WOW!

I am so very grateful to the many people who have supported, advised and helped me all these long years working towards this goal. I share this joy with all of you .

me and Krissy plugging Thrill Seekers

Edwina and Krissy Kneen at the launch

Hang in there!

Mountain-Climbing-old lady

Mountain-Climbing-old lady

    Often writing and trying to get published successfully can seem like scaling the world’s tallest mountain. 

Writing as a career isn’t the easiest choice. If you have an option about whether to write or not, then don’t do it! But if, like me, everything you think  about is part of some greater story you’re compelled to write then take the following advice to heart. 

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

 Calvin Coolidge 

About eight years ago when I first started taking my writing seriously, this was the quote I had on my wall. The more I write, the more it rings true. I’ve seen better writers than me come and go from my writing group after finding it all too hard and quitting before they really gave themselves a chance. I’m no genius but I’m stubborn and I’ll persist and persist till I make it. 

I’m hanging in there for as long as it takes.   

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”  William Feather  

mountain climber gripping rocks Hanging in there 

Remember the Australian ice-skater who won his gold medal because he was the only one left standing? That’ll be me, if it has to be. 

I know now this writing game takes time. My teacher Veny Armanno wrote a novel every year for ten years before his first book (short stories!) was published. My friend Katherine Howell had been writing for over ten years when she finally caught her break. 

Sometimes people get lucky. Very lucky. But I think for them the road ahead is just as difficult, though in a different way. Those of us who serve our apprenticeship in the unpublished wilderness are free to develop our skills without time pressures, editorial constraints and marketing requirements. We also grow hides as tough as horny rhinos. 

So you writers out there, frustrated at all the work you’re doing for little or no recognition or financial return, just keep writing. Our turns will come! Don’t give up now. 

  “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” 

 Thomas Edison 

mountain climber near summit

almost there

Don’t sit down in the snow and freeze. No matter how many times that story or novel has been rejected, go through it one more time. All this persistence means your skills are improving in leaps and bounds. Redraft. Resend. And hope for the best.  

Steven King’s Carrie was in the bin before his wife scooped it out and sent it off one last time. JK Rowling was rejected all over the place. They didn’t give up. They persisted. 

And so will we. 

Photo of excited woman mountain climber on the summit

made it!