Once a writer, always a writer: they’re always tapping away at something. That ‘something’ can be another work of fiction, but fiction is a long haul. It takes Pat at least two years to research, write and edit a novel, and that’s before the seemingly endless climb up the mountain of publication. So other projects pop up, either alongside some fiction, or instead of it. As her blog mentions, Pat’s been sucked into family history. She had no idea how interesting it could be – or, indeed, how very little she knew. That’s led her to other history-based projects, and to the delights of merging historical fact with fiction … and who knows where else? You can read about what she’s been up to lately on this page.

 

SEPIA SNAPSHOTS

Another Australia Day prompted Pat to try her hand at another short play. Sepia Snapshots has a cast of eleven and comprises three 15 minutes sketches, of confrontations between some of the strong characters from the past who made the state of Queensland what it is today: powerful men, and women who crossed their paths, not always amicably. The other four characters are applying the pub test to events as they unfold, and the narrator stitches it all together. The play was performed by an amateur group on Australia Day 2020, and both the cast and the 150-strong audience enjoyed themselves while the author managed to survive the experience! Writing for the spoken word is very different from writing fiction, and Pat has discovered that every rehearsal prompts some rewriting. This research was done years ago for a book that never happened – but when you’re a writer, nothing is ever wasted – just make sure you don’t throw anything out!

Another Milestone

The collaborative history Pat has been editing for the last two years has been published. ‘Communities and Connections’ tells the story of an iconic site in Coorparoo, Brisbane, and of the many communities which have shared their lives there over the last 170 years. It’s a beautiful production, with hard cover and high quality paper displaying the many photographs to their best advantage. It has been produced in a limited edition.

While Pat has edited books before, these were mostly collections of stories by individual authors. ‘Communities and Connections’ was the work of an editorial team of eight, and sought contributions from all quarters – which is how drafts, photos, research, articles, and plans came pouring in. As editor, it was her job to shape this material into an illustrated chronological story, factually correct into the bargain. It was all a learning experience, and required working through hundreds of photos to come up with the final selection and layout. The graphic artist was a very welcome addition to the team!

The book was launched just before Christmas – her fourteenth book launch overall – and she and the team are delighted with the reception by the readers.

My Name is Joseph

On Australia Day 2019 Pat’s first play, My Name is Joseph, was given its first airing by an amateur group, and it was enthusiastically received by the 160-strong audience. Based on fact and told through the voices of four generations of one Australian family, the narrative provides a snapshot of the lives and loves of some ordinary people in this country between 1829 and 1997. The 40-minute production comprises nine segments in all, together with an introduction and a conclusion. The dialogue was recorded, and the graphics and music used on the day have been added to the audio file. This extract offers the first three segments of My Name is Joseph. If you are interested in the whole work, you are welcome to contact Pat directly.

THE FIRST FAMILY HISTORY

Pat first started digging up her mother’s family skeletons in mid 2017. It didn’t take long to get hooked, as surprise followed surprise – why didn’t she know all this??? She joined a very helpful family history society. Then she subscribed to Ancestry.com. About a year after she started, she began to stitch a narrative together in a little book just destined for the family, plus a few libraries. The collective story spans about 160 years, and came in at about 100 pages, including whatever photos she was able to lay her hands on. That’s when all these characters began jostling around in her head, demanding a bigger audience for their fascinating stories – stories that encapsulated the history of our state and our country. And that’s how My Name is Joseph was born.

Now she’s bracing herself for more revelations, when she gets in to her father’s side of the family. What will transpire from this? Watch this space!