Christine Larsen is an ex-secretary, wife, mother, grandmother – and a farmer for more than 40 years, now living on a retirement farm in beautiful Australia. Finally she is a self-published author of a series of e-books, after shelving her written creations decades ago, believing that editors’ rejections equalled no talent. Christine concentrated instead on raising a family and meeting the various needs of farming, including successfully raising a myriad of animals, nine of which were kangaroos. She seems to have been rescuing something or someone ever since – on Lifeline telephones; adopting three ‘special needs’ children; in the community as a Careworker; animals from shelters; and from the Charity shops – abandoned small knitted folk. Throughout these years she has remained an avid reader and wannabe author, constantly ‘moodling’ about this – until, like a volcano, Christine’s creative writing skills had no choice but to erupt, and here she is.
What inspires you to write?
Having started life as a listener, as quickly as humanly possible I learned how to read – and the world opened its arms to welcome me. In the words of Aldous Huxley –’Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.’So far my chosen genre is Children’s books – where my greatest inspiration was born and flourishes – to encourage and challenge small children to become addicted bookworms. “… my mostest favourite book ever”, one little grand-daughter told a recent reviewer of one of my books. There is no greater reward for me. THIS is all the inspiration I need.
Tell us about your writing process
I am an incurable insomniac, but not too worried about it as the ‘wee small hours’ most often find me having a brainstorm. Maybe a title, a main character, or a concept – or even just the germ of an idea. It’s called ‘moodling’ – a mental doodling and dreaming and nurturing and growing the idea into an acceptable basic form. At times the first draft pours out of my pencil with a life of its own, leaving me feeling like a simple scribe of another’s words. These rough creations become in a series of files within folders (in true ‘old secretary’ filing fashion) in my computer. I read my stories out loud to my poor, long-suffering husband, to establish the rhythm and emphasis and grammar… and I usually pick up any typos at the same time. Several edits later I pull all the parts together, arrange and rearrange, and finally start readying them for self-publishing as a Kindle e-book for Amazon. Next to master is Smashwords formatting. I’m nearly there. A last tweak and ‘preview’ and I’ll be ready to hit the Save and Publish button… I think!
How do you think writing for children and young adults is different from writing for an adult audience?
If I am drawing from the inner child in myself to create children’s books as a Granny, it will obviously be a much shorter journey for my ‘out loud’ readers, and right in the moment for small folk taking their first tentative steps along the path. What a joy to have a small influence on this awakening.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Absolutely, or else how could I possibly write their stories? But the listening must be absolute, and the recording of precious thoughts and feelings conducted with the greatest respect.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Technology made the decision for me, when I realised I would no longer have to go the torturous route of approaching editors and waiting months to maybe get no reply, or just the return of a manuscript with Rejected stamped across it. Self-publishing has been a steep learning challenge for me, but I am totally happy with the results, given my age and knowledge limitations.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
E-books are certainly making huge inroads, but I think paper books will linger for a long time to come. There are just too many people who prefer the feel and look and smell of a ‘real’ book. But self-publishing is a wonderful option, opening a new world to many authors who didn’t stand a chance previously.
What genres do you write:: So far, articles, Squidoo lenses, my children’s books, and I’m working on a memoir series of our 40+ farming years, with the first book hopefully being published soon.
What formats are your books in: eBook
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