Startled Beginning – Week 16
Gayel Collinson Pen name Gracie Stathers.
My Journey to writing fiction.
I have always loved the stories my family told me, not stories read from books but real stories that are passed down from one generation to another embellished by some and adjusted by others.
When I was about ten years old I wrote an essay at school it contained blow-by-blow descriptions about how my mother and father had an argument, which ended in a teapot being thrown across the lunch table. This triggered a visit by my headmaster to my home; he was worried was living in a violent situation. What he discovered was a happy and well balance Mum and Dad who in truth I had never even heard argue let alone throw a teapot. I had no idea what all the fuss was about, we were asked to write a descriptive piece and I did.
I studied many things through my life including naturopathy and osteopathy. I wrote a couple of non-fiction books about health and wellbeing for my clinic.
Health in Minute: it only takes a second. A guide any client could manage.
Magnets Restore Health a book about how and why magnets worn on the body can help with pain and discomfort.
I retired when I was seventy and set about writing − for my grandchildren − the stories I had been told by my family. When I had completed the manuscript I realized I had told the story of four families who moved to New Zealand in the mid 1800s along with the reasons why they came and the lives they led in this new and beautiful country. This information did not belong to our family alone it represented the story of all New Zealanders who have built this country.
My first novel, A Long Journey: from steam to cyber is based on what I know about the early days of settlement in New Zealand. It follows a family who suffered the degradation of transportation to Norfolk Island and what happened to the loved ones they left behind. A second family arrived on the Comte de Paris at the time of the ill-fated attempt by France to colonise the South Island. The other two families include soldiers come to fight the New Zealand wars and an adventurer looking for excitement. A story about families full of courage and love set in Akaroa and the Wairarapa.
As a member of Tauranga Writers for Children, I contributed to the popular series Stories for Kiwi Kidz. In 2017 I completed my first novel under the pen name Gracie Stathers.