New update: November 2019
I believe many people are interested in why I became a writer and what I did? So here are some more biographical detalis:
I'd always written poems, short stories etc while I was at school and I was a huge reader. I read everything! Novels, Phantom comics (a great favourite of mine) GIrls Own silly boarding school stories, my medical father's copy of Krafft-Ebing (when I could sneak into the surgery) everything on my mother's bookcase, Stefan Zweig, Rabelais (especially the 'rude' bits to the delight of one of my young brothers) Machiavelli (whom I could not understand but loved the cover) T.S. Eliot The Cocktail Party (also incomprehensible to a young child) so anything in print I'd read.
I had an epiphany at 22 when I was a young mother living in the country where my husband was the teacher of a small bush school. In Scone, I picked up a copy of a Gertrude Stein biography and read just one sentence before nodding and shutting the book. The sentence read 'I decided when I was thirty that I'd write.) So would I, I said to myself. That put things off for a comforting eight years and I would use the interim to gather more intelligence about what life was all about. On my thirtieth birthday, I bought a big writing pad and new pens and pencils and started writing a novel. It wasn't much good but I learned a lot in the doing of it -- how to stick to a big project, how to see something through to the end, how it doesn't have to be a linear process... Then I wrote another novel. At this stage, I was getting up at four in the morning, writing for a few hours before getting myself and my daughter Madeleine off to work and school. It wasn't until I wrote Fortress in white hot anger (my great second novel had been not just rejected, but humiliated by the reader's report: "Mrs Lord has looked into the woodshed, seen something dreadful, thought it was life, and has written about it.' I had three weeks left of a New Writer's Fellowship and in that time I wrote Fortress, working out the next move in the plot each night and then writing it up the next day. I needed no research as I'd l ived the life of a small school where fourteen or fifteen kids were taught in classes ranging from Kindergarten up to the middle of High School -- those wishing to go further and complete the Higher School Certificate would take the bus into Scone everyday -- a distance of about forty miles. Fortress was a massive international success going all over the world, translated into dozens of languages and finally being made into a movie starring Rachel Ward and some very talented youngsters. The film money allowed me to leave work and live the precarious life of the full time writer, something I've done ever since, often flying by the seat of my pants waiting for a cheque to come in -- sometime from somewhere. It's not a life I could recommend to those needing a sense of financial security!
I didn't set out to write 'crime novels' but after the success of Fortress, I came to see what a good catalyst to the story a crime is. It sets the story up and running and creates a goal that must be won -- the solution of the crime and the bringing to justice of the offender. A crime novel is already suspenseful -- and if the writer learns her craft, she or he will develop the craft of creating tension and 'page-turnability' All my novels are really investigations into human behaviours, especially those of the investigators and their families. I love these relational connections which add depth and warmth.
Here's a little more detail
in the older biographical note:
Gabrielle Lord survived being ‘razed’ by the nuns, acquired an education despite this, and after working in many different areas, sales, teaching, brick-cleaning, peach-picking and packing, and in the Public Service as an employment officer, started writing seriously aged 30.
Her first two manuscripts ended up composting the tomatoes at her market garden – another attempt to make a living – but the third one FORTRESS was picked up internationally and made into a feature film starring Rachel Ward. A later novel WHIPPING BOY was made into a telemovie starring Sigrid Thornton. The film rights money, coinciding with her daughter leaving school, allowed Gabrielle to resign and instead of getting up at 4.30am and writing for several hours before heading off for work, she could write full-time and lead a more ‘normal’ writer’s life – hanging around with scientists and detectives, badgering forensic anthropologists (she studied some Anatomy at Sydney university) and doing work experience with a busy private security business and of course, writing.
Research is everything, she says. ‘Out of my contacts with experts (who are always far too modest to describe themselves that way) I get not only the fine-tuning necessary for today’s savvy readers, but also wonderful incidents and images that enrich and enlarge my books.’
Gabrielle’s interests are very simple. ‘After a misspent youth, I don’t have many brain cells left so I enjoy walking, meditation, singing, gardening, chatting with close friends, being with my family and grandkids, feeding my goldfish and keeping up to date with bodywork and enlightened psychotherapy.’
Gabrielle has now written seventeen adult novels, the latest being
, Wilkinson Publishing, now available in the USA -- as well as twenty YA novels. The Conspiracy 365 series has been published in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Holland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Portugal, Turkey, Indonesia and China -- twice -- in English and Chinese characters as well. Conspiracy 365 has also been sold into nine Asian countries by Scholastic Malaysia. Currently, she's almost finished writing her eighteen crime novel, The New GIrl, set in a 1960s convent boarding school. She's also working on a TV pitch for a series based on the five Gemma Lincoln novels. Next year, 2020, she has plans to have a Sabbatical, but as new ideas keep popping in, this may not be the case.
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