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At the moment I'm building a house but that's not a hobby – it's a time-sucker! I like walking in the bush, reading (Lots – especially crime fiction), movies and poetry. Favourite poet is Billy Collins. I have lots of favourite fiction writers – at the moment, a couple are Lisa Gardner and Peter Robinson.
I joined my first writing class back in the 80s, and it led to me going to university as a mature-age student. I started with poems, and ventured into short stories. It took me a while to try a novel, and then it took me even longer to write a decent one!
Mostly inside my head. It seems that there are hundreds of stories in there somewhere, and then one day I'll see or hear something, start thinking about it a lot and it gradually develops into a story. That's the inspiring part. Then I have to sit down and write it. That's the working part.
I start with the Internet, but then I tend to go to books next, because they have more detailed information (and often more accurate – there are a lot of inaccurate websites out there). I love books with photos or illustrations because I like to visualise what I'm researching. Finally, I'll interview people for personal insights and information.
Read first for enjoyment, then try to read critically as a writer. You can learn heaps from other writers – how they use description and dialogue, how they create interesting characters, how they construct stories. Write regularly. I know everyone says this, but writing lots is a process of oiling the cogs and constantly improving what you're doing. Once a month splurges are fun but you don't advance much.
I've just spent several months reworking a novel about ballet – I had to combine two books into one, and it is way too long now! I have an adult crime novel I've been working on for about two years. It may never get published but it's my passion on the side! And I'm about to start work on a series of short historical novels – can't tell you more than that just yet.
I do quite a few school visits, when I'm not teaching at Victoria Uni TAFE. I also occasionally do writing classes for adults, and I've been doing a lot of conferences this year as a guest speaker.
You can find me via my website www.sherrylclark.com