Home of AUTRALIAN AUTHOR Lisa .G. books

Megan Higginson -
Children's Author and Blogger.

Copy of February, 2017 interview AUTHOR of the MONTH feature.

Lisa G, tell us a bit about yourself ....

      I was born in Melbourne, we  relocated to Tassie when I was 6 yrs old.  Eight years on, my family returned to Melbourne before relocating to Regional Victoria, as I entered my last year of high school. I have been here since and have no plans to leave other than for lots of holidays. I quite like not moving.
      Married for 27 years, there are three cheeky boys in our home – one is my husband, and we all dote over our adorable Cheweenie, Lilly.
I like to challenge myself and I am always thinking, creating and, even if I have no idea how to do it, on to a new project – which sometimes drives my family crazy - in the nicest of ways of course!
       I guess, I’m a little gypsy like. Other than writing, I have trouble sticking to one career – there’s just so many choices, new things to learn and too little time.  I want to do it all and usually, in my own stubborn way!
       Retail, hospitality, banking, finance, managerial, legal, medical and education (Literacy and integration) have my name on them. Though I enjoyed them all – and for different reasons, I can easily say, other than witnessing that light bulb moment when a child realises they can really do `it’,...... none have come remotely within coo-ee of the happiness, contentment  and reward writing brings me.

How long have you been writing for? What did you first write? Genre?

      I have been writing for forever! 

      It started with political poems based on my opinions of justice as a 12 year old. Inparticular, poverty and the lack of compassion in a world that has enough money that everyone can live well.  At 14, I was writing lyrics and rhyme about heartbreak and love. For some time and after my first real boyfriend was killed in a car accident, poems of loss prevailed.
       But my first serious foray into writing was with the emergence of rhyming childrens’ stories which turned everyday situations into magical adventures. That was at 16. The very first story is now the first in a series of five I have written, which I hope to one day publish.
Not until my early twenties did I attempt a novel. ‘Changing Faces’ was unfortunately corrupted by a virus and subsequently lost and I gave up on writing for a while. But being that writing is part of who I am, the moratorium wasn’t to be for long.
         Writing took on a whole new meaning with the arrival of my first son. Composing during midnight feedings I fell totally in love with the beauty of night and the escapism of writing.  And there spurned the pivotal moment my mind began the constant whirred of ideas, reigniting my desire and dreams, to not only write a “world class great read” novel but to be respected for my work. 

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Describe your light bulb moment?

     Sitting under canopy of the large snowball tree at our Booran Road Caulfield home, a skip, hop and jump from ‘The Heath’ (Caulfield Racecourse), I dreamed of writing a novel.  Emerging as I leant back against the trunk admiring the blossoms, I was scribbling down prose for what was, unknown to me at the time, to be my first ever children’s book.  I was 16.

     Every chance I had, it occurred to me,  that I was writing something, anything. So it wasn’t so much of a light bulb moment but a realisation that writing and I were synonymous – it felt very natural and words just seemed to come together for me.  Writing was my home… where I felt totally at peace and free.  
       The fact that I didn’t think I was worthy or good enough to really pursue writing seriously when I was younger, I regret somewhat. Life would have certainly taken a different path if I had. Though RUMLA may have never happened – so the regret is not deep… RUMLA has given me great joy.

What are your core beliefs around reading and writing?

     I feel everyone should be supported in developing the skills and literary comprehension to read, and of course, write.  

       In addition to the daily challenges of living, a life without literacy robs our minds of idea’s, imagination and personal growth.  Reading and writing are powerful tools. They take us places, actions will never achieve. They propel us forward, drive our ambition and open our eyes. They provide entertainment and fulfillment. At times, they even console us. Literacy elevates everyone’s ability to communicate, to articulate and enriches our wellbeing, gifting us amazing journeys to share and providing a life beyond what we see.

Now to your book, Rumla. Where did the idea come from for this book?

Tricky question! Short answer – there was nothing specific. The words just came. RUMLA evolved.

       RUMLA’s is however, a culmination of childhood experiences that birthed adult fascinations for the history and mystic of ancient old worlds and an admiration of strong, self assured characters; more specifically,  those who see beauty and freedom of embracing themselves, sharing themselves fearlessly with  the world.  These ingredients came together in spontaneous literacy task during a professional development session. Much to my surprise a strange and intriguing little tale that sprung to life and had both my PD trainer and myself wondering, not only where it came from but where it would go .

        Where the idea came from initially, I am yet to pin point. The gloomy sky overhead did give me the starting point. But it was some 12 months later that I actually decided to discover where the story would go.

        Continuing on from where I’d left off, the ideas started flowing. Research followed, building depth the plot developed and soon the messages to deliver defined themselves.  RUMLA became a kaleidoscope of purpose . But mostly,  RUMLA was for fun. It was somewhere to escape and to get totally lost in. And, it was my favourite place to be!

Why did you write it?

Originally, RUMLA was just for me.

       I believed for the first time, I could maybe write that novel. The desire to make my teenage dreams a reality was strong. I literally thought, it wouldn’t hurt to try. Letting my imagination take me on a journey, there was never originally a higher moral purpose nor a deeper message.

       In saying that however, I do love the simplicity and depth of ancient wisdoms and it just happened that while researching Ashanti Twi culture, I literally stumbled across Adinkra proverbial symbols which set were the original moral compass of ancient life for the Twi people. The ethics of Adinkra perfectly encapsulated the tone I wanted to convey.  Incorporating the African symbolism as chapter headings (and an English translation of the Ashanti Twi name/proverb), Adinkra defines each chapter’s underlying message.

      So there are many beautiful subtleties trailing throughout RUMLA and they are very much what makes RUMLA uniquely special and individual to each reader.  Being that the messages are a part of the mystery, I will let you unravel them for yourself. 

How long did it take to research and write?

From initial pen on paper to published – 8 years. 

      Never did I have a self-imposed time line to realise my dream. A working wife and mum with quite a few commitments, writing fitted in very nicely around the goings on of family life. But really, RUMLA was my little escape and I enjoyed so much that part of me dreaded finishing ; what was I to do when finished I wondered - as it turns out, there is a lot to do!

      With no direction and initially just writing to see where RUMLA would go, researching the historical, mythological and cultural kicked in about 18 months into writing. Investigations from then on never really stopped. This was predominantly because I was intrigued, but also because the ending wasn’t clear until it was almost upon me. So I was always searching, looking to add more depth and credibility to RUMLA– all be it on the pages of google!

What do you hope that people will take away from Rumla?

To have loved every minute.

     As they turn the last page of RUMLA, I hope readers have been intrigued, entertained and have felt a part of the adventure as if they were written into the story.
      I hope that somewhere along the way, a little something is discovered among the Adinkra,  that resonates; making it personal in a way that is unique to them.

     It is my deepest wish,  they too become as lost in my imagination and in the world of RUMLA as I.

You love to encourage people and inspire people. What is your favourite life motto?

In my usual style, I am bucking the trend. I have two!

It always seems impossible until it’s done; a winner is a dreamer who never gives up!

In a world where you can be anything, choose to be kind.

Share with us...3 fun facts about YOU!

1. I dance in the shower - every day, every time

2. I always, always, mix up aphorisms i.e. His room is like a pig’s breakfast. Dogs might fly!

3. I can NEVER be trusted with your chocolate - ever!

Thank you Lisa G. for taking the time to chat with me. It has been delightful and enlightening getting to know you.  

Megan Higginson -
Children's Author and Blogger.