Monthly Archives: November 2010

A Jill with Dual Visions!

Today it is my pleasure to interview one of my fellow Ten Penners, Jill Smith  


who has just released her stunning Sci-Fi novel Dual Visions    .

Hi Jill, thanks for joining me today!

I know you have been so excited to see your first novel in its printed form. Were you working on it for long?

This is a book I started years ago when our son was little. I’ve always worked so it was done between jobs. I remember having our son in Primary school and working one part time job in the morning and coming home, writing for about two hours; then going to my evening job. Dual Visions evolved over many years this way. I started out writing it as a series of short stories then linking them up. After I paid for a professional critique I introduced more conflict and fleshed out the characters. Initially I had it printed as an e-book through Zeus publications, although it was good to have it out there, I was never entirely happy with the result. I still had a lot of editing to do before the final story really came up to scratch. Thankfully, due to the Gold Coast Writers and my fellow Ten Penners, I did some more serious editing and completed the book ready for publication by Publicious. The cover is one I’m very happy with, and the professional overall result is extremely pleasing. I’ve had great feedback and sold most of my first print run.

You had some of your children’s stories published in The Ten Penners anthology FAN-TAS-TIC-AL TALES.


What was the experience like?

I loved this learning curve. It really pointed out to me my major short comings as a writer. Essentially the importance of editing was really bought home. The getting a group of very different people together to produce a quality product, is in itself an experience. Thanks to you Marion for your great efforts in bringing a cohesive work to the table and a publishable product that is well edited and crafted with the input of all eight ladies. As a result, I decided that the formatting is something I would rather leave to other capable people, ie Andy at Publicious for my own book.

 You have published something else before, an e-book?
 I’ve had some success in writing competitions and another e-book of short stories called Living Tales, also through Zeus. The other family produced book was my Grandmothers Life Story, 90 Years Young. This was simply one I helped my mother put together by recording interviews with Gran then transcribing the results. Mum had terrific pictures and documents to add to the book which is a great legacy to our family history.
But of course, you are always submitting reviews and articles for the Gold Coast Writers’ Association newsletter e-writeabout.
I do enjoy writing book reviews. This is a way to dissect another authors’ way of telling a tale, relating their efforts, without telling the whole story, but essentially giving the review reader a feel for the book that may entice them to go out and buy that book. I’ve discovered that this is not always easy to do.
Do your reviews get published anywhere else?
Yes, I have had reviews in Queensland Writers Centre magazine Writing Queensland, Fellowship of Aust Writers Queensland SCOPE magazine, on line publications such as Pass It On and The Reading Stack. There are other outlets that I must explore, but these are the ones I’ve done to date.
You are almost an original Gold Coast Writers Association member how has the GCWA inspired your writing career?
Not quite an original, Robyn Lee Burrows was number 4 I believe and my original number was 159. When the records were lost at one point early on in the Club history they made the numbers 100 further on so I’m now 259. Noni Sinclaire, is surely one of the originals to still attend our meetings. I’m sure that without the support and encouragement of fellow writers at the club my work would remain in a draw. Writers I fear are notoriously self-judging and need to be coached in how to be kind to their own fragile egos.
What position did you hold on the GCWA committee?
I’ve participated on the Committee of GCWA in various capacities. Mainly, four years as Membership Secretary, which morphed into other areas such as helping fill in Treasurer, Competition Receiving Officer, Secretarial assistant etc. I’ve also helped with Christmas Party meetings. On the whole, I wouldn’t have anything concrete to show for my writing if it wasn’t for the GCW.
You’re a grandmother twice over now, does having grandchildren inspire you to do more children’s writing?
Well, I think it does. I still think of myself as an adult story writer and often am surprised by the results of the children’s stories that I do put to paper.
 Has writing been a part of your life since childhood.
I’ve always written, originally poetry, which wasn’t all that good. When I realised that my poetry was more like prose I switched to short stories, and this was in my teens. I’ve kept a folder with all my scribbling and will occasionally go and have a look to get back into that mind space. I had a very happy childhood and often find the self torture I put myself through as an adolescent amusing (and a good place to start to relate to young adults).
What are your plans for the future?
I am writing a follow on book to Dual Visions. The draft of which has been fairly incomplete for years, so now I have a good reason to finish it and get it published. I’m enjoying my blog and want to ensure that it reaches a wide public and enhances my opportunities to sell my books. I’m hoping there will be many more books to come that I will be able to showcase.
 Thanks for joining me at my blog page today Jill, I have really enjoyed your company!
I’ve enjoyed it too. Thanks for having me as your guest this week.
 You can read Jill’s reviews and interviews on her web blog


I am very happy to be interviewing long time Gold Coast Writer’s Association member Joan Songaila. She is an author and co-ordinator of the Southern Short Stories group, a support group of the Gold Coast Writers Association.

Hello Joan, Thank you for joining my blog today.

You have been very busy lately, with the production and launch of your GCWA support group’s anthology “Love, Lies, Laughter and a Few Little Tears”   how long did it take you to put together?

It took the best part of 18 months from our first suggestion to produce a book of short stories until our book launch. Thanks to you, Marion we delayed launching the book at the end of the year because you said, ‘Everyone gets so busy before Christmas’. It took us to the following September to get everything edited and re-edited, and a booking at GCWA.
How many stories and how many authors contributed to the book?  Who are the writers that contributed to the anthology?
There are 54 stories of varying lengths. Four men and four women contributed – Julie Baythorpe (who painted the cover from a photo of Coolangatta Beach), Julie Boyd (who formatted and sent the work to the printer), John Clark (he added the humour and organised the display of local authors’ work at Borders in Robina), Owen Clement (two of his original art works appear in the book), Doug Fraser (our legal adviser), George Lewis (our chief editor and illustrator), Fay O’Neill (our Australian history researcher and chief cook for our morning teas) and me (Joan Songaila – convener of the group and most likely candidate for a nervous breakdown!).
Was it a good experience to pull together as a team and produce something as big as this?
 Oh, yes! We discovered each other’s talents and ended up as one big happy family. We have a break-up party with our partners at the end of November. Because we meet on the second and fourth Saturday mornings of each month, we have a break until February and catch up with the rest of our lives.
What genre of stories have you presented?
 All sorts! We started off looking for a theme, but we are all ‘mature’ and have led such different lives.
You have published books before, what were they about?
Yes. My first full length tome was about my husband’s journey through life as a Lithuanian Displaced Person – Journey to Paradise. Previous to that I was a regular contributor to the NZ Herald’s Saturday Magazine. As secretary of the Gold Coast Lithuanian Community for the last twenty years, I have produced their newsletter twice a year.
How did this production compare to self publishing?
Love, Lies, Laughter and a Few Little Tears  is self published. Griffin Digital did the final printing and binding in Adelaide.
You have been running the Southern Short Stories group for quite some time. When did you join GCWA and when did you start the support group?
 I joined GCWA twenty years ago when I came to live on the Gold Coast. We started the Southern Short Story Support Group with eight of us in 2002. We try to keep our numbers down to ten to fit around the table in my unit.
Have you always lived on the Gold Coast?
I lived my ‘first life’ in NZ where I trained as a physiotherapist and was a champion water skier. After my Kiwi photographer husband died, our oldest son took over our photographic business.
Have you travelled and did this influence your writing?
One of my short stories in Love, Lies, Laughter and a Few Little Tears  is about my first experience as a Kiwi in Australia, being conned by a gypsy on the road from Sydney to the Gold Coast. With my Lithuanian husband I have travelled to Lithuania and the rest of Europe. I now appreciate my years of learning Latin and French at Auckland Girls’ Grammar School. Such a help in studying the Lithuanian language and in editing our writing.
Thanks for joining me today Joan, it has been a pleasure to find out more about you and your writing!

You can find out more about Joan by Googling ‘Joan Songaila’ – some of it is true!