Author of the Month, September: Tricia McGill
We are pleased to announce Tricia McGill as Author of the Month.
It’s hard to say when I actually became a writer. Perhaps it was when, as a child, I relished writing essays and short stories for my teachers and also my large family, all avid readers.
I guess it wasn’t until I began writing full-length novels after early retirement that I could really call myself an author. Faced with more time on my hands I could fulfill a long held dream–to write a novel. And importantly I had the urge to write Romance, doubtless a desire influenced by the many amazing authors of this genre I’ve always loved to read. And I’ve stuck with Romance ever since my husband came home with my first old typewriter which gave me the encouragement to transcribe all my scribbles into typed pages. Although my published works cross a few sub-genres, including Contemporary, Time-Travel, Historical, Futuristic and Family Saga, all have romance at their heart. My contemporaries are all set in Australia, the country I now call home, and my Time-Travels take my protagonists way back to times past in England, the land of my birth, and Scotland.
When I started to read romance I had a lot of favorite authors whose books I devoured, too many to list. But a few who had the most influence on my early writing were LaVyrle Spencer, Catherine Coulter, and Bertrice Small, mostly for their wonderful knack of characterisation. I believe that most of my own stories are character driven. I have the characters worked out before I start on the plot. When I began writing, a lot of years ago, I would work out an elaborate plot and time line before starting and even a detailed chapter plan. But then I found that as long as I had the characters plotted out in my head and a fairly accurate timeline it was best left to my characters to tell me their story. Because I write historical romance as well as Time-Travel, the time lines are significant of course as there is a lot of research that goes into either of these genres. Luckily I love research. And thank heaven for the Internet. I can now search online for my facts instead of nipping off to the library as in the old days.
One question I get asked is, “How long does it take to write a book?” Well, the answer to that one is, “How long is a piece of string.”
One of my favorite to write was Leah in Love (and Trouble) which coincidentally took about 4 months (1st draft) and was the most fun to write. The one that took the longest was probably Remnants of Dreams, which took a few years from start to finish. That one went through about 9 re-writes, but my hard work and procrastination paid off as it ended up winning the mainstream Australian Romance Writers Romantic Book of The Year when first published as Traces of Dreams. This book will always hold a special place in my heart as it is based on my Mother’s life which was very hard. She remains the strongest woman I know and brought up 10 children through rough times but taught us all by example (I was the youngest) about strength and tenacity and how to survive through adversity.
Apart from writing, I do volunteer work for a community group so spare time is at a minimum. I’ve always had a dog in the house and currently have two. I give monetary support to a couple of wildlife charities and actively support the work of these wonderful people who protect the creatures of this world so that future generations will be able to see them roaming in the wild free, where they belong.