Sunday, 16 October 2011


As authors, we don't just write. We also have other loves and interests. Aside from writing and reading, my two major enjoyments, I have creative hobbies that I dip into when I need to take a break from my writing world.

Music is a great joy for me and I can lose myself for an hour or so each week playing my electronic keyboard organ. I learnt piano as a child at primary school but only for a couple of years. The classical music chosen to play didn't particularly engage me so I played popular songs by ear. With the advent of double keyboard organs, I invested many years ago in my first Hammond which played gorgeous music. Sadly, I sold it when our girls were teenagers and sought a more modern single keyboard. I never could get the hang of it but my daughter managed it beautifully and still has it.

That was about a decade ago. In more recent years, on a visit to friends in central Queensland, my love of music was - thankfully - rekindled. Our friends owned both a piano and double keyboard organ which I ended up playing and dipping into again. Only then did I realise how much I missed it. Within months, I had visited a music store to see what the latest offerings and prices were, and walked out of the shop owning one. Fortunately, I had kept all my modern sheet music songs. Something in my heart would not let me part with them, so I started playing again and fiddling with and managing all the settings on the organ. What heaven! Music is so uplifting to the soul and, for me at least, like my writing, it takes me away almost to another universe. The mind is fully absorbed and the heart goes with it. Such joy.

Another major draw for me when I need to take a mental break is cardmaking. I became interested while wandering craft shops with my daughter in Melbourne some years ago. As she fossicked for her scrapbooking elements, I found my interest drawn to the cardmaking section and started buying up stickers and pretty fronts. Bought my first pack of blank cards and got started that way. My first efforts, of course, were like my novels. Probably best forgotten but with time and patience, browsing crafts shops and the internet - bless it! - I started searching for better and prettier cards to put together.

I have discovered my all time love in cardmaking is putting together 3D or papertole designs. There is a local cardmaking shop in my town in a private home open briefly for an hour one day a week. Not enough for me, so I've started trawling the internet. I've found one on Bribie Island which I visit when I go up and stay with my daughter in Brisbane once or twice a year, and there are one or two other Australian websites and also in the UK from which I order. There are some awesomely beautiful designs to make up and the challenge now, of course, is to always find something new, something different to create.

I have built up such a supply of cards - there are only so many you can give to family and friends - that I have been asked to have a craft table at a spring garden day next month to sell them. Along with my published books. A heavenly combination really.

I know we authors are mostly obsessed with writing as full time as our individual lives allow, but there comes a time when you need to get outdoors or the novel isn't going well, or social commitments interrupt. I would love to hear what other authors do in their spare time. Your interests, hobbies, loves etc. I am sure they are as varied as the types of fiction we write.