Theme Songs

handsI don’t know about other writers but all my books would have what I call theme songs. That is, a song that makes me think about my current work in progress whenever I hear it.  For “The Girl in the Hard Hat,” it was Lego House by Ed Sheeran. Whenever I heard this song, I’d just think of Gavin and his desire to protect Wendy.

 

This year while writing, “The Girl in the Yellow Vest,” there have actually been two songs that have been a source of inspiration. I think this is because I have two heroines rather than one. Both my leading ladies are very different and so are their relationships with my leading men.

 

The first song that always makes me think of my manuscript is “Let Her Go” by Passenger. This song seems to be very big right now. But every time I hear it on the radio, it puts me right into my hero, Mark Crawford’s, head.   The song is about having loved someone and lost them. It’s about how the grief associated with that loss has coloured the rest of your life.  You can’t see how you can ever be happy again. The verses are particularly moving. They talk about the emptiness in life and how dreams seem inaccessible because you don’t believe you can achieve them anymore.

 

When my novel starts, Mark Crawford is in a very bad place and it does take the tenacity and persistence of Charlotte Templeton to pull him out of it. Their story has some really dark places but it will make uniting them in the end that much more satisfying.

 

On the other side of the coin, is “Everything has Changed” by Taylor Swift.  In general, I love most of Taylor’s songs. Other than the fact that she’s a country singer, most of her songs are like little stories, with beginnings, middles and ends.  This song always makes me think of my heroine, Emily Woods. The song is about waking up one morning and realizing that everything has changed because you’ve met someone and shared an instant connection.

 

In my novel, Emily Woods and her hero, Will Steward are best friends. They’ve known each other since forever. So while Will is not someone Emily just meets there is definitely a point in the story when she realizes that, “Everything has Changed.”

 

The song is full of love, joy and excitement. And that’s how I feel whenever I put these two on the page together. I’m just in the finally chapters now and their union is shaping up real sweet.

 

Looking forward to sharing this book with you all next Jan. Stay tuned for the blurb coming soon!

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My Trip to Port Hedland

I had an awesome weekend. I went to the Pilbara. Port Hedland, actually.  It was wonderful and thrilling to be back in a place I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed.  The official reason was to give a presentation at a Women in Mining Event organized by Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.

But as my plane flew in and I looked out the window, my heart just jumped. Man! That landscape! It took me back. The dirt so red, the sky so blue sky, the greenery scattered across the rocks. That wide open space just seems to swallow you up. The tropical air is so thick, it seemed to settle on my shoulders as I stepped onto the tarmac after the plane landed. In that moment, I knew it had been too long. The weather here is gorgeous. Perth is freezing at the moment. Port Hedland was a lovely 26 degrees.  Like balm to my city soul.

IMG_0239That evening I spoke to the women of the region at a cocktail function at The Esplanade hotel. It was great to share my experiences and also hear some of theirs. I spoke about working in a male dominated industry, about being a mother and balancing home and work duties. I also talked about my writing of course, and how I came to be published. It was nice to speak to the Fortescue General Manager about the role of women in the industry and how including them more helps clean up the act of the men. They actually start watching more what they say, being more considerate in what they do. He said, “It’s better for everyone to have a more balanced work place.”

2013-06-16 09.43.04Sunday was another eventful day. Fortescue kindly organized a private tour of their Port and Rail facilities. I loved it! Does that seem a bit dorky? Although, I have worked in many places on the Pilbara, I’ve never worked in Port Hedland.  So it was my first time glimpsing the inside story. It was just so amazing to see the size and scale of the facilities. To stand next to a reclaimer. To climb to the top of shiploader and watch the ore drop into the giant hatches on the ships. When fully loaded these ships carry 250 000 tonnes. I think I’m going to have to set a book here. It’s just too big an opportunity to pass up.

2013-06-16 10.11.30I also rode on a locomotive. Not very far. Just to the fuelling station. But it was fantastic just to be in the driver’s cabin of a train that is 2.8km long. The driver certainly had some interesting stories to tell.

But the day wasn’t other yet. I had lunch with the Pilbara Princesses Book Club. What a friendly, inviting bunch of women who are passionate about their books and their town. The book club has been going for four years.  They mainly read chick lit, which of course, is also one of my favourite genres. We met at the Silver Train Café which is a bit of must see all on it’s own. The café is actually set up inside an old freight train. But there’s also an alfresco area which we chose to sit in out the back. It had a great atmosphere with lots of pot plants providing that secret garden feel. It was wonderful to meet these women, talk about my books with them but also about their lives here in Port Hedland. I’m always interested in the local perspective. I hope to see these ladies again one day!

broome 130The man with me in all the photos is my father. He came along for the visit to catch up with some old work colleagues as well.

Unfortunately, after lunch I had a plane to catch. I think the next time I head over to the Pilbara, it’ll definitely be for an extended stay.

Writing Through Tears

Loretta’s Pen Pals : Letter 7

As I have someone in my life very dear to me currently battling with cancer, Mandy Magro’s new book, “Flame Tree Hill” really struck a chord. I think the hardest thing to write about it is the triumph of the human spirit. Showing it well is a challenge but if you get there, it could be the most inspiring writing you’ve ever done. And that’s what art is all about… moving people. 

I was really pleased to receive Mandy’s letter today, also addressed to my other WA writing pal, Fiona Palmer. It’s always great to hear how other writers have found their story.  Check it out…

G’day Fee and Loretta,

 

Thanks for inviting me onto your blog today. I’m thrilled to be sharing the inspiration behind my third novel, Flame Tree Hill.

 

High Reso FTH newFlame Tree Hill is of course, fictional, but it is also heavily based on my best mate’s, Joanne Jackson’s, breast cancer journey. Jo has battled breast cancer not once, but twice!!, and has survived. She is an amazing woman with an inspiration story that needed telling. So, with her approval, I delved into her world through her diaries that she kept throughout her heartbreaking journey. And boy oh boy, was my keyboard quite often covered in tears! And it’s hard to type when your vision is blurred too, I might add!

 

As a mate, I was there throughout her cancer, but never did I know the darkest emotions and terror my beautiful Jo had felt. It was only in her diaries, did she let everything spill from her heart and mind, and when reading what she went through, mentally, physically and emotionally, it tore my heart to shreds.  I just hope that I have given her story justice in Flame Tree Hill. And I reckon it’s going to be one that the readers will need a box of Kleenex, or three, beside them as they read.

 

But, it’s not all going to be sniffles, with Flame Tree Hill also having many laugh out loud moments combined with the beauty of a deeply moving love story. I’m hoping it will tick all the boxes for my readers.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed writing Flame Tee Hill, even though I shed enough tears to fill the ocean as I did so. It is a novel that will always remain very close to my heart and one that I hope can reach out and touch the people that are either going through cancer, supporting someone with cancer, or have sadly lost a love one to this terrifying disease. Lets just hope and pray they find a cure soon.

 

Mandy xoxo 

Links

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViQdxHGRO3w trailer for Flame Tree Hill

 

Keeping Characters Constant

girlMy father just retired last month and he’s finally gotten around to sorting through years of old paper work and tossing out what he no longer needs.  Today after he picked up my son from school for me, he brought over a folder which he said I might find interesting.  I was intrigued. Opening the folder, I discovered that he had saved every one of my old school reports, primary school straight through to high school. It was fun reading through what all my old teachers had said of me. But there was definitely a pattern in the comments which emerged.

Grade 1 :  Loretta enjoys reading and listening to stories.

Grade 2: Loretta has written some delightful stories.

Grade 3: Loretta is a prolific and creative writer and has “published” a large number of stories, plays and poems.

Grade 4: Loretta really enjoys writing. Great stories Loretta!

Grade 5: Loretta has produced some excellent and amusing stories.

Grade 6: There is a delightful element of humour and originality in Loretta’s creative writing.

And is goes on….

I always knew I loved to write, even as a kid. I didn’t realize anyone else knew about it or noticed enough to catalogue it.  It made me laugh and also got me thinking about the constancy of my own character.

I think when creating characters for fiction we also need to keep a constancy there. Have you ever gotten angry or frustrated with a book because the hero does something completely out of character or he makes a decision that doesn’t make sense for the kind of person he is.  It is always important to note that in a good story, the plot adapts to the behaviour of the character not the other way round.  And even if the character themselves is completely unaware of what kind of person they are, the reader must know. Good characterisation makes every scene and plot point that much stronger.

 

Well, best get back to my characters now… Wish me luck…