When the opportunity to hear author Maureen McCarthy came up, as part of the Bayside Literary Festival, we were most happy to grab it with both hands and invite our Frogmore Book Club to join us. Seven members accepted our invitation to listen to this most successful writer of titles for teenagers and young adults.
Maureen spoke about the solitary nature of writing as a career. She also talked about the need to persist, even when writer’s block hits. She was asked about how she feels about the editing process and shared that it is good to get to this stage because then you know someone is willing to publish your work. With up to 3000 unsolicited manuscripts submitted to publishers each year, and of those only 2 or 3 being published, this is a very competitive field of endeavour.
She went on to explain that her latest book, The Convent, unlike her earlier contemporary titles has an historical setting, looking into the role of the Abbotsford Convent of the Good Shepherd nuns in caring for women and young girls since the 1850s up to its closure in the 1970s. This title required some serious research, which she assured her audience is necessary for most writers to ensure that their characters feel ‘authentic’ and will engage readers. The Convent was inspired by an interest in a local Melbourne Arts precinct and aspects of the author’s own family history. There will no doubt be a queue in the GFL of both staff and students who will look forward to reading this book.
Already researching for her next book, based around those unfortunate enough to find themselves living in the Kew Asylum for the Mentally Insane, Maureen admitted to a bout of writer’s block of her own.
Jack, Oscar, Alex, Colin, Joe, Josh and Philip all spoke to the author as she happily signed our copies of her books and then posed with them in a group photo. All round this was a delightful insight into the workings of a published author who freely gave of her ideas and advice.
Mrs te Lindert & Mrs Farquharson in the GFL.