I’m back … again.
I know you’re probably all sick of me making little posts stating that the number of posts per week will increase and then … nothing.
Recently, while I have planned and drafted a few blog posts, the only posts which have gone up are my No Buy UPDATES. And I’m ashamed of that, but school has had to take top priority and of course, planning out my itinerary when I go to MELBOURNE on Tuesday the 22nd of September– eek! (more info on that to come)
I’m planning to publish one post per week (every second week it will be two, including No Buy Updates).
Please leave me comments suggesting blog posts for me to write – what do you want to see? Reviews? Rants? A life update? A Tag? Mental health discussion?
I can list my favourite authors of all time on one hand and I have interviewed one of these. Rebecca Burton is an author and blogger from Adelaide, who has written several books, including Leaving Jetty Road (unfortunately, all of her novels are now out of print *sad face*). I urge you to track down her books; I myself have only read LJR, which I believe anyone can relate to. Whether you’re simply in high school, suffer from a mental illness, have anorexia, are in love for the first time … It covers all bases. I have managed to track down her other novel Beyond Evie on both Amazon and eBay, for very affordable prices.
Burton is a woman who incorporates her personal experiences, beliefs and story within her books, but is not at all patronising. Rather, her writing is inviting and encourages the reader to ponder and reflect on the story.
On with the show!
1. What did you want to be when you were little?
I always wanted to be a writer, funnily enough. Back then though, I thought that would be all I’d need to do. I didn’t understand that most writers have to have other jobs or careers too, so that they can support themselves financially.
2. What was your favourite subject in high school?
English, by far.
3. When did you decide that you wanted to be an author?
I can’t remember when I didn’t want to be an author, honestly.
4. What is one goal or dream you have, that you have yet to achieve?
I’d like to write a novel for adults. I’ve started trying to do that, but I haven’t got there yet! I’d also like to write a non-fiction book about birds / nature/ the Aldinga Scrub. I’d also like to go to yoga classes every day and get really good at yoga!
5. If you could write a book with anyone, who would it be and why?
I can’t imagine writing a book with anyone else, to be honest. I find writing to be an intensely personal, private process. Although, if I ever managed to write a picture book for kids, I’d love to have Adelaide author and illustrator Sally Heinrich as my illustrator. I love her art and the books she’s illustrated.
6. Who is your favourite Aussie author?
I don’t have a favourite one. I love some (but not all) of Joanne Horniman’s books. And some of Melina Marchetta’s. And some of Nick Earls’s.
7. Do you know why your two novels are out of print?
Mostly, it’s because I write very slowly, and so readers forget about me in between publications and stop buying my books. To keep your books in print, you have to publish regularly and often … or just write a major bestseller.
8. What inspired ‘Leaving Jetty Road’ and what would you like readers to take from the novel?
Partly, I wanted to write a book with a character who experienced anorexia nervosa because I was anorexic when I was sixteen, and I couldn’t find any books at that time that truly reflected my experiences. The most terrifying thing for me at that time wasn’t my eating disorder at all, but rather the anxiety disorder that I also had along with the anorexia. I wanted young readers to be able to find a book where the writer made it clear that anorexia isn’t always about eating or not eating. It can be about depression, anxiety, fear … all of those things. And sometimes those things are harder to come to terms with, and heal from, than the simple act of not eating. I also wanted to write a book that was obviously set in Adelaide, because no-one ever sets their books in Adelaide – they’re always in Sydney or Melbourne or England or the US. What’s wrong with Adelaide?! Why can’t we write about it? I hope readers will take away my love for Adelaide from Leaving Jetty Road. I hope they’ll see it’s a place worth reading about.
9. How do you, personally, relate to Lise, Nat and Sofia in LJR?
Lise and Nat are both very closely related to me personally – each have (very different) aspects of my own personality and my own experiences. You could say Lise reflects the scared, ‘negative’ part of me and Nat reflects the brave, happy, ‘positive’ part of me (at least, at the time I wrote the book, which is over ten years ago now). I love Sofia because she’s so happy, carefree, balanced and joyful. I’ve met a few people in my life like that, and they’re special people. I’d love to be more like Sofia, but I’m not.
10.Are there any ‘taboo’ topics or subjects that you never include in your books?
I talk about sex, but I never describe it specifically – the body parts and the actions. I prefer just to hint at it and leave the rest to my readers’ imaginations. Also, I never, ever use swear words. I wouldn’t even use them if I was writing for an adult audience. In my own life, I do swear – I think almost everyone does – but I prefer books not to have swearing in them. You can write vividly and strongly and colourfully without resorting to swearing. Yes, even in dialogue!
11.If you could go back in time, would you change anything in your published works?
Yes. I would write Beyond Evie slightly differently. I would leave out all the foreshadowing, which I think I overdid.
Also, I would use less italics in Leaving Jetty Road, definitely!
12.What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer, or to have their work published?
Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. And don’t go to university and do a Creative Writing degree. Just don’t! Develop your own writing skills, on your own. Be brave. Understand that writing is about talent and craft and patience and bravery, and universities can’t teach you those things. Ever. Don’t believe people who tell you they can. They’re wrong.
13. Where can people find your two books?
Sadly, they’re out of print now. If you google their titles, you might be able to download (free) ebook versions of them. You can also try Amazon. You never know your luck!
14. What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I’m not working in my paid job or writing, I like to swim in the sea. I do yoga in my bedroom. I cycle (a bit). I watch birds … a lot. I bake (mostly wheat-free) cakes. I hang out and go camping with my ‘other half’. I write my blog. (Click here to go to Rebecca’s blog). I confess I also like watching reality TV cookery shows, Survivor, and Home and Away. Oh, and I love going to the library to borrow (more!) books.
15. What is your signature makeup look?
Okay, a confession — I never wear make-up. Ever! I’ve tried, but I can’t manage it. And I don’t blowdry my hair, either. Partly, I just feel fake and uncomfortable in make-up, though I’ve never been able to work out why, and I wish I didn’t feel that way, particularly as I get older. Partly, I’m an environmentalist and I don’t like using extra power or beauty products which affect the environment negatively. Yes, really! So my signature make-up look would have to be, simply, ‘natural’. Take me as I am. The only beauty product I ever use is my own home-made face cleanser and moisturiser (which is made from olive oil, pure soap and glycerine, and which I swear by) and Jurlique rose hand cream, which is beautiful.
16. What is your favourite lipstick? (please include brand, shade name – description of colour if needed – and finish – matte, creme sheen, glossy etc)
None. See my answer above. Sorry!
17. What’s the one beauty sin that should never be committed?
You’re asking the wrong person here! Umm … too much make-up?
18. What are your thoughts on girls around 15 years of age wearing a substantial amount of makeup? (read: full-coverage foundation, concealer, heavy bronzer, blush, liberally-applied mascara, eyeshadow, eyeliner and a bright lipstick or gloss)
I think it’s sad. Why can’t they be proud of themselves the way they are? I also think it makes (some) men get the wrong idea.
19. Which of your physical features is your favourite and why?
I’m lucky enough to be fairly slim. I don’t put on weight easily. Partly that’s because I eat reasonably healthily and exercise reasonably often, but partly it’s just plain luck and I’m grateful for it. It makes it easy to buy clothes that look okay on me, especially since I don’t wear make-up or have styled hair.
20. If there was a piece of advice that you would give to your teenage self, what would it be?
- Eat more. Seriously! Who cares if you’re 3 kilograms heavier than you want to be?
- Exercise more. It doesn’t matter if you’re bad at team sports. You can still walk and swim and cycle and run. Also, you will feel so much better after you’ve had some exercise, as it makes you feel healthy and strong.
- And finally … Think seriously about getting a proper career – either a trade or a profession. Don’t just let yourself land up doing an Arts Degree (which is what I actually did). Writing will never support you financially, and a career is useful.
Rebecca Burton has lived within walking distance of various South Australian beaches for much of her adult life. Over the years, she has dabbled in vegetarianism, overseas travel and full-time employment; but she is now happily settled in a life made up partly of work and partly of writing. She lives with her partner, Wayne, and their two dogs. In her spare time, she loves baking cakes, drinking endless cups of tea, growing Trees for Life and (of course) eating broccoli. (Biography copyright of GoodReads.com)
Links to sources of book covers