Author Interview: A Taste of Life and Love in Australia by Margaret Lynette Sharp

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

A Taste of Life and Love in Australia by Margaret Lynette Sharp
Released: 10th May 2011
Published by: Self-published
Genre: Short Stories, Australian
Source: Library
Pages: 368
This is a highly readable volume of Short Stories, set in modern Australia. Most tales are romantic. The book kicks off with 'The Girl Next Door', an engaging tale of a young man's affection for his neighbour, which sadly goes amiss just as he summons the courage to ask her out.

Other favourites include 'A Song for Ellie': a young man's struggle to be noticed by a singer; and 'The Blossoming': a young woman emerging into life and love. Like all Margaret Lynette Sharp's books, this is edited by her husband Ronald Sharp B.E.M., the creator of the Grand Organ in the Sydney Opera House concert hall.
It's been so refreshing to visit the library again and stumble across some unexpected finds - I came across 'Tales of Life and Love in Australia' while on the lookout for some local authors. The short stories within it are wonderfully told and perfect for small snippets into the character's lives. I soon discovered that Margaret has written quite a few collections so will be checking them out soon!

Author Interview with Margaret Lynette Sharp

What have been the best/most challenging aspects of writing both short stories and longer fiction? How does your writing process for each style of book differ?

Part of the emotional reward I derive from writing fiction is the validation of garnering positive reviews from independent sources – which makes me feel as though I've brought a bit of pleasure to an audience – but probably the more important element is my own personal pleasure in reading the stories sometime later.

The most challenging aspect? There are several. Simply getting the first sentence on paper can be quite daunting. Waiting to see what others make of each book can also be stressful – especially when critics make unkind, and at times untruthful, observations.

My writing style is determined by the type of writing I’m attempting. My Australian romances are written in a fairly informal style, quite unlike my Jane Austen Fan Fiction tales, which are written to replicate Jane Austen’s voice as a revered Regency writer.

I really enjoyed your book A Taste of Life and Love in Australia! Back when you were focusing on Australian fiction, what drew you to the genre and where did your inspiration come from?

I’ve always liked writing short stories – especially romantic ones – and so it was an easy decision. In common with the other titles in this series, “A Taste of Life and Love in Australia” is written in the style of narrative (and thought) that comes most naturally to me. My own "stylistic register," I suppose you'd call it.  A few of the stories are loosely based on actual events in my own life.

Outside of writing, what are some other hobbies which bring you joy?

I’m a keen swimmer, especially in salt water in the summertime. My other favourite pursuit is playing the piano, to which I recently returned after a decade’s absence. Other matters had occupied my attention (and our Steinway had been in storage), but I've so enjoyed my return to the keyboard, that I now wish I’d never stopped playing…  Several of my books – and the "Elizabeth Simmons" series, in particular – have featured young female protagonists who were avid pianists and piano teachers (alter egos, I suppose, though much more proficient than I).

What are the three of the biggest life lessons you've learned through your journey as an author?

First, cultivate patience. It’s the lucky few who are overnight successes after a mere ten years…

Second, develop a thick skin. Remember, reviewers review themselves, and as they say (if they happen to be ancient Romans), "de gustibus non disputandum."

Third, never write purely in the pursuit of money. How can you be true to yourself when you’re simply striving to attract and secure a paying audience? And if you really want to generate income, there are certainly more reliable ways of doing it.

What types of books do you like to read?

I’ve always enjoyed the classics, and as a teenager and young woman, I devoured them in rapid succession. I also like stories such as those written by James Herriot.

Could you give us an insight into your latest release, and a sneak peek into what you're writing next?

My latest release is a Jane Austen Fan Fiction vignette, “A Ball at Longbourn,” which sheds light on the character of the Bennet girls, and especially Lydia. Further vignettes in this series are in the pipeline.

Without giving too much away, is there a particular moment/favourite line in one of your works that stands out to you as being something that you think is quite moving to readers?

I think the conclusion of “Of Love and Secrets,” a short novel that also forms part of the compilation entitled “Love, Now and Then,” is rather moving. The heroine finds happiness after enduring a long train of adversities. This story was highly praised by a Readers Favorite reviewer.

About the author

My early life was spent living near the city of Sydney. I was glad when my family moved us all to an old house in the Georges River district. Here, I found peace, and discovered the beautiful, nurturing environment of Oatley Park. As I grew older, I cared for my ailing mother – meanwhile, studying the art of writing. Six months after she passed away, I met and later married the creator of the Grand Organ in the Sydney Opera House, Ronald William Sharp. We still live in my family home, along with our Maltese, Chicki, and a blue budgerigar named Albert.