15 March 2013

Getting to know you Thursday with Madeleine Calcutt

Please welcome Madeleine Calcutt to my blog today. She is a fellow Aussie and author.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I came to be a Christian late in life and therefore had all sorts of experiences, most of them bad, I guess, and the difference in me after Jesus Christ found me was amazing but I still had a long way to go. This is still the case. I am a mother of one – a daughter, and have three granddaughters whom I cherish. They are my only close family. I was divorced when my daughter was a year old. I love animals and have a Malteze Shizu called Sam and a very bossy cat called Wilson! I live alone with them. I am passionate about writing and love to write for God so that people could get to know Him and love Him as I do. I read a lot – Christian fiction and non-Christian fiction.

2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?
Oh yes! The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton! I had all the books, as my parents bought me a F.F. book for my birthday and Christmas each year. I got rid of them when I was clearing out and I regret this. So, I started to collect the original editions about twelve years ago and I have nearly all of them. I still like to read them and I don’t believe that there could ever be children’s adventure books written that could equal the good old F.F.

3. Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and right write?
Historical fiction, both Christian and non-Christian are my favorites and, although the first book I wrote was a contemporary Christian fiction, I am now focused on writing young adult Christian historical fiction. 4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?
I don’t think I did. Not any particular ones, but I do have a favorite, now, and that is Tamara McKinlay. She is not a Christian author but her historical novels are so powerful and so beautifully and skillfully written. 5. When did you know you wanted to be an author? Relatively recently. I always thought I would love to be, but, even though I was always writing, it never occurred to me that I could actually be one until about twelve years ago. It always seemed to be just a pipe dream. I was a late bloomer!

6. How did you go about becoming an author?I set to and wrote a book. I had written short stories but had never thought to get them published, but I had read a lot of Christian Fiction from Steeple Hill, a Christian subsidiary of Harlequin/Silhouette and I thought, “I can do that!” so I wrote ‘Step of Faith’ in the hopes of getting it published with Steeple Hill. They rejected it, telling me that they only published stories in an Australian setting if one of the main characters was North American. So I sat on the internet for weeks sending off my manuscript to publishers. It took a long time, but I finally made it!

7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?I would like to be a publisher because then I could give struggling authors, who write brilliant stuff and can’t get published, a chance.

8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do? I like walking my dog in the forest nearby and paddling in the river near where my family live. I have a lot of contact with my granddaughters and this gives me so much pleasure. When I lived by the sea I spent most of my time swimming in the water. I love the ocean. I miss it so much but I want to live near my family. I love meeting up with old friends. I have two very precious friends who live a long way away in the city and I meet up with them occasionally at a half way point. I have known them since my early teens. I am 68 now!

9. Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit? I would love to see Malta again, although I guess it has changed. I would like to pack my family up and be able to live there indefinitely. Of course, that can’t happen. Another one of my pipe dreams! I lived there for six months and I loved it. I lived by the sea, and I loved all the white stone that was everywhere. I had a sports car that I rented and drove around with the hood down in the sunshine, admiring the gorgeous views. I used to drive right round the island along the coastal road. It didn’t take long because Malta is such a small island. It was heaven on earth!

10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?You probably thinking I would choose famous people. But I would choose my daughter and three granddaughters because I love them so much. We would have to make it 4 living people, however. Family is so important to me and I would choose to spend time with them rather than any famous people.

Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will
be coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web. I am writing a series for young adults depicting important historical events as seen through the eyes of a teen, hoping to sell them to schools in Australia as the current ones cover Australian history. ‘Transportation!: Linney’s Convict Years’, is awaiting publication, and my published novel, ‘All Aboard!: Jenny’s Story of the Mayflower Voyage’ was the first in the series. This covers American history. I have begun a story for the series which is about the blitz in WW2 in Portsmouth, . I am also researching the gold rush in Australia to write a novel on that for the series with a generational connection to the convict girl, Linney in the other Australian novel. I have also planned a novel on the siege of Ladysmith during the Boer War. My contemporary novel for adults, ‘Step of Faith’, has been published already. The short stories I wrote years ago have been resurrected, given a polish and are being combined with the short stories of other Christian authors into a collection which is not yet complete, but when it is, it will be so powerful as each of the fictional stories are like testimonies. My website is: http://www.madeleinecalcutt.wordpress.com

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