Did you always want to be a writer or did you kind of fall into it? Tell us the story of how you came to identify yourself as a writer. 

Writing compositions, as they were called when I went to school, was one of my most favourite lessons. I had my first short story published in the Brisbane State High School magazine in 1966. Secretly, I harboured a desire to become a famous author from then on.

Author I may have become, not famous, but I realise now it is about the art of writing and sharing stories, not being famous that is important.

As a writer, are you a reader? What genres do you read, and do you read more frequently in the genre you write in, or avoid it completely? 

I am a voracious reader of many different genres. My tastes have changed over the years. Where once I read romantic novels or family sagas, now I read historical fiction. History and the fact victors wrote the history books, has inspired me to research the truth and turn that truth into stories. We have to question everything we have ever learnt at school because only truth will set the world free.

I write in the genre I read, not read the genre I write in. The difference being I research places and people from history, travel to many of those places, then write my stories from what I have learnt or experienced.

Tell us about your first writing experience. How does that compare to where you are now? 

Writing is such a solitary pastime. My first writing experience I remember, was in 1966. There was no feedback, no praise. My happiness at being published was never expressed. Silently I was proud of myself and I continued to write compositions in English class.

Not until the early eighties, did I have anything else published. I became the publicity officer for the Beenleigh Air Sea Rescue and wrote a column for the Albert & Logan News. I also had some short stories published in a free magazine called ‘Me’. It was then my family and friends understood I was passionate about writing.

We all know the ‘just write’ memes if you are following any writers page, so apart from that, what’s the best advice you can give to someone new? 

Creativity is the bridge between two worlds – world of form and the world of energy. How well we manage the relationship between the two is the drama of life. We are the conduit through which the unknown becomes known, for our readers.

Story allows our readers to travel without the fear of consequence, to visit other worlds without fear. Story allows them to feel “safely”. They can experience risk, joy, loss, uncertainty… without fear of real-life consequences.

True storytelling therefore is both art and science. When we co-create with spirit, there is energy in the story… it moves us, and it moves our readers.

I believe this is important to remember. You want to always be proud of what you have written. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but it does have to be satisfying for you, the author.

What’s your biggest obstacle to writing and how do you overcome it? Most of us know that it is time, so try and let us know when you are best at your writing, and why that doesn’t work, and what you do to counter or overcome that problem. 

My biggest obstacle was controlling my wandering mind to concentrate on the story. To ignore distractions, social media, keeping up with friends and family, retail therapy.

Now life has changed so dramatically I write every day, sometimes all day. The stories have always been there, but before, it was a time and concentration constraint.

I find walking every morning helps me to develop a story, solve the puzzle of where the story needs to go. I speak into my phone when walking otherwise my mind will pass by these thoughts and they will be lost forever.

When at home or at work I have a note pad beside me and jot down my thoughts, words, something that is part of the puzzle of the story. One thing I have learnt, I do have the time to write. That won’t change after this pandemic has passed, not now I have found my place.

Self-published or traditionally published?  Tell us why that works for you? 

Self-published. I have never attempted traditional publishing. I write Flash Fiction, stories of no more than 500 words. I never believed traditional publishers would be interested. Also, I have full control over how my book looks, what I use for the cover, how it is printed. I am very proud of what I have accomplished.

Here is your chance to plug a book. Tell us about it and why we need to read it? 

I have self-published Flash Fiction – Volume One and Two.

Flash Fiction – a style of fictional literature of extreme brevity. We begin at the moment of conflict and paint a picture with words. We keep our characters to a minimum Our endings offer an emotional impact or an unforeseen twist and often leave the reader looking for more. As a complex genre, the art of writing good Flash Fiction is to deliver a subtle message.

‘I love Virginia Miranda’s ability to mine history for intriguing insights into the lives of historical figures, events and places. Her short stories capture the real humans behind historical events – ordinary, but extraordinary characters caught up in the machinations of rulers and religions. Lovely little tales of love, hate, fear and bravery.’ Sheryl Gwyther Children’s author.

Next project? Where are you in your writing journey and where to next for you? 

I have three new projects in the works. A third volume of Flash Fiction and Microfiction called Valentine and other Stories. It is close to being finished. I have a Volume One of Short Stories still needing some fine tuning and a novella called Isabella’s Bouquet that is being reviewed. Perhaps with what is happening around the world now, these won’t be published until next year. However, they will be self-published.

What’s your favourite genre? Tell us about one book from that genre that changed your life or outlook in life?

Historical Fiction would be my favourite genre. The Magdalene Line trilogy changed my life profoundly. In 2014 I first read ‘The Book of Love,’ by Kathleen McGowan and soon discovered this was the second book in the trilogy. I then read The Expected One, followed by The Book of Love again and the final piece of this most amazing puzzle, The Poet Prince. We await patiently for the fourth book, which is about Anne Boleyn.

What followed the reading of these books was the discovery Kathleen McGowan ran tours through Body Mind Spirit Journeys to all the places in her books. But these tours weren’t just tours, these were lessons in life. They were the start of the most amazing friendships that span the world, from the USA, to Canada to Ireland, the UK, France, Bosnia and Greece.

Every year since June 2015 I have travelled with Kathleen and her tribe, which is now my tribe, to one of these places and turned those travels into stories. Profoundly changed my life, my reading and my writing.

The most personal question of all, what does writing give you? Why do you do it, what’s the point, and what does it provide in your life that you can’t fulfil by any other means? 

Writing gives me the freedom to say what is on my mind, to share my life with interesting characters, to travel back in time and right some of history’s wrongs in my own unique way. To talk to like-minded people and to share my stories with other readers and writers. I write because it is my chance to bring back that wild twin that was thrown out the window at my birth. To rebalance my heart, my soul and my spirit.

Fiction writers

My books came about because in 2014 I joined a group on Facebook called 52 Week Flash Fiction Challenge. After writing a story a week for 18 months I began to think about putting some into a book. At first, I was going to do a small paperback, then my family challenged me as to why I didn’t think my stories deserved to be in a proper genuine book form.

With the help of a young graphic designer, we put together a book of which I was very proud. Hard cover, with beautiful illustrations, quality paper and stories of intrigue, delicate humour, historical betrayals, and unrequited passions.

My favourite in Volume One is ‘Jonathan,’ based on the fable Jonathan Livingstone Seagull and in Volume Two, ‘Table 15,’ a love story with a twist.

Valentine and Other Stories has a number of stories that are made up of two or three chapters…dispersed throughout the book. My favourite is ‘Ishmael Returns’, a story of great sadness, hope and returning home to his beloved Sarajevo. Written after my 2019 trip to Bosnia.

I look forward to its release.

Bio for Virginia Miranda

Virginia began writing in high school and was first published in the Brisbane State High School Year book, 1966.

Virginia is a member of Byron Writers Festival, Qld Writers Centre, Qld Writers Festival and The Society of Women Writers Qld. She is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Fellowship of Australian Writers Qld.

In 2014 Virginia self-published her first book, Flash Fiction Volume One, a compilation of thirty-seven stories each no more than 500 words and easily consumed in brief moments of down time.

In 2017 Virginia self-published her second book, Flash Fiction Volume Two, a further compilation of thirty-four stories.

‘For me writing is about the words, how they come together, where they take the reader.’

Virginia

Website – www.inkblurb.com

Facebook page – Virginia’s Inkblurb

Instagram – @Virginias_inkblur


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