Today I bring you an interview with published author, writer, and storyteller Danielle Corrie, based in Sydney Australia.
Tell me about yourself.
Throughout my schooling I enjoyed immersing myself in many books at a time. Reading as well to pen pals who resided in Australia and overseas including countries such as Germany, Austria, and even Jamaica. However, despite reading and writing and being one of the top students in grammar and spelling, English was my weakest subject. I failed English in my end of year exams including my Higher School Certificate (HSC). In addition, I suffered severe anxiety during exam period at school becoming sick before each of my exams. I was someone who was continually bullied by my fellow peers throughout my school life and was always the last one to be picked in school project teams, sports teams, or other group school activities.
Outside of my school life, I had a phobia of dogs - especially large dogs. At the age of 9 years old (or thereabouts) I was crossing the road with my sister on my way home from the local shops, when suddenly, a white Alsatian dog came running up to me in the middle of the road and bit me on the top of my leg. It wasn't until about 30 years later, during my employment as a community care worker, where I warmed up to large dogs again.
Many many years after moving out of home, and four days after my home was broken into, an epileptic 6 year old staffordshire cross red cattle dog came into my life called Teida. Teida and I connected instantly and became the best of friends. If Teida didn't find a home that same weekend, it was more than likely she'd be put to sleep. Inspired by Teida I decided to write her life story told by Teida herself, and after 8 years in the making, 'Teida's Story' was born. In addition to my published book 'Teida's Story', I have other pieces of writing published including a variety of short stories through The Urban Field Naturalist, as well as a blog post for The Association for Anthropology (AAGE).
I provide author talks at schools across Sydney and Australia inspiring school children to achieve their hopes and dreams. I have been a guest speaker at Probus and Rotary club meetings, have appeared on podcasts and interviews about my life, and of course, my writing journey.
Outside of my writing and during a time where significant loved ones passed away, I was involved in an ABC Documentary called Psychics in the Suburbs which was initially televised on ABC2 and now has been internationally aired through PopDoc TV and DocPlay. I am an avid gardener, animal lover and enjoy being among animals, birds, and especially nature.
How long have you been writing?
The year was 2010 when I began writing my now published book Teida's Story - life through the eyes of a dog. My book was 8 years in the making. I never thought I had any ability to write, particularly when my favourite subject at school was mathematics, and my weakest subject was English.
However, as a young child I wrote letters to family members interstate. In my teenage years, I wrote to people my age all over the world. I am now involved in writing to school children under a program called Author's Penpals, encouraging them in their writing journey.
What did you like to read as a child?
I enjoyed reading books from Hans Christen Andersen like The Ugly Duckling and Thumberlina to Enid Blyton books including The Famous Five and The Naughtiest Girl in the School. Some more favourites include Ann of Green Gables by LM Montgomery, Pollyanna by Eleanor H Porter and even Are You There God it's Me Margaret by Judy Blume as well as James Herriot books including All Creatures Great and Small
Tell me about ‘Teida’s Story-Life Through the Eyes of a Dog’.
Teida's Story life through the eyes of a dog is a book written about the bond between an epileptic dog and its owner written through a dog's point of view - that dog being my dog Teida. It shares good times and bad times, happy times and sad times. There are moments where you laugh and other moments where you may cry. Teida's Story - life through the eyes of a dog describes Teida, a cross staffordshire terrier red cattle dog, from when she was a pup to her older senior years. She discusses grief and loss, faith, hope, friendship and love.
Teida inspired me to write her story and after writing and writing, much proofreading, editing, and encouragement from a dear friend, my manuscript was complete and ready for the whole world to see. I initially decided to self publish Teida's Story then discovered self publishing wasn't the right road to take. Then thanks to New Holland Publishers, who after much deliberation, decided to publish my book, it was then I became a published author.
Are you working on anything new?
Yes, I am working on another book and am 50,000 words into my manuscript. This book is another memoir - more personal and about matters of the heart and I look forward to the day it is published.
What inspires you?
Children, animals, nature and positiveness in my day are what inspires me the most.
In the beginning of my writing career, it was my dog Teida who inspired me to write her life story. If it wasn't for her and a dear friend of mine, who after critiquing my writing really encouraged me to write 'Teida's Story', I wouldn't be a published author.
More recently, I did presentations for book week at local primary schools. During the presentation I shared my writing journey from my early years where I was bullied at school, failing English, and being told by teachers I wasn't clever enough to do subjects I enjoyed, to many many years later after leaving home, where a dog called Teida came into my life. Teida's connection with me, inspiring me to become a published author. After my presentation, a student came up to me and shared she was being bullied and asked if I was able to help her become a published author too.
Knowing I have helped someone with their life journey or encouraging someone to write their story or become an author (like the student above) is what really inspires me to go forward in my life and of course my writing career.
What do the words ‘writers block’ mean to you?
Writers block is when I not just look, but stare at my writing, yet my mind goes blank. I gaze at the page (usually on my computer) become bamboozled and frustrated with myself and at that time stop what I am doing for a while. I either move onto another piece of writing, do something else on the computer totally unrelated to my writing, or walk away from the computer all together and return to my writing later with a clearer mind and start typing.
What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
The area to be clean and tidy. Good light and a computer to type my thoughts on. If not pen and paper. I may light a candle or diffuse essential oils in my diffuser during the day. If its night time I need quiet, with only the clock ticking in the background, the lamp turned on, or the television for extra light. Minimising distractions and staying clear of social media are other things I do to help stay focused.
If you could spend a day with a popular author, whom would you choose and why?
I would say Enid Blyton, James Herriot, May Gibbs,, or even a classic author like Charles Dickens. I grew up with these authors reading books like the Famous Five, All Creatures Great and Small and even Peter Rabbit as a child in the 70s and even now, decades later, these books are as popular with children today as they were when I was growing up.
What’s your favourite writing snack or drink?
A cup of herbal tea (or a cold drink if the weather is warm / hot) with a homemade biscuit made by my dad is what I enjoy most. Being of Lebanese heritage, my dad bakes Lebanese biscuits similar to previous generations before him.
What advice would you give a new author?
Write what you are passionate about and don't compare yourself to other writers out there. Keep writing without worrying about how good your writing is. Just put your thoughts on paper, create your story, and write from the heart. Never think the impossible is unable to be achieved.
After my childhood beginnings, I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd become a writer, let alone a published author, and if I can achieve my dreams, then you can too.
Be proud of your achievements and of course, your writing.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Besides reading and listening to audio books, I enjoy being in the garden amongst nature, and spending time with family and friends. I also have a great interest in the spirit world. I am very intuitive and have the wonderful gift of providing guidance and spiritual messages of love to others from the other side. I enjoy going to book stores, book fairs and second hand shops where quite often, I find a hidden book that needs a new home, a place of love and care.
I love being with children whether it be through work, teaching scripture, or being with my niece, my nephews, or my god children. Children have such inquisitive minds and a great imagination. They live in the now and don't worry about what other people think. Children love playing, do creative activities like drawing, and have lots of fun.
Thanks to Danielle for sharing with us. If you would like to check out Danielle's work, click on the links below.