Guest Post: New Zealand author Deborah Burnside

Deborah Burnside

The question was; Do you want to write a guest blog?

I said, YES…

I say yes to a lot of things because it makes life interesting and gives you things to write about.

Yes, I’d like to learn to belly dance and derby skate, yes I’d like to see the pilots flying the plane, yes I’d like to buy a ticket, yes I’ll get up extra early to take the special Colosseum tour (even though I am NOT a morning person).

You can see a theme here I hope?

That writers are spontaneous, curious and explorative people who may or may not write about all of the things they do, see or experience, but will likely always be doing interesting things that they could write about.

Although sometimes it’s the thing a writer hasn’t been able to do that turns up in their stories.

I live on a large rural block with my lovely husband, Malamute Blaze, three sons, their assorted friends, some sheep and cattle, various migratory birds, pesky rabbits and a wild, white cat with no ears.  A long time ago I said I wanted to turn our paddock into a maize maze – at the time we were leasing the land to a cropper who had planted maize and our son got lost in the maize.  While that was a terrifying experience, it made me think it would have been a whole lot easier to find him if there were paths through the maize.

“Then the cropper wouldn’t make any money, Deb.”  Said the lovely man.

“I know, but you could charge money to walk through the maize maze instead, before you harvested,” I said.

“Nobody would pay to do that.”  Said the lovely man.

“I think they would, I think we should do it here.”

The lovely man didn’t agree, “You are raising kids, singing, dancing, acting in Les Miserables, building a house and running a waste and recycling company…I think you are too busy to grow and operate a maize maze.”

Well, put like that I had to agree, because what the lovely man didn’t know was that I was also harbouring a secret desire to write books.

It was that seed of truth, that personal desire to grow a maize maze that made me give that thing to Marty in YES.

I love that YES, my new young adult book, is titled YES, because so many great things have happened in my life simply by saying YES.  It’s also an acronym for the Young Enterprise Scheme, something the characters in the book take part in and which is something I wish had been in High Schools when I was at school, as I cold started a business when I was 21.  I encourage anyone given the chance to participate in YES at their school to give it a go.

And all those other things I mentioned… well since 9/11 you can no longer visit pilots in cockpits.  The Colosseum  closed the lower levels in October this year indefinitely and they’d not been opened since the 1930s.  Learning to Belly Dance was fun, I met great people, got to perform at lots of public events and it gave me an idea for a scene in, On A Good Day.  Buying the wrong bus ticket in Turkey led me on an amazing (sometimes slightly hair-raising) adventure and personal tour of Istanbul by a local, which may yet end up in a book.  And Roller Derby has me loving bruises, blisters, grazes and speed and leaves me with the conundrum of what to call my skating alter ego.  I wanted Princess Slayer (Princess Leia – star wars) because my Mum used to put my hair in two buns when I was little, but thanks to the movie, Whip It that name is taken.

I’ll take some time thinking about my Derby name the same as I do when I name characters in stories… because I like names and words that mean more than one thing and I like my characters to be true to their names.

The newest character I am writing about is Cartograph, he takes a while to get his name, I’m not quite sure exactly what is happening in his story,  I know where it is and when it is and who is in it, but the rest is just a fabulous rollercoaster ride as I sit at the computer and say YES – today I’m writing.  How lucky am I?

Deborah Burnside

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Filed under authors, books, New Zealand, young adult, young adult fiction

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