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Valverde Maclean

Life and love can take us to unexpected places.

Valvedre Maclean  addressing

 the Mapleton Community Library

“Lover of Books” afternoon



Probus Club of the North Blacallll Range

  I believe books can give us pleasure and knowledge, and some can change the world.

  It was pleasure and knowledge that first attracted me to books, and then to writing.  While I doubt my writing will change the world I hope it gives pleasure, explores relationships and engages readers with ideas—and takes them to places and times they may not know.

  Each of us have our favourite styles of books.  My 12 year old grandson is an avid reader.  He’s enjoying a series of books whose main character, a feisty young red-haired girl called Clary, is fighting, witches, werewolves and warlocks in New York.  He has read my efforts at writing.  He’s polite—but I think he prefers Clary.

  At his age I was a keen reader of stories based on a cattle property in the Western District of Victoria.  The Billabong books had a major effect on me.  They were the first serious reading I did.  I had read “Little Golden Books” but like many I am not sure I actually read the books, I just remembered the stories that had been read to me.    

  What I loved about the “Billabong” stories Was the depiction of the Australian countryside and lifestyle.  Perhaps there was also some dreaming involved.  Life on Billabong was much more exciting than the farm where I grew up.  It was much more established, and colder, than the cattle station my wife and I worked in the Northern Territory.  Yet I wonder whether those early stories influenced my ongoing interest in sheep and cattle.  Now, I wonder what influence the werewolves will have on my grandson?

  Another author I enjoyed was from a similar time.  It was a world of gentlemen and cads, colonials and “dastardly Huns”.  These days his stories would be considered politically incorrect but his writing had a real sense of place, a love of countryside, and his landscapes came alive to me.  His stories were full of daring-do and of good overcoming evil.

  Getting ,and holding, a reader’s interest is critical.  There’s a great skill in keeping the reader wanting to find out what happens next.  Plus creating a mystery and tying it to an historical and cultural background.

I  ’ve talked with readers and been told you have to capture their interest within fifty pages.  Otherwise they put the book down and never read it.  Some are less generous and give you five pages.  The severest allow five paragraphs.  One reader even told me she reads the end of the book and it the ending doesn’t appeal she won’t read the book.

  Another writer I enjoy is not so much “Can’t put it down” as “Want to pick it up”.  His observations of human nature and our peculiarities are a pleasure to read, and he has a feeling for people and their surroundings, plus a great love of exploring ideas and playing with words.

I

Lovers of Books - Mapleton Community Library

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