Whispers through Time- Joni Scott, author meets her book.

Whispers through Time- Joni Scott, author meets her book.

Finally, A book in hand.

After a year in production, Whispers Through Time is now an actual physical book. These sixty thousand words were initially just an idea, then over months, they became a manuscript. In this new form, they travelled across the world to London to be renamed again as a first, then second edit, then an inner proof. Yes, my Whispers Through Time has taken many forms, but here it is finally as a book in my hand.

What is it about? Why did you write a book at your age, especially as you are a math/science teacher? Fair questions which I will answer below.

My sister, Heather has spent 15 years researching our lot, discovering in the process a lot of fascinating people , places and assorted facts. She calls it going down the rabbit hole. A bit like Alice, you pop down supposedly for a moment and emerge days later having learnt a lot.

That is how Heather found a little, but unfortunately not a lot, about our maternal grandmother, Winifred. Most grannies born in the time of Queen Victoria did predictable things like stay in their home town, marry and raise a bunch of kids. But not our granny, Winnie. No, she, as a young woman, took off from London supposedly alone to hop on a liner bound for Sydney just months after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. My sister located her name on the ship, Rangatira’s manifold and traced her arrival in Sydney six weeks later.

When I read all these fascinating facts that my sister had unearthed, I was like in a ‘wow’ state. I was also on holidays at a beach resort where it rained for two weeks solid. Having finished the books and jig saw, I had brought along ‘just in case’ it rained, I came up with the idea of entertaining myself with a spot of writing. Having just finished reading Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden about a grand-daughter exploring her grandmother’s past, I felt inspired to give my Nana a similar treatment. Just for fun. Why not? As most of the research was done by my big sis, how hard could it be to write it into some sort of story? Heather’s 70th birthday was looming and what can you get a gal who has a house and wardrobe full of stuff? A story, I decided. She likes stories and this one seemed a cracker, a bit of a mystery.

Although I am a mathematics and science teacher, I have had to write a few things in my time. So I started to write about Winifred one rainy February afternoon in 2019. I only had a school exercise book with me, no computer so my writing was a little arduous and scribbly at first. But I kept going for the week despite my husband’s lack of encouragement.

‘You’re writing a book?’ he scoffed.

‘Yep, sure am,’ I replied.

Undeterred, I wrote away and when we returned home, I kept writing and writing. I wrote in my spare moments for five whole months, filling in the gaps and silences of Winifred’s story with the magic of fiction. By the time Heather’s birthday came around, I was able to present her with a ‘book’, all wrapped up with a pink satin bow. It had no cover, just numbered typed pages printed off at the local Officeworks for $25.

She was a little surprised but delighted and read it in record time. Then she surprised me by sending it off to publishers unbeknown to me and by the time my birthday arrived she surprised me with a letter of offer from Austin-Macauley in London for a contract to publish my little book, Whispers Through Time.

Thank you all at Austin Macauley!

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