Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Author Interview: Faye Whittaker: Keep the Magic—‘Tis the essence of you

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Your real name and pen name?

Faye Whittaker

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

Wonderful holidays at my Grandparents house in the Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand each summer from the time I was six until the age of twelve.

My older brother and I were free to do, and to come and go, as we pleased each day from after breakfast until dinner time…no questions asked about where we’d been or what we did in between. That was the best bit!

We spent our days swimming, sailing in our wee boat, fishing and scrambling around the rocks on the tiny islands dotted around the harbour. It felt like every day was a huge adventure.

When we weren’t mucking about in the water, my brother doubled me on my grandfather’s old two-wheeler bike so we could discover all manner of exciting places around the district. We’d spy on lovers parked in cars down lonely lanes, eat our picnic lunch under trees in farmers’ paddocks, and cool off inside the stone church on our way home

We travelled with our mum overnight by train (23 hours in all) to get from our home to the sunny north. That was the hugest adventure in itself. And what’s more we had bought breakfast from a railway station on the way. That just had to be the best treat of each year!

About your education

I attended New Plymouth Girls’ High School – Taranaki – New Zealand

I gained a Degree in Social and Community Work from Massey University – Palmerston North – New Zealand

I qualified as an Adult Tutor – Taranaki Polytechnic – New Zealand

What career did you plan during your education days

Social Work – Initially I wanted to become a Child Welfare Officer. Later I decided to focus on ‘first choice tertiary education’ for students who hadn’t succeeded at secondary level.

What languages you can speak and write?

English only

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life

The fact that I have realised I have been given the opportunity to experience the Life-force in human form; and that in truth, this great privilege has nothing to do with the religious, political, societal, time in history or even the family I was born into.

What hurts you most in this world

That the majority of individuals don’t now, or ever have, thought for her/himself. Instead each acts out opinion according to what we are introduced to. We generally form our beliefs, our codes of conduct, and construct our morals in line with those who have authority over us.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? Were you able to overcome it? How?

Rheumatoid Arthritis—I was diagnosed with this disease after being admitted to hospital on my deathbed from mercury poisoning. The challenge was two-fold. First: the crippling debilitating pain in joints and chest, and the closing down of my bodily organs. Second: The taking up of responsibility for my return to health against the advice of the doctors, who, even before making a diagnosis prescribed life-long medications of steroids and chemotherapy, which I refused. I did agree to a sulphur based drug which, unbeknown to doctors at the time, saved my life. It did not however, reduce the rheumatoid factor in my blood.

Yes! I have overcome the doom and gloom of the medicos predictions by becoming strong in following my innate instincts—taking advice that felt right and looking to natural therapies. I changed my lifestyle—had a mouthful of amalgam fillings removed, examined my past, and reduced my day-to-day stress.

Twenty years ago, one doctor after another, based on my original blood tests and my physical state, decreed at best I would be living life in a wheel-chair within 3 years. They were entirely wrong! And although I still live with the aftermath of rheumatoid arthritis, and I am not physically as able as I once was, it has been the impetus I needed to get on and write

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

My mother—a renowned artist

Since her death I have realized just how multi-talented she really was. During her living years I was inclined to take the ‘all’ of her for granted.

What is your favorite genre and why?

I don’t have a particular favorite genre. I like reading writings I find inspirational—that encourage me to live MY life without the requirement of approval from those around me.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I have always enjoyed writing—essays were my forte from early school days, and I aspired to write a full length novel from the age of 16 or so. However, my first published works included 2 books on Rheumatoid Arthritis—‘The Rheumatoid Triangle: the complaint, the cause, the cure’ and then ‘Rheumatoid Remedies: Natural Remedies to Heal’

A five year project followed to produce ‘Intricious: inspiring, nutritious, delicious. This is a food philosophy book chock full of information and over 80 of my recipes that contain only healthy ingredients.

I finally got to publish my first novel ‘For a Fee of Two Shillings’ in 2011 and recently my second ‘Powder Blue Tweed and Rye’ in October this year.

From reader feedback, I am happy that my non-fiction has encouraged others to pick up responsibility for their own health and well-being—to sift through the advice given by professionals and make informed decisions of what is right for them.

I hope my novels, besides having a good storyline, inspire readers to be curious and to self-observe. Also, that they begin to recognise what they so easily take on as fact, most often is only opinion, casually adopted by the receiver without any examination as to its truth.

Which of your work published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

‘Powder Blue Tweed & Rye’

When, several years after the heart-rending tragedy Kelly Templeton inadvertently finds herself at the scene of her parents’ murder, she totally understands why the one person who could have revealed the mystery surrounding the deaths chose not to tell—police or family.

Kelly herself bears the humiliation and shame engendered from harmless teen-juiced sexual exploits being highhandedly exposed by a supercilious busy-body. And worse, the subsequent prejudicial judgement—the consequence of misconstructions created within the fabrication of cultural and religious bigotry.

She suffers condemnation without trial, and there doesn’t seem to be any justice or truth in any of it, or anywhere for her to be.

Yes!  Kelly Templeton knows all too well, the hurtful scandal that comes from revealing someone else’s secrets.

What are your forthcoming writings?

I am in the initial stages of writing my life memoir… I’m not sure if it will be published. I would have loved to have read the life stories of the generations of women in my family who preceded me …So in light of that, this will be left for my descendants.

What are your future plans?

I prefer not to plan—rather, I like to allow my life to unfold as it occurs to be the next right thing.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

I try to make sure:
·         Somebody somewhere will want to read it
·         If it’s a novel, it has a plot that moves along and is not predictable
·         It has a good storyline that is also inspiring
·         That it leaves the reader satisfied…or better still, wishing they hadn’t come to the end.

Your dream destination on Earth?

Right here—where I live in the far north of New Zealand. My log-cabin (and writing nook) over-look a beautiful harbour with less than a 100 metre walk down to a beach of white silica sand.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

I was born and have lived most of my life in New Zealand.

I have been privileged to enjoy extensive travel around the world, taking in the differences and the similarities of human endeavour, rituals, morals and circumstances of a wide range of cultures and belief systems.

The traditions I have experienced include those practiced in 10 different European countries as well as Australia, Canada, Argentina, Peru, Turkey and Morocco—Pacific Islands, including Niue, Rarotonga and Tahiti—Asian countries including India, 
Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines.

Travel has unequivocally brought the realization of how each individual in this world is thoroughly moulded through the place of birth, the time in history, the dominating religion and associated politics—cultural and societal values; even family doctrines and dogma—All of which is indoctrinated as a truth during one’s childhood.

It occurs to me whether we are born in the west or the east we are not encouraged to believe in ‘one’s self’ or to claim one’s right to ‘Be’ and/or live outside of a given norm.
It also seems those who have less laugh more.

Your favorite time of the day?

Evening—the world and all of its busy-ness gives way to peace as the sun goes down

Your zodiac/ sunsign?

My sun sign is Leo and my Chinese sign is Monkey

Your favorite color and why?

This seems to depend on the object:
I like a particular shade of red car
I like to wear blue
I like the look and feel of sunny yellow and gold

Your favorite book and why?

Nelson Mandela’s—Walk to Freedom
He is the epitome of what I admire in a human being. Mandela found and lived his passion without fear of the consequence.

He knew and followed his right to ‘Be’ no matter the indoctrination he received within a culture that practiced apartheid and treated his people as second class citizens.

Your favorite celebrity and why?

Dawn French—she is not afraid to portray who she is, and she is a natural comedian. Just the thought of her makes me laugh in pure joy.

Your favorite food?

Pear, Walnut, Lettuce & Feta Salad

Some quickies: 
Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile, Morning or Evening, Coffee or Tea, Mountain or Sea, Long Drive or Short Drive, Silence or Conversation, Water or Fire, Air or Earth, Mars or Jupiter, Moon or Sun, Tulip or Rose, Red or Blue, Left or Right, Glance or Stare                                                 (I’ve colored my choices blue)

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

Keep the Magic—‘Tis the essence of you before anyone or anything made something else of you

The last line of your autobiography would be…

This story is the ‘makings’ of my life. By the telling of it, I hope I have also honoured the privilege of it.

(Oops! That’s nearly 2 lines!) J
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