Many moons ago Prue Mason left Australia in search of adventure and creating the life of her dreams. Now, back on Australia soil – or at least Australian air space – Prue is an accomplished children’s author and pilot, with her fifth book, The Amazing Australians in their Flying Machines published by Walker Books, due out in April this year. It was after a conversation with Prue and reading the Through My Eyes series, including Prue’s last book Zafir, that inspired the change in my PhD topic. Recently I caught up with Prue to chat about life as a writer and living adventurously.
Tell us about yourself…
I think 5 adjectives can describe me:
I like the adventurous, brave side of me because it makes me get up and do stuff like leave home at not quite 19 and travel Australia, get my pilot’s licence, trek the Kokoda Track, live for years in the Middle East and even sit down and write a book.
I don’t like my impatient side. When I first started trying to write my impatience was always urging me on to the end and my last chapter was a rush of words. Somewhere along the way I began to realise the journey was more important than the destination and I have slowed down and I do now consciously enjoy the process.
My intuitive side has developed over the years and I rely on it more and more as part of the creative process of writing. My first real writing job was working for a children’s magazine in Dubai called Young Times and for this I had to write a bedtime story a week. In all the years I was doing this I never became anxious because I knew a story would come. It always did. The part I love is when I get that flutter of recognition when a situation or character or sentence or image emerges.
My enthusiastic side often leads me to taking on more than I can actually handle because I get caught up in the moment and just have to agree to be involved.
And that brings me to my faithful side. I guess I like to finish what I start. I have friends I’ve been faithful to for all of my life and I’ve been married for over 30 years now. I think being faithful helps me be a writer because it means I keep going until a story is finished.
What inspired you to start writing children’s/young adult novels?
I originally wanted to be a journalist like my grandfather and aunt but then I realised I would have to stick to the facts. I did a creative writing course and got to the assignment on children’s writing and liked doing it more than the others. I then began working for a children’s magazine writing articles, stories and columns. This gave me the experience to write books.
How would you describe your typical day? How does it differ from how your life was before you starting to living the life of your dreams?
I like to begin my day getting up slightly before the sun and slightly after our demanding cat. After the cat’s been fed and I’m having my first cup of tea I sit and think about the chapter, paragraph, sentence I will write first. I usually only write for 3-4 hours and finish by 9.00 – 9.30 am. After that I try to do 15 minutes of yoga practice before having breakfast and getting on with a normal day that includes house work, gardening, reading, socialising or going out to the airfield and working on an old vintage aeroplane we own. To be honest after 25 plus years of working as a writer I’ve forgotten what my day was life before I started writing.
One thing is that although I still have grumpy days when things don’t go right I’ve never lost that sense of purpose I have because of being on this path. Overall I feel that it’s made me a happier and more satisfied person.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far on your journey?
Enjoyng the journey/process and not rushing to get to the destination.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Nothing is ever written in stone. A good editor is a writer’s best friend.
How important is your ‘tribe’ in being able to achieve your goals?
My tribal chief is my husband and without his whole-hearted support I couldn’t have got on with this life path because my earnings are not regular or even always that substantial.
Being a writer and needing to spend time on my own I don’t consciously live tribally but I do believe my tribe is scattered across the continents and we know each other immediately. They are writers, artists, craftspeople, flyers, and all those who love the sky, the stars and the trees so much it almost hurts.
I am so grateful to Prue for sharing her experiences as a writer and someone who has been following her dreams for most of her life. You can find out more about Prue’s writing at www.pruemason.com
Books by Prue Mason
Camel Rider published by Penguin Books
Destination Abudai published by Penguin Books
Birdie in the Sky published by Penguin Books
Through My Eyes, Zafir published by Random House
The Amazing Australians in their Flying Machines published by Walker Books due out in April 2017