Author Bette Shiels watches on as photographer Paul Beutel photographs Abby Fine and Nick Tanner for the cover of her new book, Mirikata Magic.
Author Bette Shiels watches on as photographer Paul Beutel photographs Abby Fine and Nick Tanner for the cover of her new book, Mirikata Magic. Scottie Simmonds

Budding writers spark interest

BUNDY authors are causing a stir in the publishing world, with one writer signed to a US-based company and an Australian publisher showing interest in at least two others.

Long-time writer Bette Shiels has been signed by US company Xlibris, with her book Mirikata Magic set to be released in about two months.

“It's set in the outback, in the Woomera area, and is based on a project my husband and I worked on in the '80s,” Mrs Shiels said.

“The story is about a white girl who falls in love with an Aborigine and it's full of conflict.”

The book is moving full steam ahead, with the cover picture taken by local photographer Paul Beutel this week.

“They'll publish it so it can be bought online as an e-book and in the shops,” she said.

“This is my first book that's not self-published. I've been waiting for this for 20 years.”

Mrs Shiels has already self-published two books.

“I've also got three unfinished books I'm working on and I'm in the middle of my autobiography,” she said.

The Bundaberg Writers' Club has also proved a valuable tool to help local budding authors, with member Cherie Curtis catching the eye of Harper Collins.

Mrs Curtis's manuscript was one of eight that Harper Collins requested from authors at the 2010 WriteFest event and, after rewriting and adding 25,000 words, she sent the polished copy off at the end of January.

“I'd expect to wait at least six months before I hear back,” she said.

“It's a really long process.”

The writer said she had only ever seen her fantasy manuscript, Shahkara, as a standalone novel, but after the rewrite, it had evolved into a trilogy and she was busy working on the second book, The Ghost She Killed.

Mrs Curtis credited her progress to writers' conferences such as WriteFest, which will be held in Bundaberg in May this year.

“I would never have got this far today without going to writers' conferences,” she said.

“There is so much to learn.”

David Russell also attended WriteFest and, at Harper Collins' request, sent off his manuscript of his book, The Stunning, in July last year.

“It's really a game of hurry up and wait at the moment,” he said.

“It's quite an honour to even be considered this seriously.”

Mr Russell said WriteFest had played a huge role in getting his manuscript this far, but he credited Bundaberg Writers' Club members Sandy Curtis and Dianne Esmond for getting him there.

“They are such great writers and really know the system,” he said.

“I'm really impressed with the writers I've met in this city.”

The annual WriteFest will be held on May 21 at CQUniversity.

For more information or to book, phone the Bundaberg Writers' Club on 4159 1010 or log on to www.bundywriters.com



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