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  • Writer's pictureMaya Linnell

Creative dabbling, with three questions for makers

First published on Erica Spinks' blog series, Creative Dabbling here.

Welcome to the second in my Three Questions series, where I ask makers about their creative practices. I ‘met’ Maya through Instagram, where we have a shared interest in flowers – her photos of dahlias are inspiring!

Maya writes rural romance novels for Allen & Unwin. Her two novels Bottlebrush Creek (2020) and Wildflower Ridge (2019) are all about farming families, relationships and country living.

She also has three little bookworms and acreage, but when she’s not hanging with her family or writing, you’ll usually find her reading, baking (sweet things are her weakness, especially yo-yo bikkies), sewing bright, colourful skirts and aprons for herself and her girls, learning piano or gardening (dahlias, roses and ranunculas are her top three).

How did you get started on your creative path?

“I’ve always been a country girl, keen on telling the stories of rural people, and spent much of my 20s as a journalist at a twice-weekly rural newspaper. I got to meet loads of people and loved being paid to gallivant around the countryside taking photos and writing articles about everything from new school enrolments and sheep sales to front-page news and full-page features.

“I took a break from the workforce to raise three children, which is where my love of baking, reading and sewing came in handy. I learned those hobbies from my Mum and my grandmothers at a young age, and it was so rewarding to share this creativity with my little ones.

“When the children were almost all in school, I decided it was high time to chase my childhood dream of becoming an author. I was delighted to be picked up by Allen & Unwin in 2018 and the rest is history!”

What satisfies you about the creative work you do?

“I take great joy in creating settings and characters from my imagination, putting my heart and soul into my writing, and coming up with stories that appeal to a wide range of readers. It’s pretty special to be able to offer people an escape to the country through my books or my Instagram photos, especially in Corona-times.

“Creative satisfaction also comes from making beautiful cakes for birthdays, sharing biscuits and scones with neighbours over the fence and teaching my children that homemade gifts (whether it’s cards, baked goods, posies of flowers from our garden or little hand-sewn items) are extra special because they’re made with love.”

How do you stay inspired to create?

“Messages from happy readers have been the most unexpected and uplifting side of being a published author, and they keep me returning to the keyboard every single day.

“I also love the thrill when I’m in the middle of writing the perfect scene. My fingers work faster than my brain, the words just fall from my fingertips like magic, and the story unfolds on the page before I can even articulate it in my head. Those are the days when I absolutely love being an author!

“Connecting with like-minded folks who spread joy and positivity through their social media feeds, with gardening, sewing, baking and books, is also a great inspiration!”

Follow Maya online

Thank you, Maya, for sharing insights of your creative life!


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