I’m very excited to announce my guest today, the amazingly talented and down-to-earth Australian Author, Ian Parkes. I'm presently half way through reading Ian’s biographical book, A Youth Not Wasted, and I’m hooked. He had me hungry to learn of his adventurous life in the outback from the get go.
This is a snippet of his prologue, which when I read it, moved me beyond anything I have read in the rural genre thus far…
‘I lay lightly on my back, looking up, feeling the earth’s weight beneath me, observing the infinite firmament above through the thin veil of foliage. As I listened to the creak of the ancient tree’s branches and the flicker of its leaves and the soft tumbles of the campfire coals, I asked myself if this is where I would like to die. Could I close my eyes and pass on here? Fade away, as the campfire faded out? Could I? Well, yes, I could. I felt at ease here. What greater feeling can a country give you than to set you free to pass on in its embrace?’
Welcome, Ian, it’s wonderful having you here to chat to today.
Where were you born, raised, schooled and what was the most mischievous thing you did when you were a child?
Born in Perth Western Australia, 26 October 1934. I was raised in Mundaring (WA) during World War II and then in Perth where I went to Hale School from 1946 to 1950. Most mischievous thing was stealing cans of condensed milk from my grandparents’ shop in Mundaring and then consuming the contents hiding under the house.
How long did it take you to get published and how did you feel when you were told you had a contract?
Started the search for a publisher in December 2009 and secured a contract 09 September 2011. Over the moon. The high point of the whole journey of writing and getting published.
What time of the day/night do you prefer to write and where do you like to write?
Morning, from 8:00 to 1:00 and sometimes late in the afternoon.
Can you tell us a little bit about A Youth Not Wasted? And what date it will be released?
It is about the five years of my life, from 16 to 21, when I worked on outback sheep stations. Started as a jackeroo, learned to be a stockman and a station hand and was an overseer when I was still 19Publication date is 01 April 2012
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
From my experiences.
What is your favourite meal?
Moghul style Indian curries
Who is your favourite Australian?
A very close friend who has been a mentor and a role model for 52 years.
What is your favourite Aussie saying?
There are so many it’s too hard to pick one – and then I can’t be sure that it is really Australian and not a hand-me-down from the U.K.
Where would be your ideal place to holiday?
Spain – especially Andalucía.
Thanks, Ian, for popping by. It was an absolute pleasure having you.
A Youth Not Wasted is a beautiful memoir - a reflection of Ian's youth growing up in a part of Australia almost forgotten, a world of wool, harsh terrain, physical labour, colourful characters and jackeroos. With a strong connection to the land, Parkes writes with warmth and candid charm. This story is tough yet tender, funny one moment, poignant the next, this is a story of a life lived on the land and for the land. And if you haven’t read it already, I urge you to. It’s a story that Ian should be very proud of, and equally we should be, as it is a beautiful journey through Australia’s history and our traditions. His passion for the country is felt through every word, every memory he shares, be they funny or heart- wrenching. This book will be having pride of place on my bookshelf, and will remain etched in my heart for my lifetime.
Here is a sneak peak into A Youth Not Wasted with the powerful prologue….
In other news, I’m enjoying the newly arrived English sunshine and am spending loads of time outside. This photo above is me with my father-in-law,Rich, who I love to bits, and my darling little girl, Chloe Rose. It rained for the first 3 weeks here and I was thrilled with the opportunity to sit by the fire and write. But, being the typical Aussie that I am, 3 weeks inside was sending my stir crazy and I rejoiced when the clouds parted and the glorious sun shone down upon us! We have now booked a few outings, the most exciting one a visit to Buckingham Place! Yes, I am going to be walking through where the Queen lives. I wonder if she is going to sit down for a spot of tea and some cream scones? :)
I will post some photos of my adventures in a couple weeks on my next blog.
Until then, keep smiling and dreaming