Prelude to the Writer’s Festival

It is nearly here. What is at this time, I should actually be out in the forest walking about and showing your lives from the forest. But you know that tomorrow something is happening and if you look at the screen there, there it is. Escape with us.

To other words, it’s the Logan Writers Festival, and it is tomorrow. I am, in fact, slightly terrified. What do you think? But a lot of people have been giving me advice. For example, I asked, should I do my makeup and hair for the writers festival?

Because I’m a speaker. And even though I write adventure books and normally I’m just walking about hot and sweaty, I think that if I’m a speaker, I should do my hair and makeup. So I have on my story. I have 97% people who have said I should do my hair and makeup. So I guess I will do my hair and make up tomorrow.

So there are these important things you have to think about for the Writers Festival? Not really. I’m not doing the organising. Thank goodness. Logan Writers the arts Chamber is doing all the arrangements for the Logan Writers Festival and all the details are on the site of Logan Writers Festival.

If you haven’t decided to come yet, there still tickets. You can still come along It’s near Logan Central. Easy to get to. You can come to it. And you can see not only me but heaps of other authors who knew that they were over there a couple of dozen authors who live right here in Logan, in our locality. And Logan is like the next city to Brisbane.

So I used to be in Brisbane, but now I’m in Logan, in the Logan Writers Festival.


The First Chapter

Now the first chapter of it’s really the story behind the story of how authors write their books. And we are going to open the box and reveal to you all the secrets of what happens before. But you might be noticing behind me.

Yeah, there are some bookshelves and on that are my books ready for you to buy at the festival, if you like. But there are some gaps there. And I think that one set of books is really invisible to you.  You have all three books of mine over there. Now you might be thinking, but, Susan, that’s not really enough for a writers festival and just chill. I have you all covered because I have this.

Postcard or Book?


Okay. You want a book? I’m going to give you a card instead. How will that work? Will it work or not?

Maybe not, but these are some instead of doing business cards, what’s the use of a business card, really, for a writer to solemnly going to be going handing out my business cards when people meet writers or when they go to Writers festival, they expect books, right? Not business cards. So instead of a business card, I’ve got a postcard. And even this was crowd designed, not crowdfunded because I paid for it myself. But it was crowd designed. You will see that how this changed completely changed from my original design because I’m not a design person. I’m an author. So over here you have all my books and thank you. And here you have at the back. It’s really like a postcard.

Yeah. So you can just scan that. If you want to work with me to write your own book, you can scan that. And if you want to grab some of the books or tell someone about the books, you can scan, you can scan that because that is what will get you to my sight. So basically people who come to my stall, I’m thinking that they can grab one of these.

It’s quite a nice picture. What is interesting about it is it’s a skip with the book and all my all my adventures are is where they’re not in Logan, right. We don’t have seven day or a 20 day hikes in Logan. I suppose you could hike from one end to the other.

So here. But in the background of this, in the background of this is the forest way. I train almost twice or thrice a week, and sometimes every day that is Daisy Hill Forest. And if you look closely, that is a Lake. And you know, a lot of people don’t even know that that Lake is there because it hasn’t been marked very clearly.

I think only local kids know about it. They go and jump in the and swim and you need to know where it is now. Once I was at actually the very spot where I took this photograph from it’s on high on a cliff. And while we were there, we walked down from there and at the crossroads at the bottom, the cross parts. We met a guy who had been biking, cycling, mountain biking in Daziel Forest for five years, and he had never found the Lake.

And so he said, okay, come along. And we showed him the Lake. And I think that was the time when I took this picture because I had taken it so much for granted that everybody knows where the Lake is. So I didn’t bother to take pictures of it. But as you can see, thank you for the likes and the love and do if you’re watching this to share with your pages and with your feet to try and get it out a bit more, because we do not want to be starving artists.

The reason for books

We want to be able to we create art, which are books, I only have a few books with me. Normally I keep them just to if someone wants an autograph copy, I post them out to them. For example, yesterday I had this gorgeous picture of a reader in Melbourne, Karen, who took a picture of herself and the book and she had a couple of days earlier called me.

She had messaged me on Facebook and asked for the book and we worked out how to get it to her.

She is in lock down in Melbourne and that is one of the reasons why we have books. You escape with us to other worlds, right? Even if you are in locked down, a book is going is the safest way for you to escape. So we are very lucky here in Queensland. We can actually physically go and have a writers festival because I guess we’ve just been lucky, whereas they’re still in lock down in Sydney and Melbourne where cases are ballooning and really my heart goes out to those people who are stuck.

But the best thing to do is for them to read. Ok. So I try to get that out to them as much as possible. Thank you. Thank you for sharing.

These are the kinds of things which you will learn if you come to the Logan Writers Fest. Well, what’s really happening in the background of an author’s mind. But today what’s happening in the foreground? I do not fear. I have got more books and they are right. As you can see, I have shipped them in from they’ve been shipped in from Amazon. There they are, right. Like reverse parking. You have to know where to put the books. So they have been shipped in from Amazon. And I thought I would do an unboxing here with you. Here we go.

Unboxing the books

Do you know, as an author, Amazon now has a local facility for printing your print books in Australia before these books would have to be shipped from the US and they would take after 20 days and they would cost way more because shipping from the US is not cheap. So they would cost way more. And I would then have to charge so much more for print books. And I rather than, you know, being not a very good business women, I would tell people don’t buy the print book go by the book, which is a really silly thing to do, because even in this lock down and in this pandemic, print books have been overselling.

Ebooks sales increased so much that they are increased the sold more print books and certainly my Camino book itself – heaps of ebooks.

But in the last year since covid started in about March last year, I have sold more print books of Camino Ingles in this one year than I did in the four years before that. It is quite amazing because I think people they want the comfort of a book which they can hold in their hands and read. And particularly if it’s a guide book like in they want to know that it’s something they can hold on to. So what has happened is I continuously edit and update my books so that they are up to date.

I put information in there or what you have to do to stay safe in a pandemic. What the latest regulations are because they keep changing continuously. For the Camino, Spain got the highest one of the highest vaccinated populations in the world. They reckon the Camino is back. By August100,000 pilgrims actually turned up for their certificate, which is a huge amount. So that is really good. The Camino has come alive again.

The Vaccinated are walking

People are walking again. People are vaccinated, they have vaccination passports and they can travel again. But things happen. It keeps changing and you have to keep an eye on what is happening in Spain. And for that I continuously update my book at the back.

And the front of all my books are links which take you to take you to the bonus side. So even if you bought the book a month ago or two months ago or a year ago, if you go to the bonus sites, you will get the downloads for the latest latest details which you need to know about working. Because as an author and particularly as an adventure and hiking author, I take my duty very seriously to give value to readers. The whole purpose of an author is that you have an experience and then you share it with others, a new hope that they will experience the same joy.

They will push themselves out of their comfort zone, and perhaps they will escape with you a little bit.

So that connection that really between an author and the reader is I think it’s verging on the sacred and you should never break that. And as a guidebook, hiking and adventure author, I take it very seriously that my details in the book are always always up to date, up to the stage of going back. Right after four years I went back to the Camino and I walked the Camino English again because things have changed on the ground and now my book was out of date. I was getting some lovely readers emailing me and saying, Susan, this stage is changed, you need to update.

How about some horrible people who put nasty reviews on Amazon? But, hey, if the book is, I see that that is part of the ethic that if someone is walking with the book and they take the book and they start walking with it and they get lost. It’s not right. So I went back and I rewrote the book and that’s the book, which I told you even last year, when people could not walk, they were buying the book and reading it. And I was quite amazed.

So thank you to every reader who bought my books and appreciate that. I really, really love you. Okay. So now let’s see what we can do about these empty shells and open this up. Right.

Brown Paper and books

Something about opening books. Isn’t there lots of Brown paper? This will get folded and used for baking in my house or wrapping other things. But for now, I just throw them on a tiny. And here we are, the new set of Camino Ingles. Right. Okay. These are new prints. These are all the latest edition. These are the 2020 edition and right, that’s great. And you can get them. And with the Camino English being opened and Militaria being the it’s one of the best States or provinces for cod in Spain, they’ve got things under control over there and all up to the stage of the Albert as being almost 50% available, that means 15 of the beds can be filled, not 100% like they were before. So here we are. The Camino England. Right.

Look, look at the back of that cover. Right. This is really an old picture of mine because I didn’t change the reference of the cover, but that’s not my professional picture anymore. And we have the value of Flowers, which is my latest book. I love this book.

And on this you have my latest picture. So you can get this book as well if you love flowers like I do. And I’m really actually, this year I managed to Bloom a few of these cold things which never grow in Queensland. But I have these flowers because I’ve had crocuses freezer and I tried for Daffodils, but I don’t know if they haven’t yet bloomed. So here we are.

Transcript Continued



And the one book which I love and the trek I love is Chasing Himalayan Dreams . You can use it as a guide book, but it also it’s more of a memoir. It’s more. I dive deep into what my motivations were for this dream and how this was an old dream.

Okay. I had this dream when I was 16 and I could not walk this particular track. And actually I thought it was a good idea to walk it when I was 60. Not not sure you should wait that long. Don’t wait for your dreams.

You have to Hunt them down and go into.  And a lot of people like it very much. They say that this is one of the best. This is the best of my books.

And but it’s a memoir. It’s very much linked into my childhood, my teenage years, why I loved why I love walking and also my memories of growing up in North India, the position and also the trips to the mountains which we took as as a military brat. So it’s very much a dream fulfilment book. So we have even more books here. Yes, the same value of Slots.

So Valley  of Flowers really? Is it’s a book about a hike in the Valley  of Flowers This is a relatively recent hike. That means it’s about less than 100 years old. Ready, it was discovered.


And actually the story about why I wrote this book, this Valley  of Flowers was discovered by a British mountaineer, Frank Smith in 37, I think, 90, 719 34. He was actually climbing some peaks nearby. They were in a snowstorm and they staggered out of the snowstorm and they found refuge in this amazing Valley. In the night. They just staggered in and took refuge under some overhanging rocks.


And in the morning, when they got up, they found this amazing Valley blanketed with the most glorious Alpine or Himalyan flowers. And so this experience, there was one book that I was slightly annoyed that the only book about the Valley  of Flowers was by a man, a white man who had lived in India 100 years ago. Don’t get me wrong. I love Frank Smith books, and I think he’s a mountain and an Explorer who has been forgotten. And that’s not good.

But he’s not forgotten in the Value of cars, people in the mountains. We never forget those who love them and those who love the mountains. And so you can find if you go to the Valley  of Flowers , you find an eco centre where you can buy his books. They also run regular sessions on showing you his life and what he did to find this book. 

The important thing about the Valley  of Flowers is that I did this walk with a group of friends. Right. Four friends. We have been friends for 30 plus years. We had worked together for over 30 years.

We were at the start of our careers. Then we are all now at the end of our careers on the stage we were thinking of we’ve had these stellar careers, but now we’re ready to do things which we want to do. And so some of them already. Some of us already up. 

I no longer work in corporate, and I spend most of my time writing or helping people write their books. So there were four of us who went and we discovered that going in a group of friends is the most amazing thing. So this value of flaws is not only about the track, it’s also generally a pain to two friendship, which lasts and how you can hike together. Sometimes I think when I’m on a hike, when I’m escaping, I don’t really really want to make new friends. And if you were to go on a hike with people who don’t like that’s ruined.

So here we were really happy. We even with close friends, the four of us girls, all of us artist, I’m a grandmother. Rest of them have had on children, and all of us were behaving like giggly girls, which is what you can do for the hike. So that was a dream, a new dream. And this was an old dream, right?

And really the Camino. I had never heard of it until relatively recently, where I started actually thinking about through hikes and long hikes. And I’ll tell you all about it, of how I wrote this book, why a book launched my best selling career and what I did to prepare for it. So come tomorrow, I’ll be talking at 11:00 in Marquee, too, at the Logan Writers Festival and do come and I’ll be looking for your beautiful face in the crowd. Come and hear me.

You can see the books there. You can see if you want to work with me to write your own book, or you can pick up a book and send it to someone in Melbourne or Sydney who is locked down and is planning an escape. This is a safe escape for them. They can go. There’s no vaccination passport required to read a book.

Isn’t that awesome? I will now get back to panicking about the talk tomorrow because let me tell you as this is behind the scenes and Inner Writers Festival is the first time I’m speaking at a writers festival, and I’m equally panicked over will anyone come to listen to me? And oh, my God, a lot of people will come and they will hate me because I don’t know what I will talk to them about, but I know what I’ll talk to them about. I have my slides ready and just a few slides, not too many on both them with that.That’s the magic of books.

And we will have some fun over there.

And definitely I am so excited to perhaps wander around and I hope I get a chance to attend some other talks by other authors because the are some amazing authors. There these children’s authors, there’s nonfiction authors, this fantasy authors, this science fiction, romance authors, every type of book which you would love to read. Is there’s an author there who is writing it for you right here in your backyard. So that’s the magic of a book. It takes you from your backyard, my backyard, where I grow these little flowers.

The Magic of Books

It takes me from my back yard, up into the Himalayas and into the Valley of flowers. And who knows where else. So we know the sky is not the limit any more. And as readers, we always knew the magic. The sky was never the limit.

The Earth was only a place to stand dreaming from some come next week.

Come tomorrow and meet me at the Logan Writers Festival and meet me and a whole lot of other writers. It’s Susan agent now best selling author. A signing off and going back to continue to prepare for my tape. Heaps of preparation and boring admin things to do what we have to do them.

I will see you tomorrow at the Logan Writers Festival  and go read a book. Make an author happy. Make yourself even happier. That’s the magic of books.

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