AWC courses helped Kyra Geddes become a published author

Kyra Geddes had always adored books and dreamed of being an author. As a child, she was frequently found in her local library, borrowing ten books on her card… and then another ten on her mother’s card. She put her dreams aside to follow the ‘safe’ path of a career in marketing, but decided to return to her original passion when she was on maternity leave. She earned a degree in English, but turned to the Australian Writers' Centre to get the skills she needed to write a novel and get published.

“What I needed from the AWC was specific and practical help in reinventing myself from an aspiring writer and stay-at-home mum to a published author,” Kyra told us.

And she has absolutely succeeded – Kyra’s debut novel The Story Thief is out now with Affirm Press.

“It's hard to overstate the strength of my reaction to receiving the initial email from Martin Hughes, Affirm's CEO, a day after submitting my sample chapters,” Kyra says. “I was on the floor screaming hysterically. My children ran into the room to see what was wrong with me and all I could do was point at the screen and ask, ‘Is it true? Is it really happening?' It was as if I had hacked into my own email system and written myself the email of my dreams.”

Flexible learning leads to success

Kyra had built a successful ten-year career in marketing and was also raising her children. When the family moved to Melbourne for her husband’s work, Kyra took the opportunity to return to university and study English. She also began taking creative writing courses to continue learning her craft, including Reinvent Yourself and 2 Hours to Scrivener Power at the Australian Writers' Centre.

“The fact that many of the courses were self-paced online modules allowed me to work through them at my own pace,” Kyra says. “The courses I chose were timely, targeted and practical, and assisted me in progressing from being an aspiring writer to a published author.”

Kyra particularly loved the practicality of 2 Hours to Scrivener Power.

“Learning to use Scrivener was an excellent way to organise the HUGE quantity of research, ideas, planning and actual writing which went into The Story Thief.”

The inspiration behind the story

Kyra’s debut novel The Story Thief was inspired by Henry Lawson’s short story The Drover’s Wife.

“As a woman, it bothered me that Lawson chose to leave the heroine and her daughters unnamed, whilst naming the two boys and even the family dog. Unlike other writers, my attention went not to the drover's wife herself but to one of her unnamed daughters, a baby girl nestled on her mother's hip, whom I later called Lillian, and I began to imagine her life and that of the women to follow in her family.”

In The Story Thief, Lillian reads Lawson’s short story as a teenager, and is convinced that it is based upon her own family. She becomes determined to prove it, but as the years pass the truth becomes more problematic, and Lillian must decide what is more important: holding onto the past or embracing the future.

“I hope that readers will enjoy The Story Thief and may even feel inspired by Lillian, who starts off being an unnamed and frankly overlooked character in someone else's story and ultimately triumphs – finding her voice and writing her own story,” Kyra says.

Kyra dedicated several years to writing her novel, working on it a few days a week, and immersing herself in research. When she had a completed manuscript, she began pitching to agents and received some encouraging feedback. Then she had an epiphany.

“After writing the novel in third person for all those years, I suddenly tried switching to a first person POV. I couldn't believe it myself, it was so much better! Finally I felt ready to submit my sample chapters to my preferred publisher – Affirm Press.”

Kyra was keen to work with Affirm, as they had published The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams and she felt that her book had some similarities.

“I emailed Martin Hughes, Affirm's CEO. The next day I received his reply and I knew that I would finally achieve my dream of being published.”

After years of hoping, dreaming and hard work, Kyra now feels ‘affirmed’ in her new status as a published author.

“I found the various Australian Writers Centre courses to be the most practical and effective courses on offer,” Kyra says. “Sometimes in this industry there is a tendency to focus on the need to keep learning, keep practising your craft and keep working on your draft … but without ever taking the next brave step of actually putting yourself and your manuscript out there and trying to get a publishing contract. AWC courses are for aspiring writers who are ready to be published authors and just need help in getting from A to B.”

Courses completed at AWC:

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