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D.J. Elton currently lives in Melbourne’s inner west and, when not writing or doing equally exciting things associated with pushing a pen, spends time working in community healthcare, and frequenting meditation retreats.
In an earlier life, she wanted to live in northern India as it’s a regular travel place, but the pull of Melbourne is stronger these days, so she’s here and happy.
Since upping her creative output in the past couple of years, she is favouring short stories and even shorter short stories, (drabbles!) and also writes poetry.
Her genre is fantasy, which is often historical, and then there is also memoir-that-looks-like-fiction. She appreciates the humour in all things, including dallying with her close friends, and animal and plant whispering. Recent works have been included in Black Hare Press anthologies; Angels, Beyond and Unravel, and a novella, ‘The Merlin Girl’ published in 2018.
What book from your childhood do you remember the best. Why?
My mother would always encourage me to read the classics like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Little Woman, as well as Andersen’s Fairy Tales, The Borrowers, Narnia, Alice in Wonderland. In primary school, I would save my lunch money each day and at the end of the week buy a 50p book from the chemist; usually Enid Blyton’s Famous Five or American kids at school camp stories. Alice in Wonderland was the hot all-time favourite.
Does writing energize you, or exhaust you?
It always energises me, and gives me a real high, but if I am forcing the words, that’s another story. So I try and be organized with deadlines, and don’t have a last minute fling, as that’s more like stress than joy for me. I love it when characters come alive by themselves and start running with the story, that’s so interesting. I can’t just set myself up to do 1000 words a day, although it is a very noble intention. Because I do other work as well, my writing ‘comes in colours,’ you could say.
If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?
(Wary convincing tone:) Don’t go near the vanity press. No matter how impressive or well-connected they may seem, leave them well alone. You will not save time. It will not be easier. You will still need to do a lot of work, promoting and the rest. (No names mentioned). Still, I did learn a lot from that earlier mistake!
What does literary success look like to you?
It used to look like the achievement of having a book/novel published. One or more, even. However, I have come to love writing micro-fiction and short stories. At the moment I want to ‘master’ short stories in a speculative genre. This is involving a lot of trial and error, drafting and editing, acceptances and rejections. All of it is a good learning for me. If I get known, well and good. It’s not about the money.
If you didn’t write, what would you do? If writing is not your fulltime job, what do you do?
I have always written from a young age, but now I take it more seriously. It’s not my full-time job, although it could be – if I were retired. However, I am still involved in running classes in meditation, and also have been working in the mental health field for a some decades now, so these two things keep me busy. I think all three areas – how I spend my time – balance me out!
What kind of research do you do?
I love history, particularly medieval and Celtic. I have had a fascination with Henry VIII of England, and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. So they are featured in my Jibbernocky story. I am also interested in robots becoming like humans, and what is possible in that field, so I sometimes research scientific and medical comment. I know something about human psychology too, from my day work, and that also fits into some of my story lines.
What inspires you?
People and their personalities; anyone can have merit, human nature is fascinating, especially in adapting to change, or not. Nature – especially the wild or calm sea, and green places with rugged mountains, (see Highlands). Beautifully descriptive writing; prose or poetry. Children and young people; they mostly have such fresh intellects and worldview.
What’s brewing? What projects are you working on?
As mentioned, more short stories of a speculative nature. I also want to do another “Merlin Girl” story, book II, including her special arts, and the rise of good over evil, in a more focused dystopian to utopian setting. The world as it becomes, post-apocalyptic, that kind of thing.