Western Australian writer and mother-of-four, Samantha House, has stepped into the attic today. She talks about how important reading is to her and what she hopes to give her own readers one day. I hope you’ll enjoy her essay as much as I do—she’s managed to say so much with so few words.
‘As a young reader, this sense of adventure and escapism was the biggest draw for me … I want to give that to someone, to a person who yearns to have an adventure but can’t for whatever reason.’
Samantha House was born in England and spent her childhood and most of her teenage years moving between there and different parts of Australia. Heartily sick of travelling, at the age of 16 she moved to Alice Springs and stayed there for the next 11 years before settling in Western Australia with her family.
Samantha writes fantasy stories, although she has been known to write the odd short romance. With one manuscript in the final editing stages and another one half completed, when she’s not writing you can find Samantha running around with her four children or wrapped up in a cosy blanket and reading.
Alternatively you can catch up with her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
How Reading Made Me A Writer
I’ve always, as far back as I can remember, been a reader. I enjoy reading and think it is one of the greatest pastimes around. I prefer it over TV (except Masterchef, I have an unhealthy obsession with the show) and am one of those people who carries a book with her nearly all the time, just in case there is a chance to read.
When I read, I lose myself completely in the book. I’m certainly one of those people who can read for hours and get that sucked into a great story, I forget where I am. On a practical note, I’m very careful when I read on public transport, having missed my stop a few times in the past.
I like to learn when I read, so it’s not a big surprise that my first attempt at a novel was inspired by an Australian History class in grade nine. At this point in my life, I was living in England for three months and was homesick for Australia, so the history class caught like wildfire in my mind. When I came home I started to write. I was also unhappy with life at this point because my parents, after promising not to move during my high school years, were moving towns for the third time in six months. I discovered that writing gave me the same marvellous sense of escapism as reading, only better because I could decide what happened. So began my wonderful love affair with the written word.
‘As a writer I have one hope for my story: to give readers a sense of escape from everyday life.’
As a writer I have one hope for my story: to give readers a sense of escape from everyday life. This does not mean the readers’ lives are tragic or sad, but you can’t exactly fight dragons or magically create fire in everyday life. With a great story you feel like you can.
As a young reader, this sense of adventure and escapism was the biggest draw for me and is what keeps me coming back as an adult. I want to give that to someone, to a person who yearns to have an adventure but can’t for whatever reason.
Writing also allows me to make sense of the world. When I don’t understand a situation or am surprised by the outcome, I write about it either as a short story, piece of poetry or I incorporate it into my current manuscript. This way, I can study it without driving myself crazy because it’s not happening to me any longer but to my characters and because they are made up, it no longer affects me. That’s not to say my stories are all from my experiences, but there are little pieces of me in there. I think that is true of any writer, or anyone who creates for that matter.
‘That’s not to say my stories are all from my experiences, but there are little pieces of me in there. I think that is true of any writer, or anyone who creates for that matter.’
This is why I find it fascinating to hear how other people create their work, to learn what has prompted the need to make that particular thing which did not exist. It’s a pretty special concept when you think about it: taking something that was in your mind and showing it to the world.
I like to think of it as a kind of magic, and you know what, the world needs a bit of magic and escapism. It is my hope I can be one of the people to provide that.
If you have a story you’d like to tell for Writers in the Attic, consider this an invitation. The topic is anything to do with writing—your writing life, what writing means to you, or what has influenced your writing.
600-1000 words is a good length, and I acknowledge the time and effort involved in writing these pieces by sending a small gift as a thank you.
I enjoy reading every essay I receive, so don’t be frightened to take the plunge! If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact me here.
The world absolutely needs a bit of magic and escapism! Great post Samantha.
Very, very true. There are times when escaping via a book is like a safety net. Thanks, Jodi. 🙂
Thanks Jodi 🙂
A delightful insight into why you write, Samantha. I relate to the need to escape from reality! Thank you for sharing.
I relate to the need to escape, too, in both my reading and my writing. Letting your imagination fly is such a freeing feeling! Thanks, Susan. x
No problem, thank you for reading.
Ah, writers as magicians …. I like that idea. Thank you Samantha!
Yes, I like that idea, too! And I think it’s true—creating stories and characters is a kind of magic!
Glad you like it 😁
Many thanks for this wonderful post, Samantha! I really do admire your attitude to writing and love your working maxim – ” as a writer I have one hope for my story: to give readers a sense of escape from everyday life.”
Thanks for visiting, Marlish. It’s a lovely maxim indeed—has made me realise I need to work out what mine is …
Thank you Marlish 🙂
What a terrific post — thanks so much, Samantha (and Louise!). I, too, love to read as much as I love to write — and I, too, have been known to miss a bus stop or train station because I was so caught up in a story. Wouldn’t it be nice to think that someone might get so caught up in one of your stories that they also lose track of where they are?
I’ve missed my stop because I’ve been caught up reading, too. The highest compliment a reader could pay to an author would be to miss their stop because they were so caught up in the story! I’d love to hear if my story caused someone to do that!
Thanks for reading, Maureen! x
I’m sure someone will miss their stop because they’re reading your story Louise 🙂
It would be absolutely awesome to think that could happen. A new daydream for me, thanks Maureen!
Hello Samantha. Loved to hear about you. I to have always been a reader. The Perth City Library and I are best friends xxx
Libraries are wonderful places. I love our local libraries here—we’re spoilt for choice and have four in close proximity! Although we’re not besties, we have become close! xx
4! I’d never be at home lol
Thanks Rae 🙂 I love libraries, although I haven’t made it to the Perth one yet. I’ve heard it is fantastic.
Terrific post. All writers begin as readers, one way or the other.
Thank you and yep, they absolutely do 🙂
It’s the reading of others’ works that makes us think we might, possibly, maybe, one day be able to do that, too! 🙂
It’s wonderful to see you in Louise’s Attic, Samantha! Great post! Your love of reading really shines through (I’ve been known to miss the odd bus stop due to reading too). I agree that reading allows escape from daily life. Writing does this too – and it’s obviously something you’re very good at. xx
Aww, thanks Marie 😀 I agree with you, writing certainly provides an escape. For example I was just pretending to be a spymaster captured by the enemy. Certainly not a part of my everyday life 😂
If only we could live permanently in the unreal worlds we create! Alas, we have to return to reality …
So true. I immerse myself in audio books which have the same effect, especially when the actual author is narrating.
I love audio books and listen to some of the classics that way on my walks. The only problem I have is it’s harder to go back if you miss a section. But it’s more than made up for by the ease of being able to ‘read’ as you walk or drive, and there’s something about hearing a story that immerses you into it more fully, if that’s possible. I’ve not listened to a book narrated by the author yet, only actors. I can imagine that would be special! Thanks, Pinky! 🙂