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.
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.