My guest on the Books Spark Joy blog this week is Australian Women’s Fiction author Sandie Docker.
Sandie grew up in Coffs Harbour, and first fell in love with reading when her father introduced her to fantasy books as a teenager. Writing about love, loss, family and small country towns, her debut novel, The Kookaburra Creek Café, was released in April 2018, The Cottage At Rosella Cove was released Jan 8th, 2019 and her third novel The Banksia Bay Beach Shack is scheduled for release in March 2020.
Over to Sandie …
Unlike most writers, I didn’t start life with a love of books. I actually hated reading as a child and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to sit and bury their faces in some musty old pages. But one day in my late teens, my dad, a voracious reader, put a copy of Pawn Of Prophecy, a fantasy novel by David Eddings, in my hand and told me to ‘just give it a go’. Reluctantly I did. And my life forever changed. I was transported mind, body and soul into another world, the characters felt so real to me that I thought of them as friends, and to this day, nearly thirty years later, I can picture the opening scene and conjure images from that story in my mind with vivid clarity.
Eventually I moved on from fantasy and found my reading (and now writing) home in women’s fiction. But the same feelings apply – being swept away by a story and its characters is one of life’s great gifts. An escape from reality, a reminder that we’re not alone, a vessel to capture and nurture the full gamut of human emotions.
I mostly read physical books, I love tactile sensation, and I never throw or give my books away. I also keep adding to my TBR pile at a much faster rate than I read. So it isn’t surprising that I have A LOT of books lying around the house. There are six beside my bed right now, two on the little table at the front door, and then there’s my pride and joy…my library!
Two years ago, after finally giving up on my dream of convincing my husband to leave the city and head up or down the coast, I gave him an ultimatum. It went something along the lines of, ‘Well, if you’re going to trap me here in Sydney, I want a new house!’ So we did a knock-down rebuild and the design included a library.
In reality my ‘library’ is just a simple room that I then filled with Ikea bookshelves, but it is my favourite room in the house. It is also where I write, so is often the scene of teary breakdowns and some serious rocking in the corner in the foetal position when a deadline is looming. But despite this, it is the most peaceful space I know. But why?
After all, full of photos and knick-knacks and mementos and books, it is just a room.
But every time I walk in to my library my books are there standing proud on their shelves, welcoming me as only an old friend can. There’s the fantasy section, a gentle reminder of my youth (especially now my dad is no longer with us); the travel section with the books my husband and I used when we were young and travelling the world together; the foreign language dictionaries from my uni days; the wildlife coffee table books from when I thought I was going to be Dian Fossey and save the natural world; my Jane Austens – that moment when I fell in love with women’s fiction; the children’s books I gave to my now teenage daughter who is cultivating a rather nice collection of her own books in her room; the ever increasing number of women’s and historical fiction titles that I love; my own books on display reminding me of how far I’ve come and where I’m heading.
Why is my library my happy place? Because it is a window into my life – past, present and future. My joy, my pain, my very soul.
You can connect with Sandie here:
Facebook – @sandiedockerwriter
Instagram – @sandiedocker