I first came across Laurie Salzler when I saw one of her magnificent photo’s posted online. Via the lens, Laurie’s understanding, respect and reverence for nature and animals is evident from the outset, and I remember thinking to myself, this is one cool lady, never once thinking that she would grace our wonderful shores and come to live in Australia, or that I would be honoured enough to call her ‘mate’.
Since coming here, Laurie has been an amazing ambassador for Australia and it’s wildlife, spreading her love and new found knowledge of Australia with the world through her photographs and anecdotal descriptions. For those of us who have grown up Down Under, Laurie has refreshed and reminded us to look again at our wonderful landscape and its unique flora and fauna. Through Laurie’s pictures, I find myself appreciating and falling in love all over again with my country.
Laurie has recently transferred to a new publishing house and is celebrating the re-release of her first three books: A Kiss Before Dawn, Right Out of Nowhere and , Positive Lightning and is warming up for the release of her new book in 2015 In the Stillness of Dawn.
Ten-to-one with Laurie Salzler
What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty and why?
My love of the outdoors and wildlife inspired my desire to be a conservation officer. Unfortunately despite me scoring second highest on the exam, at the time jobs in that field were very limited. So by thirty, I had to reassess. I started training dogs on the side as well as raising puppies for the blind. In between I also took part in another long time love, working with horses. I bred and showed Paint horses for several years until I had another reality check. There was no money in small-scale breeding. I boarded horses for a while and it was during that time I fulfilled a promise I’d made to a college professor…to write a book.
Okay, I need to put up my hand at this point because I am not au fait with horse’s – what is a ‘Paint’ horse?
It’s a breed of horse, which has to be either Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred.
Your love of nature and animals plays a big part in your life, your photography, your studies and your stories. Where did this love come from?
My childhood wasn’t exactly the best. My father couldn’t hold a job because of a medical condition. The woman who gave birth to me, my poor father’s wife, was not a nice person at all. But, because she liked animals, we always had many of them…and they were my life saviours. I spent a lot of time avoiding my family and hiding in the woods with my horse and/or dogs. During that time, I watched, listened, learned and became increasingly curious about everything non-human. I was a hermit in my own mind.
Sounds to me like you were a bit of a diamond, forming from a combination of deep challenging compressed forces over time, to come out like a precious gem, with your love and understanding of animals, nature and life.
No, not a gem… an introvert, definitely.
In the Stillness of Dawn, is a sequel to A Kiss Before Dawn. What’s in store for the two main characters?
Chris and Mary Jo both experience reality checks, personally and professionally. In the sequel we learn how they deal with them. Oh, and Sky gets released from prison.
Damn, you let that bird get out? That’s a big dramatic tease you just threw in there.
One of my beta readers said she just about had a heart attack while reading it. (:-))
How do you go about constructing your stories? Are you a plotter, or a fly-by-the-seat of your (characters) pants writer?
My stories take on a life of their own when I’m writing. It’s like my characters dictate what they want to happen next, which makes me a panster. I can’t foresee creating an outline for a story because I’d just have to fill in blanks and figure out the ending…and I think that process would bore me to tears and then nothing would get written.
With several books published and working for different publishing companies, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
When I first started to write, I did it because I had a story to tell. Not to anyone specific. It was just one that needed to be penned. When I finished, it was then that I considered having it published. To answer your question, my best advice is to find a mentor; someone who is willing to help you through the process, and who is honest enough to tell you whether or not you need to go back to the drawing board.
What’s the best piece of advice you were offered when you first started out writing?
Don’t make publishing your first goal. Write what’s in your heart and learn the craft from there.
Ahhh, simple, powerful words. I love it.
You have recently moved to a new country, Australia, and have a growing photographic portfolio of magnificent Aussie flora and fauna building. Do you think you might set a future story in Australia?
Definitely! I’ve already a couple stories brewing.
Brilliant! Bring on the Aussie flavour. One of the things for me, reading your previous books, has been your detailed descriptions of the landscape and animals all around you. I can’t wait to hear your descriptions and take on the Australian countryside.
I’m looking forwad to penning it. As you can imagine there’ll be some humor in it… there’s bound to be between a Yank and an Aussie.
Moving to a new country, what’s one of the surprising things that you have encountered?
I’m limited to only one? 🙂 I guess the culture here is such that I feel it really easy to fit in. Aside from my “supposed” accent :-), people have embraced me as one of their own. I feel less like a foreigner every day. The other thing that has surprised me is the diversity of the land. I’ve never been in an area where the landscape changes from river, to cane, to pasture, to rainforest, to bush, to homesteads, to ocean fronts, all within a ten mile area. It’s an amazingly beautiful country.
And big! People assume, because Australia is so small on a map, that it is tiny, but I know that as long as I live, I will never get to see all of it. It’s humungous. And the variety is gob stopping for sure.
Rumour has it a coffee table book containing some of your favourite photographs is also in the pipeline for 2015. Can you share some more details on this next adventure?
It’s not a rumour. I’ve had so many people request a book of my photos that I finally decided to do something about it. My friend Sheila Pearsons and I are compiling one that will showcase photos, which are accompanied by some of her amazing writing.
Do you have a time slated for when it will be out.
Not yet. We’re still deciding on photos and prose.
A new year has dawned, a new country to continue to explore, what are three things you’d like to do or experience in 2015?
I definitely want to spend time traveling Australia. I want to experience more of the wildlife, diverse country and learn more about the people who inhabit this wonderful continent. A trip to New Zealand is also in the cards. I have so many so many things to see, photos to take and stories to write!
Sounds to me like you are going to be super busy.
Thanks heaps Laurie for sharing a little bit about yourself, your year ahead and your works-in-progress. 2015 promises to be a year full of excitement for you. Just be sure and save me a day sometime, for when I drive down the hill and kidnap you for a quiet afternoons fishing and maybe a cold beer or two at a local somewhere.
Bloody hell, are we done already? 🙂 You pick a day and I’ll shout you the first beer. Thanks for having me, Mardi. It’s been a lot of fun.
Do yourself a favour folks and be sure to drop by Laurie’s web site and check out her books, her blog and all the heaps of interesting things that Laurie gets up to. https://lauriesalzler1.wordpress.com/