I wonder if Stephenie Myere’s loved Forks, as much as Mickey Martin loves Glenormiston South?
One of the greatest things about being able to write and create stories is to share what we love ,most in this world with others. I get goosebumps every time I have the opportunity to write about topics that I’m passionate about, whether it’s an important issue regarding mental health, or weaving fun facts throughout a story about life as we know it, depending on our experiences at the time. Another absolute joy in writing is keeping the memory of a loved one who has passed away, alive within the pages of a novel. Also, to have the ability to enlighten the reader and give them another perspective to think about, is such a privilege and one that I do not take for granted.
I have always wanted to write a story set in my childhood hometown of Glenormiston South. The poetic beauty of the area simply had to be shared and to me, Glenormiston and surrounding areas of Noorat, Camperdown, and Terang, are some of the most beautiful spots in Australia. I cannot help but compare Glenormiston’s damp greenness to the likes of Ireland, during its colder months. And after having had the pleasure of spending time in Ireland with my twin, I can say without a doubt, Glenormiston holds as much magic for me as the green Isle itself. Also, once my beloved Mama passed away a few years ago, it was another way for me to honour her, for the safe haven she provided my twin and I, after experiencing a traumatic event. Glenormiston South was a fresh start. A place of hope.
Growing up on Blacks road with only nine other houses around, created a ‘Breakfast-Club’ like vibe for my twin and I, with the neighbourhood kids and city cousins when they came to visit. With technology being totally unlike what it is today, our entertainment was created with imagination and often, pure ingenuity.
Although the back gate of the Glenormiston agriculture and horticultural college was practically in our front yard, growing up there, the college was like our backyard, and over the years that feeling has never faded. When the college functioned at full capacity it was a sight to behold, with the grounds around the campus buildings and homestead a spectacular vision with flourishing gardens and manicured lawns. The history is gorgeous, and I’ve popped a more detailed account below for those who are interested.
Snippets of my childhood came back to me as I wrote Soul Keepers of Glenormiston South. This book truly is a celebration of my love for the area and the people I grew up with and I hope those sentiments shine through the pages. Memories of playing tennis at the college courts with our neighbour, Shawn McGoldrick, who had the heart and patience of a saint. Bless his Soul. Spending time with the Duncomb and Lish clan at the pool on those ridiculously hot Aussie summer days. The bus trip every morning and afternoon into Terang college, made bearable by Mr Kidd with his cheerful smile and kind banter. Easily everyone’s favourite bus driver, he sure was mine.
I know every country town has people and elements that make it unique to each individual – for me Glenormiston, Noorat and Terang hold an incredibly special place in my heart, not just because I grew up there, but because it truly is a stunning part of the world that calls to my soul.
Noorat, with Mount Noorat and its stunning views and walking tracks – It is also the birthplace of Alan Marshall, who wrote, I can jump Puddles. Noorat also hosts the much-anticipated yearly Noorat show, and then there is the iconic Blacks gates leading towards the Blacks Mansion, and the gorgeous Dalvui federation home and gardens, to name a few. Terang is where I went to high school and it holds all the good, and disastrous-character-building moments with it! All in all, it is simply a delicious location, brimming with juicy country goodness, with the Elms and Oaks that line the main streets and wrap around the countryside, it can could easily inspire a story from any writer, poet, or artist. It certainly did for me and Alan Marshall!
What is super cool too, I recently discovered that an award-winning artist, Jess Fowler, practically lives on the doorstep of my childhood home. After exploring her exquisite art works, I knew I had to connect with Jess and chat to her about the possibility of her doing the artwork for the cover of Soul Keepers of Glenormiston South. I won’t lie, I did shed excited tears and jumped up and down like a lunatic when she agreed to working on this project with me. So thrilled to be meeting Jess in three weeks’ time to discuss our ideas. (Please behave, Mr-COVID-19!)
The feeling I get when I go home now, to be embraced by my childhood friends, despite Mum no longer being there, is like going home to family. I wanted to share the community vibe and beauty of Glenormiston and district with the world, and my appreciation for what makes growing up in a rural area simply fabulous. I absolutely love where I live in the seaside town of Frankston, with my three gorgeous men, an hour out of Melbourne. But Glenormiston will always be home to me and I cannot wait to share the beauty of it with those of my friends who can join me make at the book launch later this year. It will be one hell of a party!
Love to all you beautiful Souls… take care out there. Mickey. XX)
THE MEETING HAPPENED…!!!
First collaboration meeting in the flesh! -Author Mickey Martin meets Jess Fowler Art!
My upcoming novel, Soul Keepers of Glenormiston South, is a paranormal romance with spirited heroes and heroines fighting the good fight against evil to protect mother earth and her innocent creatures. Woven throughout the pages are ecological messages that showcase the environmental impact that evil has inflicted upon the planet. I have set this novel in my childhood hometown of Glenormiston South, to showcase the pure beauty of the Western District of Victoria, as part of my ‘Victoria’ series of books that I am embarking on, sharing my favourite towns in my home state of Australia. Inglewood and Frankston aren’t too far behind!
All my paper babies, hold an incredibly special place in my heart, but Soul Keepers truly does hold the magic, and I knew that the cover had to be something spectacular. A collaboration of two like-minded souls coming together to create something truly special to share with the world is as good as it gets, as far as I’m concerned. Just as David Bowie and Mick Jagger got people dancing in the streets, I hoped I could find someone unique to dance with, who loved Glenormiston just as dearly as I, and turn their passion into more than just a book cover. Discovering award winning local artist, Jess Fowler, via a Facebook tag was like finding a bouquet of gold roses!
Her raw talent of capturing the life and personality of her subjects, like our native animals, amongst many others, caught my attention and got my creative juices flowing, and I knew I needed to have Jess on board with this project. After reaching out and chatting to Jess about working together, and then sending her the manuscript to read, I was totally thrilled when she agreed to come on board, and we set a date to meet and discuss the ins and outs of a collaboration such as ours.
Finally, after two months chatting online we met face to face (pic below) and what a moment it was. We connected immediately, and our conversations and laughter flowed as if we had known each other for years, not a mere two months. Going through Jess’s sketches, discussing the cover, to then finally reach a decision was utterly brilliant. Seriously too much fun!
Here are some finer points to the history of Glenormiston for the History Lovers;😊
Glenormiston was once part of a larger run of over 17,000 hectares established in 1839 and acquired the following year by Niel Black and partners. Glenormiston prospered and the homestead, with its magnificent gardens, was one of the finest in the district. In 1949 the State Government purchased the property, (reduced through subdivision in the late 1880’s) for the purpose of agricultural research and education, and in the late 1960’s it became the Glenormiston Agricultural College.
The extant homestead, Dating to 1908, is a substantial two storey Arts and Crafts style building designed by architects Sydney Smith and Ogg, and incorporates parts of a mid-19th century single storey house. Internally, the entrance hall is a fine example of interior design from the period and features a carved timber staircase by the renowned woodcarver Robert Prenzel with 35 panels representing Australian flora and fauna. Exotic plantings from the late 19th and early 20th century, including a striking avenue of English Elms, provide a complementary setting for the homestead.
In addition to the homestead, there are more than 60 buildings/structures including an 1870s overseer’s cottage designed by Alexander Hamilton, a 19th century basalt stable and an accommodation building, an early 20th century factory building for Trufood powdered milk, various 20th century farm buildings and a group of 1970s college buildings designed by PWD architect Des Bloink.
Why are you so passionate about the written word? Because it is such a beautiful gift, to be able to create another world for the reader to embrace, enjoy and be a part of that world, for the time that they spend reading that particular story, and to escape their reality for a while. The written word can change lives.
Aside from writing, do you have any other creative interests? Oh absolutely! I adore photography, gardening, making my own loose leaf tea, painting, trying my hand at poetry, decorating, and am excited to get into glass blowing later this year, along with learning the violin.
Soul Keepers of Glenormiston South is your fifth novel, can you share with us the journey of it coming to be? I love Soul Keepers journey, and it completely took over me. A scene, which is in the middle of the book, was first written in Ireland, at Crom Castle at the Serenity Press Writers retreat, in 2019. Then, that paragraph sat quietly whilst I finished another project, The Guardian, and once that was complete, I sat, and within thirty nine days, Soul Keepers of Glenormiston South was complete. 107k words. My concern for Mother Earth’s stability, spills throughout the pages of this book, in a gentle way, weaved through a paranormal romance, with ecological and environmental aspects. It has messages of how we, the human race, need to act now, to restore and reverse the damage done to the planets biodiversity, before it is to late. I am very excited about this project.
What are you writing now? Currently I am writing a piece for an MMH PRESS Anthology, The Colours of Me. This is a stunning book that will be filled with stories from courageous women who have lived colourful and eventful lives, filled with many trials and tribulations, yet all have had the strength and resilience to overcome those obstacles that they have had to face.
What does the future hold for Mickey Martin/Michelle Weitering author? Quite a lot I’m excited to say. For Mickey Martin – I am 15 k words into a the second story that flows after Soul Keepers, as many of my Beta Readers fell in love with one of the secondary character, and believe he deserves a book of his own. Title possibly… Obsidian Souls. I’ve also been focused on writing a haunting paranormal romance, set in one of my favourite gold-mining towns, Inglewood – titled A Chilling Summer in Inglewood, which will be book number two in the Victoria Collection. Book number three will be set in my hometown of Frankston titled – Sweet Water Creek. I am also over the moon, to be collaborating with the fabulous P.L Harris, a little bit down the track and we will be co-writing a dark, paranormal romance together. Look out for that!
For Michelle Weitering, I am ecstatic to say, I will be co-writing an important book with my twin sister, Leah Martin. This book will be a tough one to write, no doubt as it touches on some pretty serious topics of domestic violence, child abuse, and psychological abuse to name a few, but, with my sister, it will also be an absolute ride of laughter. I am extremely looking forward to sharing this story with the world. We have made a start and we were so thrilled that the amazing Kelly Van Nelson, has agreed to write a poem for the book. Kelly is extremely passionate about raising awareness about domestic violence and other social important topics, and to have her join our us, is an absolute honour.
Can you share with us a fun fact? I don’t know how much of a fun fact this is, but, I do steal teaspoons from people whom I respect a great deal. In saying that, I only have taken five in the past fifteen years😊
What other work have you published? Under Mickey Martin author, I have published The Given trilogy. The Given, Dark Angel and The Guardian. A dark, psychological romance that is filled with romance, action and dark deeds. Love it!
Under Michelle Weitering, I have written a story around our families experiences with anxiety and depression, titled Thirteen and Underwater.
Have you got a favourite book of all time? I have many favourite books of all time. Can I list more than one? For a brilliant tear jerker, The Ripples, by Danielle Aitken. For a good laugh, Lick, by Kylie Scott. For empowerment in self-belief and trusting your gut, The Power of Knowing, by K.P Weaver. For a fright fix, The Haunting of sunshine girl, by Paige McKenzie. For a juicy detective romance, In His Protection, by P.L Harris. I could easily go on… there are so many delicious reads for the soul out there.
Have you got a favourite band/song? Favourite band…A-HA. Favourite song, Land Down Under, by Men at Work and Great Southern Land, by Ice House. Yes, I am totally proud and in love with Australia!
What advice do you have for aspiring authors? Write what calls to you. Don’t be afraid to do you, and enjoy every minute of the journey. XX)