INtroducing... Roy Austin and Anthony Ackerley
By Diego X. Jesus and Mark London
Every issue, IN presents INside Authors, a look at authors from around the world who have significantly caught our attention and deserve a little space and recognition. The following two authors are this month's choices, based on the heat arising from their corners. Our hope is to provide a glimpse, a snapshot, an overview of some of the finest writers of our time making waves both tidal and ripple.
Roy Austin, Author
Background INfo: I’m an Englishman, born in 1937. Lived here all my life. Travelled Europe. Various work in public sector-water authority, etc. I turned to writing as a form of expression after years of reflection on the significance of my life. In subsequent years, several inward, spiritual experiences, I found, were the most vivid and indelible experiences of all. Thus I turned to poetry. I studied the work of 20th century sage/seer/philosophers, such as Ramana Maharshi, Alan Watts, J.D. Krishnamurti, Ken Wilber and others, only to see the whole non-duality movement of the east as highly relevant to the world, both east and west, and certainly to my writing. The great master T.S. Eliot was certainly versed in eastern sage paradigms and teachings — one has only to read his Four Quartets. There are the great eastern poets that speak with the non-dual voice but seldom in western English prosody, and few western poets use a dualistic language to express the non-dual vision. The more I felt compelled to try in verse, that takes it's rise from the common place, to point to something beyond itself. At my age, I enjoy nature and the causal spirit implicit within it, and also my dear wife Sarah and our little dog.
INfluences: The foremost writer who influenced me was definitively Alan Watts, sage/seer/philosopher. His book The Book On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are was a real correction of my vision. I recommend the above book to all young minds and to older minds that may not have read it. Krishnamurti showed me that there was an importance to the art of “seeing rightly’ for it underpinned true intelligence and not what passes for IQ in our time. Then there is the great contemporary figure of Colorado, Ken Wilber, truly this man is a phenomenon in himself — and his embrace of the sages and his account of the spheres of consciousness; his holarchy in evolutive terms from the lowest to the highest with its natural law of “transcend and include.” My sweet wife, an artist in temperament and effort, has always supported my endeavours.
Advice: If I was asked for advice I might say regarding poetry, listen to people such as Seamus Heaney on seeing into things. Be accurate in describing. What is your vision — does altered state of consciousness play its part in your awareness. Read the greats — Robert Frost and so on — it rubs off over the years. Never quite enough though! Be rooted in earth and always let the verb do the work! Flow like John Betjeman. So much today has the “gait of a shuffling nag” with no music in it, as Blake would say. I agree that modern poetry should sound something like speech but without the other elements of ear and even eye, it leaves me often disappointed and not only with other people's work! I think of dear Betjeman's "Its not their fault they do not know the bird-song from the radio." In the end I suppose it is my opinion, which is by no means infallible. George Bernard Shaw admitted he could not write a line of poetry. I am not one who thinks, “If you are not a poet nothing will make you one.” I really do believe that if you work at it you can surprise even yourself!
Internet presence: In today's world, internet presence is a great help. My own pages at http://www.zalivanda.com/id3.html I use to provide information about my work, so that potential readers may get a taste. They may also read the forward and blurb to one of my books. The site will also take the visitor to the point of purchasing through several outlets, to my publisher in particular which can be a demographic advantage for some. Amazon U.K., U.S. and EU, Barnes & Noble and even Tesco. I understand Amazon U.K. seems to have a reduction for some reason. Sites such as The Freelance Writing Organization International and IN provide great resources for writers. We have a whole world to access, which most decidedly was not the case in the past. It's potential is in theory enormously good, but alas, there is a lot to be avoided.
The Future: My life, to some extent, is now determined by that old inevitability called age. But I, more often than not can feel another poem coming on. Some thing in nature might be analogous to a metaphysical understanding. Usually it’s something quite simple. In my case its largely a question of, "If the bus comes jump on it." The moment has become a bit of a cliché but it has all the potential that one needs. Or to put it another way-everything comes from nothing-no-thing existentially speaking.
Mystic Seed: Echoes Of The Sages, ISBN 141201882 (paper) Towards Atman: Amazon, ISBN 1846851955 (cloth)
Anthony Ackerley, Author
BackgroundINfo: I'm 24 years old, and I currently live in Liberty, New York, where I was born and raised. I just moved back after having spent the last six years of my life in eastern Washington. I became a professional writer at the age of 18 when I had two children's stories published in an online magazine. I also spent a year writing a trivia column for a newspaper, which was considered for national syndication. My career as a writer has been a love-hate relationship at times, where I absolutely despised what I was doing, and was incredibly frustrated at lack of progress, but ultimately the desire to write was too strong and too deeply embedded in my make-up to just throw in the towel and do it as a hobby. I'm really only recently discovering just how important it is to me that I pursue a career as a writer. I don't think I could do anything else and be truly happy with it.
INfluences: As far as authors go, I would have to say my favorite is Nora Roberts. When one of the first reviews of the novel I just finished said I wrote in a similar style, I wasn't surprised (extremely flattered, but not surprised) because I read more of her work than anyone else. Other favorite authors include Catherine Coulter, Terry Goodkind, and Stephen King. Stephen Kings book On Writing has helped me immensely on more than one occasion when I was stuck and just looking for a way to distract my mind while still keeping that writing vibe. Personally, I'd have to say there were three people (outside of family who are always a big influence) who were the biggest parts of my writing. Laura Josselyn; when just starting out it was her I turned to most for technical assistance and critique. Nancy Edwards, whose love and support allowed me to move forward even when all I wanted to do, was give in. And Miranda Carroll, who I have always been able to turn to for help both in the technical realm, and the emotional realm, which is more of an asset than I could ever say. The same goes for pretty much anyone who has ever influenced or encouraged me. I have been blessed with a large network of family and friends.
Advice: My biggest piece of advice for anyone trying to make a career out of writing would be to really make sure it's what they want, because its extremely hard to do. When everything is clicking for a writer, the high is like nothing else on Earth. But on the flip side, when nothing is working, it doesn't get much lower in life. You have to be able to handle the lows, because when you're first starting, the lows are going to be a lot more frequent and a lot more discouraging. I came perilously close to giving up many times, but because I know it's what I want, I was able to make it through.
Internet Presence: As of now, my only Internet presence is my books for sale page at LuLu.com, but I do intend to launch a website devoted to the book and myself in the near future. I think the Internet is a must- have marketing tool for almost any writer because it just opens up so many opportunities and connections that you wouldn't receive otherwise.
The Future: Right now I have a children's book in the works (working title is Green Mouse & Jelly) as well as the sequel to my currently published adult romance/erotica novel Dream Of Reality. I enjoy the challenge of writing in two genres that are on opposite ends of the spectrum, and think I am suited to do both. I also plan on attending college in the fall to further my education in the creative writing field.
Bibliography (all dates 2001)
Princess Becca And Her Royal Vegetables, Wee Ones Magazine Walter & Hugo, Wee Ones Magazine Anthony Knows, weekly trivia column in The Daily Record, Ellensburg, Washington, USA Dream of Reality, ISBN 978-1-4116-9420-0
Diego X. Jesus is a Dominican-born American freelance journalist and associate editor of IN who makes Toronto his home approximately half the time. Otherwise, we don't know where he might be. EmailDiego X
Mark London is a Toronto based freelance writer and associate editor of IN who has been with the FWO-Int'l from the early years volunteering much of his time in assisting young writers' careers. EmailMark London