Focus Magazine issue 9

Page 50

focus | WRITING

Want to write a family history?

This story will inspire you to write yours. Interview with Gayel Collinson by Kinsa Hays

The Long Journey from Steam to Cyber – from rst ction novel to Amazon best seller, Gracie Stathers – not her real name – has made it a short journey. After telling a story about her family history to amuse passengers on a long-haul bus tour, Stathers realised that the deeds of her ancestors belonged not just to her family, but were a part of the history of the settlement of the New World. The story belonged in the public domain.

Stathers had a head start – a boxful of anecdotes collected from her family over fty years, written on scraps of paper, serviettes even, turned into booklets for her grandchildren. “Our stories must not be lost,” she says. “They’re the fabric of who we are.” As a sixthgeneration New Zealander, she has a wide repertoire from the four Europe-wide families who bravely crossed, or were forced across, the oceans to the unknown.



Gayel Collinson Pen name: Gracie Stathers

“The Long Journey is neither a history book or ction. It’s a hybrid, a cross-genre. I had the facts, but I had to imagine how the people felt, make assumptions, invent conversations. That’s when a story becomes ction.” While collating her ‘story scraps’, Stathers discovered the gaps between them, highlighting the need for research and verication of the information, gleaned from Google, to tie the scraps together to become a cohesive work.