Tell Us Your Backstory with Lisa Ireland
It’s a cliché, I know, but I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. As a child I loved to read and I devoured books faster than my parents could provide them. To make up the shortfall, I started making up stories and producing my own books. This was a pastime that was greatly encouraged by my mother. When I’d start telling Mum a story, she’d tell me to go and write it down. It was only when I was an adult that I finally worked out that was probably her way of getting some peace and quiet.
I grew up in the late 1970s and 1980s in Melbourne’s western suburbs. Kids like me didn’t grow up to be writers. It wasn’t even considered an option, especially for a girl. I was encouraged to take up something more sensible, so after high school I studied Business Law and Journalism. I was terrible at both these things. My journalism lecturer told me I couldn’t write and would never get a job in the field. I dropped out, worked in the bank for a while and then studied teaching. When I started to teach I thought I’d finally found my calling. I shelved the idea of writing and poured all my energy into fostering creativity in my students.
It was years later when I was home on parental leave that I found myself scribbling again. At first my writing was in the form of a journal, but after a while I found myself wanting to write stories again. I finished my very first complete manuscript in 2006 and hopefully sent off the first three chapters to a publisher in England. I was thrilled when I got an almost immediate reply asking for the full manuscript. I was going to be published, I was sure of it! Unfortunately it was not to be. It was another eight years before I got my first contract.
All my stories are complete works of fiction, designed to entertain readers, but they all contain some little part of me in them. For instance my latest release, The Shape of Us, is set in an online weight loss forum, which is a setting very familiar to me. I’ve spent much of my adult life trying to lose weight, and whilst I haven’t been particularly successful at that, I’ve made some fabulous friends along the way. The Shape of Us pays homage to all the friends I’ve met online, although I promise you it’s not based on any of them!
The journey to publication was a long and arduous, but one I’m glad I didn’t give up on. I love what I do now and am very grateful to be finally living my dream, although I have to admit I like writing a lot more when my words for the day are done!
The Shape Of Us
Four different women. The same big problem. One magical solution?
Despite excelling at university, Mezz has ended up the second-choice doctor in a two-doctor town, and won’t be winning Mother of the Year any time soon. Miserably overweight, she knows it’s only a matter of time until her gorgeous husband starts to stray…
Jewels runs a successful business and lives in her dream house. All she needs to make life complete is a baby. She’ll do anything to lose weight and become a mother… just as soon as the Tim Tams are finished.
Ellie’s life looks perfect on Facebook. But unlike the sunny snapshots, her world in Canberra is dull: she left everything behind in London, and the woman she sacrificed her life for is hardly ever home. Her ever-increasing waistline is testimony to just how small Ellie’s life has become.
Kat’s baby is her world. As a Bosnian refugee, she wants nothing more than a stable, happy life for Ami, but Kat’s relationship with Ami’s dad is collapsing. If she could just lose the ‘baby weight’ maybe Josh would look at her the way he used to.
When Mezz, Jewels, Ellie and Kat meet in an online weight-loss forum, a common goal accelerates their friendship. As the kilos start to disappear but their problems don’t, they begin to realise that weight-loss might not be the key to happiness, but that supporting and believing in the ones you love, and yourself, just might be …