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Meet Sandi Bowie, writer

Sandi Bowie is a Writing the Dream contributor. She is a passionate advocator for Cystic Fibrosis and Organ Donation, with an eclectic taste for fashion which combines a clashing blend of primary colours and pop culture. Sandi lives in Western Australia with her husband, a disgracefully behaved blue heeler called Pepsi, and a ‘To Be Read’ pile of books so high that they frequently threaten to cause a book-a-launch. Check out her website here.

What are you working on now? Describe it in 15-20 words or less.

I’m currently working on a short story about a stalker who uses both Facebook and time travel.

Where did your desire to write come from?

I have a memory of standing on the back verandah the day before I was due to start kindy. Not long after that, a voice popped into my head and gave this memory a narration. That voice has been with me ever since, providing a written commentary on my memories. For a long time, my best writing was always autobiographical, prompted by my inner voice.

What do you think about the phrase ‘write what you know’?

I think ‘write what you know’ is bandied about a lot and at the same time it’s one of the most misunderstood pieces of advice. Life experiences are always going to influence your writing.

What’s the hardest thing about writing?

For me, the first draft is always the hardest and contains the most awkward writing. The first draft is something I plod through laboriously, muttering ‘castle later’ – which is how I refer to Shannon Hale’s quote on first drafts.

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shovelling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”

There has been the odd (and joyous!) occasion where a first draft has flowed continuously until the piece is done, however for me, such occasions are rare.

What would you like your Facebook Page status to say in 2018?

Why is it that the only sex scene in the whole audio-book always plays when I’m at a drive-through window?

What inspires you in life?

There is a certain magic that happens when a child first becomes a reader. When a child who can read, but doesn’t, finds a book that excites them. That moment, as a children’s librarian, is a highlight I look forward to every day. To be the writer of the words that cause that magic to happen – that’s my inspiration.

What is your favourite quote?

Robert McCloskey has coined in a nutshell the “word salad” that happens when I think out loud …

“I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

What is the best book-to-movie you’ve ever seen, and why? And the worst?

Hands down the best book-to-movie I’ve seen is Fight Club. I found the storyline was so visual that the movie adds a depth to the story that the book doesn’t have – and that’s a rare thing.

I have many contenders for the worst book-to-movie adaption, so while Eragon may not be the absolute worst adaption I have seen, it is the one that I had the most powerful reaction to. I left the theatre feeling both a mix of sadness for Chris Paolini and anger on his behalf that they had decimated his story.

There’s a Hollywood mindset that bestselling book-to-movie adaptations are low risk, in that there is already a core audience or fanbase guaranteed to see the movie, as opposed to a new screenplay which has to be marketed from scratch. Although I understand that storylines need to be condensed in these adaptations, I struggle to comprehend why, having brought those rights in order to secure the fanbase, producers change the core of the story to the point where sometimes the only resemblance is the names of the characters.

What’s the last thing that made you laugh?

Pepsi Parsons, my disgraceful blue heeler, always makes me laugh. She spotted a cockroach and had a stand-off with it. Initially she gave it an inspection sniff before retreating to a safe distance. As the roach started to scurry away she pounced forward trapping it with her paw. The roach waited her out then scuttled once it was released. Pepsi followed it, circling around, her eyes wary. In her final act of desperation she stood alongside the roach then jumped up and with all her considerable weightiness, body slammed the roach. After a moment, she stood up, convinced that this time she had slain her prey. As the cockroach finally skittered out of her reach, Pepsi stood with her eyes wide as if she couldn’t believe how indestructible this little insignificant creature was.

It’s one of those truth is stranger-than-fiction stories that no one would believe if I incorporated it into one of my stories about Pepsi.

In a letter to your 16-year-old self, what advice would you give?

Note to Self,

You have more time than you realise, but it’s far more precious then you know. There are times you are going to have to make decisions and sometimes you’ll make the wrong choice.

I don’t have advice about making different choices, or fixing mistakes – all you need to know is that when the time comes for reflection, when you reach end stage respiratory failure and it looks like Cystic Fibrosis is going to win the war, you won’t regret the choices you’ve made.

Instead you’ll mourn the lost and missed opportunities.

Don’t wait until you are gifted a second chance to be who you were meant to be.

Love your future Self.

P.S. It’s the eighties – there will never be a better time to sport a hot pink hairdo.

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