Q & A with Irena Hatfield

Why did you decide to write your book?

To share, and record for posterity, a most adventurous and amazing historical experience within the history of Australian Aboriginal Art. That is, a small slice of history.

Who/what inspired you to write?

After re-reading my handwritten journal I decided to dedicate 2012 to transcribing it into a digital format. Also, 2013/14 is the 20 year anniversary of the experience and the timing seemed right. Releasing the book was my way of commemorating establishing the Aboriginal Art Centre on Elcho Island.

What was the most rewarding part of the writing process?

I found reliving the adventure through the writing process most rewarding. Also rewarding was seeing the project reach fruition. That is, publishing the book and knowing people are reading it and enjoying the story.

What are your top tips for writing a book?

Perseverance! Do not procrastinate, make time to write and don’t stop – no matter what. Make writing your story your number one priority.

Which books/authors have inspired you?

All the books written by Tim Winton.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I decided to self-publish to retain control and expedite the process. Publishers may take up to 12 months to respond to a manuscript submission and the competition is fierce. Once I had finished writing, I was eager to see the book published and not patient enough to wait for a publisher to get back to me, therefore I decided to self-publish an inexpensive eBook and a short run of 1000 paperback print copies.

I chose Palmer Higgs because they were amongst a list of recommended publishers provided at a workshop I attended at the Australian Writers Centre and they offered an all-inclusive comprehensive and competitive eBook distribution.

What do you hope your readers get out of your book?

I hope my readers are, first and foremost, entertained by the story. Just as important, I hope my readers gain insight and knowledge about the cross-cultural complexities of procuring Aboriginal art for galleries, from remote and isolated Aboriginal communities.

Would you consider writing another book?


Do you have any other tips for new authors (ie. book launch, research, marketing etc.)

I would strongly recommend new authors attending workshops for self-publishing and self-promotion. Once the writing is finished, the hard work of getting your book into the public arena begins.