Q & A With Lola Russell

Why did you decide to write your book?

I saw the way the city of Melbourne was being changed by big skyscrapers and a loss of community. I realised how interesting my life had been, and how no one remembered the things I did of the past. So I decided to write it down.

Who/what inspired you to write?

After a lifetime of acting and producing, I was coming to the end of my teaching career. I had more time now to write.

What was the most rewarding part of the writing process?

All those memories, and acknowledging friends and colleagues.

What are your top tips for writing a book?

Do it soon! I dictated it to my husband who typed it on a word processor in 1989. There it sat until some kind friends started the process of publishing it. If George and I hadn’t got it down back then, there is no way we would be having a book now.

Which books/authors have inspired you?

Since my father and grandfather recited poetry and books to me as a child, I have always loved Dickens and Shakespeare. But the ‘absurdist’ school of dramatists intrigued me so I produced the first Samuel Beckett play in Australia and also produced Pinter – but you’ll have to read the book to find out how they were received.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

At my age, waiting for a traditional publishing house to accept or reject my autobiography wasn’t an option. We found an editor who advised me to me to self-publish. She had read Debbie Higg’s book The Self-Publisher’s Marketing Guide and rang Debbie and Paul of Palmer Higgs for advice. They were so helpful and knowledgeable that we decided to give the project to them.

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

A love of Melbourne as I knew it, pride in this wonderful city of the arts and a sense of history. I hope they enjoy reading it as well!

Would you consider writing another book?

As I’m in my nineties, I’m happy to rest on my laurels with this one.

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

Employ a marketing business to do all the promotions and preparations for the book launch. Otherwise be prepared to work really hard doing it yourself.