I grew up in a small country town where the closest Kmart or any sort of big named takeaway was about 30 – 40 minute drive (although I think The Blue Yabby Café was just as good). Public transport? Forget about it; the bus ran from the local post office but only two times a day, either around 8.00 am or 2.00 pm.
What if you miss the bus?
Well bad luck, unless you could beat the bus to the next town, which was a 10-minute drive. After hearing this you may not be surprised to know the school I went to was a Prep to year 12 with less than 100 kids, meaning when I got to Year 12 there was only three other students.
Growing up in this environment led to an extremely active imagination and it also led me to books. Both my parents, my grandma, nana and extended family all loved books and reading. I mainly read romance (you have to remember this was a time of One Direction and Wattpad. I will let you come to your own conclusion) and anything fantasy/supernatural (I have one word, Twighlight ) but I loved reading.
I loved the escape it gave me to live in a world that wasn’t a small country town. I would often sit in front of the fire, back to the heat feeling it slowly warm my whole body, or on my bed under all my blankets, mainly my Taylor Swift one. As I got older, I found less and less time to read and eventually, once I was in Year 12 and working two casual jobs, there just wasn’t enough hours in the day.
Flash forward to the dreaded lockdowns and by this time I had already been a Disability Support Worker for a year. Like most people, I was on Jobkeeper, locked in my house and trying any hobby to occupy me including jigsaw puzzles, relearning piano, embroidery, gaming and, of course, reading.
In the past I had tried to get into reading again but failed. I tried all genres and authors, all different formats, ebooks, physical and audio but nothing sparked the fire that had been dulled from years of misuse. A friend suggested The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and to this day it is a book I would suggest to anyone.
It is a piece that I look up to when attempting to write (when I say attempting, staring at a blank screen counts, right?). This book started a bonfire of passion. I began buying five or more books at a time, reading all day and all night, began buying sticky notes, annotating all my books and now I have three bookcases, a book trolley and a few stacks on the floor.
I decided to change careers and, well, I think we can all guess what the change was to … books. I applied to study Creative Writing, although I planned on still being a Support Worker whilst studying. I applied for a retail job at a bookstore that I saw advertised through a Facebook page, not thinking anything of it, and when I got the phone call, with a lot of apprehension and excitement I said yes. I currently still do some Support Work but my passion is books.
Coming into this field I had no idea what to expect. I had been working in the bookstore for a year and had the amazing opportunity of meeting some lovely authors who have pointed me in the right direction and answered my questions (and trust me I had A LOT). This still did not prepare me for how much effort goes into creating a book, I learnt fast that it takes more than an author to create a book.
This internship has taught me so much about all aspects of creating a book. I have learnt about different programs and have learnt a lot of publishing lingo (like ‘puff’ and yes this is a real word).
This change of career has come with some amazing opportunities, such as this internship but change also always comes with doubts. There’s always doubts whether you are good enough, whether you are editing correctly and following all the rules, or are your designs good enough? They might be, but what if someone did it better? and with the pool of job opportunities in this field not big, doubts can become overwhelming.
But then you see a piece you did for an author on social media and those doubts become muted.
Maggie Kate Turner