MARY MILLS-MACLAREN (nee Mills) was born in London and was just under 6yrs old at the outbreak of WWII. With her sister Pat, she was evacuated to South Wales and in a few years was able to speak the language as well as her classmates. Taken back to live in London when the war ended, she soon lost her Welsh lilt, and excelled in the English language.
In 1963, she immigrated to Australia and began a correspondence course about creative writing in 1985. Her first published item that paid, was an article about a newly-built Senior Citizens Centre in Toukley, NSW From then on, her work was accepted by several Australian magazines: Woman’s Day, Women's Weekly, New Idea, Take Five, Weightwatcher’s Magazine, Prime Time etc.
She also was a member of several writing groups and is still a strong advocate for the support and encouragement that can be gained from these meetings. One of the topics, Writing Competitions, saw her enter and gain awards frequently.
“Writing Competitions are a discipline that teach the importance of handling deadlines, taking notice of the rules and requirements laid out and improving your work,” Mary says. “I never cease to be amazed at the number of writers who think it will be 'ok' to ignore the stipulated word count. I have judged many competitions over the years, and seen quality short stories and poems set aside for exceeding the word count.”
Since those days, Creative Writing has become part of normal education, and it is most encouraging to see the number of writers that are coming to the fore. Naturally, this has given rise to stronger competitiveness and editors around the world are always on the lookout for an author with that J K Rowling’s 'special edge'.
Nevertheless, an increasing number of people of all ages and backgrounds, have grown from the- 'how do you become a writer?' question to- 'hey! 'm a writer and loving it!”
Mary took on the role of writing teacher in the early 1990's, then founded one of Queensland's largest writing Centres, on the Gold Coast. Still going strongly, with hundreds of members over the last twenty-four years, well-known authors, and experienced tutors are just some of the top-quality lecturers and speakers that attend the Gold Coast Writers Assoc monthly meetings.
In 2009, she returned to live Hampshire, England to be close to her family and spends her time writing or teaching the skill. She also has an online teaching course and delights in guiding new writers along the path to success.
Indie publishing has broadened her experience and she is happy to discuss the topic with new writers.