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Judi proud to publish first book at 87



By Sheree Hoddinett Photos by Joseph Faye

For Judi Waller, publishing her first book at the age of 87 has proven to be quite an achievement. The Tales End is a mixture of pieces including poetry and short stories, as well as personal recounts of different events that have taken place in Judi’s life. Although she has dabbled in writing throughout her life, Judi never imagined she would become a published author. Taking that first step has given Judi the encouragement she needed to continue writing, with work already underway on an autobiographical book.

Judi’s many life experiences, including growing up in London during World War II, have certainly shaped her as a person and her memory recall is amazing to say the least. Putting her memories, thoughts and creativity into words all led to The Tales End coming to life.

“I had written a lot of little bits and pieces over the years, everywhere I go, I write things down,” Judi said. “But I’ve never had the courage to do anything with them in terms of getting something published. I did think a lot about whether my writing would be good enough, everyone is their own worst critic.

With a lot of encouragement from others and with the help of Disruptive Publishing, it all happened. I’m pretty chuffed about it all. Plus, it's nice for the people that are around me, like my family, who can read about the things I have been through and also some of the stories I have created.”

The Tales End has certainly been a work in progress, culminating in bits and pieces over a period of about 20 years. The book also has some input from other family members, with Judi’s grandchildren also contributing a few pages here and there. Plus her son is also the brains behind the creative illustrations, matching their respective stories perfectly.

“There’s one story in there I wrote about my grandson Craig who committed suicide,” Judi said. “I needed to put something into words which helped me work through what happened because it was a difficult time.”

Judi was about five-years-old and living in London with her family at the time World War II broke out. For someone who was so young, she can remember quite a lot about what happened and she’s using these memories to create her next book, an autobiography, a keepsake for her children to understand what she went through at the time and to share with others.

“I can remember being terribly, terribly frightened,” Judi says of the war. “I wanted to put something into words because they wouldn’t know what it’s like to be running to get to an air raid shelter. Or the noise of the doodlebugs flying over the top of us and not knowing where it was going to hit. I can remember my father digging out a big dugout in our backyard. I can remember the council coming along and putting sheds all along the street, with long benches for everyone to sit on. It was no better than being in the house but we did what we had to at the time.”

Judi and her family moved out to Australia in 1949, seeking a better and different way of life. She has lived in various towns and cities along the east coast over the years and undertaken many different job paths including one in nursing. There’s not a lot she hasn’t done, so adding published author to her list is another amazing feat for this proud mum, grandmother and great-grandmother. The way she eloquently recounts her past personal experiences, it feels as though Judi was always meant to be a storyteller. But of course, she takes it all in her stride.

“I wouldn’t say I have a passion for writing,” she said. “I think it was more of an interest in putting down my thoughts. Memories can be hard to hang on to. I often go back through my old files before I throw them out and I’ll see letters that I’ve written in the course of business and I think how did I write that? You don’t realise that some of the things you write can actually be quite informative.”

Judi’s book The Tales End is available through Disruptive Publishing. For more information visit www.disruptivepublishing.com.au

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