My journey as a writer began in my very young days. In those early years, when I was in boarding school, I spent my short vacations with my aunt. There, my cousin and I spent most of our time together telling stories.
While my cousin had an inexhaustible ability for story telling with narratives, such as Mid-Summer Night’s Dream and The Hunchback of Notre Dame and various other tales, I found my stock of stories running out. Although intentions were innocent, I realised then that a kind of competition for story telling was building between us. That was the time when I started to create stories and characters. I felt my imagination rebelling within me with ideas.
At the same time, I loved to play with words. In school, the subject I enjoyed most was English literature. In year eleven my text books were classics such as Julius Caesar and Thomas Hardy’s Trumpet Major. With Julius Caesar, the students had to repeat passages of the text to the class by rote.
My interest in writing grew with my love for literature. I began to see and appreciate the different styles of writing, for instance, essay writing, creative writing, report writing and the various nuances they conveyed.
Meanwhile, my Dad, who was a lawyer and a judge, often discussed various concepts of law, perhaps with a view to attract me to a legal career. But I was more interested in the books he shared with me, by authors such as Alexander Dumas, Dickens and Jane Austin.
As time went on my love for writing only increased. I wrote stories for competitions and won prizes. I advanced my skills with courses on creative writing and journalism.
But I realised that creative writing alone, like most artistic endeavours, does not bring much financial profit to creators. This was the idea that jolted my mind to further qualify in journalism.
In Sri Lanka I worked as a feature writer in the national newspapers. I was a staffer in the SUN and Week-End, which were national newspapers. At the same time, I was also a stringer with other national newspapers. After I left the print media I became a Producer of Programs in the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. I wrote scripts for broadcast.
At a certain time, I felt enticed to pursue a film career, and I did so, doing lead roles in many films. But my thirst for writing didn’t stop. I kept writing when I was not in the sets.
Then I went to England and did further studies in journalism. My degree in journalism at the London School of Journalism included creative writing as a major. In England I worked as a senior journalist in the Harrow Observer in Middlesex, London and freelanced with other periodical and newspapers.
After I migrated to Australia I did free-lance work in Melbourne, Queensland and Canberra and worked in the ACT Public Service. But there was a yearning in me to revert back to full-time creative writing.
I left the public service to write, and I haven’t looked back. I wrote Strands of Serendipity – first edition; Strands of Serendipity – second expanded edition, Footprints on Quicksand, and contributed to various anthologies in Australia and overseas.
Research is an important element I employ in my writing whenever I can, as I have done in my recently published novel, ISABEL: I’ll walk with you again.
I find writing to be the most relaxing and therapeutic exercise. I love to create those worlds in which I also create characters and place them in situations. Then I breathe life into those characters I create.
Frances Isaac has been a fiction writer for over 25 years. She has worked as a journalist and freelance writer in Australia and overseas, including in London where she was a senior journalist at the Harrow Observer in Middlesex. Some of her stories have been prize winners and described as ‘literary gems’.