In 1993, after a career in film and television production with the ABC, I tipped my grown up children out of the nest, rented the house out, joined Youth Hostels, threw on a backpack, and headed off to Europe.
When I returned two years later, I attempted to write a book based on my journey, not a travel book, but something like ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ (although this was years before).
Four years later and I was no closer to publication, although I’d completed the story titled ‘Life Without A Perm’ as part of a Graduate Certificate in Writing at UTS. In 2001 the synopsis, ‘Around the World in Fifty Steps’ was published in Overland. In 2013 a section of the book, ‘The Backpack’ was published in Quadrant.
As part of a Masters in Professional Writing at UTS I wrote ‘Stories From Bondi’. Although half of those self-contained chapters were published in literary journals and I was awarded two Emerging Writers Grants from the Literature Board of the Australia Council, I was unable to find a publisher.
After that came the manuscripts: ‘The Usual Story’, ‘Tales of the Crystal Ballroom’, and, most recently, ‘My Year With Sammy’.
Since returning from Europe in 1995 I’ve continued to write about Australian urban contemporary life. So far 30 of my short fictions have been published in literary journals.
Recently, I created a course titled ‘Writing From Within’ and presented it to students of Creative Writing at City East Community College, Sydney and at Camp Creative in Bellingen.
On 6 December, 2015 my first novel, 'My Year With Sammy' was published by Ginninderra Press. The book is available through Amazon to download or hard copy through http://www.ginninderrapress.com.au/fiction.html. The cover is a painting by my daughter, Erika Sommer.
My essay titled 'Creative Non-Fiction' was published this year on the UTS Alumni webpage. It can be found at: https://www.alumni.uts.edu.au/…/writers-connect-winter-2015
I blog at https://libbysommer.wordpress.com/