Interview with Author Dane McCormack – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Author Dane McCormack

Dane McCormack was born and raised in Tasmania. He escaped to the mainland to pursue his career and has worked on the factory floor gaining a trade certificate in Precision Manufacture, also in the boardrooms of multinational firms developing Business Strategies. His love of writing was reawakened as he explored how he survived and thrived through a recent cancer journey, where he spent 12 months in hospital and was given 24 hours to live several times. Writing about what he was going through and how he was reacting to it, helped him deal with it so much easier. After losing his long term memories due to an acquired brain injury, he set out on a mighty quest to find them and wrote his autobiography. It emphasised just how important history is, because it made him who he was, which helped him survive and thrive. You can read all about it on his Author Page.

But he does warn you that it’s a long read, because it’s a celebration of everything important in his life and he has a lot to celebrate. Dane’s writing take him on the most amazing journeys of discovery and recovery.

Tell me more about your latest book

Written by Dane McCormack, a direct descendant of James Magee, Exiled to Exalted is an illuminating historical nonfiction exploration of Australia’s convict heritage, that follows a 14 year old James Magee, from committing petty crimes on the treacherous streets of Toxteth Park in Liverpool. To being exiled as a convict halfway around the world for stealing a shawl, gown, sugar and brass pan. To being exalted for helping establish the Midlands of Van Dieman’s Land as the breadbasket of the new colony. James then married the daughter of the free settler he was assigned to and living happily ever after.

Along the way, Dane will also help you better understand what life was like as a convict, and how important convicts were to the new colony and the Australian culture. How did living in England and their subsequent experience shape them and despite their challenges, foster the creation of one of the world’s most democratic and culturally diverse nations? It is all the more remarkable given that they were being transported for opposing British cultural ideals. Convicts were exiled, but we need to exalt them for helping create this wonderful country we now live.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

Brain fatigue from my acquired brain injury was challenging. It’s experienced by most writers, but much worse with a brain injury. It also makes it difficult to find words irregularly. I’d need to take breaks and come back to it.

Continuing to chase up records and clues about James’ heritage was also challenging. Expect disappointment and hope for success in this case. The clues are out there,  just got to find those needles in the haystack.

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

I self-publish through Blurb.

I had a professional Editing Coach who taught me to Edit my book

Blurb have a computer program where I uploaded the Microsoft Word document and added the pictures and the cover page which I designed myself. I then needed to layout the words and pictures, such that it told the story even better. It’s a real artwork to do it well and I enjoyed it.

How important are the elements of character, setting, and atmosphere to a story, and why?

I write history with a personal connection; therefore, I chose characters who I know and settings that are historically significant for me. I do this because those characters and settings helped shape who I became. Understanding what shaped those characters and locations is rewarding because it helps me understand myself better.

How many books have you written so far?

This is my first one.

What’s the best way to market your books?

I’m not sure. I got up an spoke at the Oatlands Heritage and Bullocks Festival as an initial step. This got me introduced to people who have helped me get the word out. Social media is the other avenue.

What is your writing routine? When you write, do you plan or outline ahead

I’m a Pantser. I start writing and figure it out as I go. I often just start getting stuff on paper. I like to get a feel for the story and where it’s leading me. I’ll then go back to write it properly and reorganise. The story will eventually tell itself.

How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?

I don’t know. I’m a long way off that myself, however I have experience transitioning my career so I’m exploring how to weave writing into it. There’s many different avenues. In my work roles I write reports, submissions, training courses, grant applications, presentations, policies and procedures. I’ve explored getting into an internal and/or external Communications role.

Freelance writing is another avenue I’ve been exploring, where you get paid for each article, but it’s difficult understanding and navigating how to find and respond to requests.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Find yourself first through your writing. The first draft, article you write probably won’t be great, but you can go back over it.

Visit Author Dane McCormack book links:-

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