They say everyone has a book inside them.
For Cedar Party author Maureen Larter she seems to have an endless supply.
So far she has self-published at least 30 books and has ideas for more than 100 more.
“JK Rowling eat your heart out,” she laughs.
It certainly is an impressive resume for 72-year-old music teacher who only decided to take her writing seriously around 15 years ago.
Her career up until that point was devoted to teaching and music although Maureen has written all her life.
In fact she can remember writing a story when she was just eight in the style of Enid Blyton.
But turning a love of writing into physical books can be a long and involved process.
JK Rowling eat your heart out!
It was certainly something Maureen had to learn from scratch.
At first she tried to get an agent.
“But I couldn’t get an agent because I didn’t have a platform,” said Maureen.
“And I couldn’t get a publisher, because I didn’t have an agent.”
She then looked into publishing through a vanity press but it was an expensive, and not necessarily favourable, option.
Thankfully Maureen chose to plunge head first into the world of self-publishing.
Oh and the internet. She had to learn that first too.
As a keen gardener she started with gardening books but Maureen is also a host for WWOOFer volunteers who travel from all over the world to work on organic, biodynamic and permaculture properties Australia wide.
It was through conversations with her international visitors that Maureen realised there was a lot of ignorance about Australia.
This gave her the idea to write books for children to educate them about the country and its fauna.
Maureen’s early books were all printed at home and bound in Taree.
Now she sells them online using Ingram Spark, an online self-publishing company that prints each book to order at various global sites including Melbourne. They also distribute the books worldwide.
Maureen still gets her books illustrated by local artists with a team of four on hand to bring the stories to life.
Her writing has expanded to include young fiction novels and under the pseudonym Marguerite Wellbourne, she has written two adult novels.
But despite all the work Maureen is open about the fact she doesn’t sell huge volumes of books.
“They’re out there, just not many of them,” she said.
“I’ve just started trying to market myself but I absolutely hate marketing myself!”
It doesn’t seem to matter a great deal.
Maureen isn’t doing it for the money.
“I write because I write and I love it,” she said.
“Of course it’s a real thrill when someone buys the book.”
But there are other benefits too.
“It keeps my mind active and up to date with computers.”
Maureen also loves the challenge. So much so that she now helps other budding authors through her side hustle Sweet Field Publishing.
Maureen is keen to keep this small though.
She needs plenty of time to work on her own books and tick off her list of titles still to write.
Maureen Larter’s books, including the alphabet animals of Australia series, can be purchased online wherever books are sold including Amazon and Book Depository.
I write because I write and I love it