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Centre Stage: Trisha Hughes

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Three-year DB resident and bestselling author Trisha Hughes discusses her novels and explains how an incredible, life-changing event inspired her to put pen to paper.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I started writing about 18 years ago, although even as a teenager I loved writing and, probably more importantly, I loved reading. I began by writing my memoir, Daughters of Nazareth, which tells how at the age of seven I was suddenly placed in an Australian orphanage.

It was a confusing time for me, not knowing why my life had changed or where my parents had gone. I grew up believing I was an only child, but that all changed 20 years ago when I received a phone call from a woman who told me she was my sister. She was four years younger than me and had also been placed in an orphanage, the exact same one I had been in for five years – Nazareth House.

It was such a strange feeling. Although I didn’t remember her, we had shared memories of those years. After investigating further, we uncovered an elder sister and a younger brother, and found out that I’d had a twin who had died at birth. After having believed all my life that I was alone, all of a sudden I had a large family of nieces, nephews, cousins and siblings.

The book was my therapy. It helped me to put things into perspective.

The book outsold a newly released Stephen King novel in its first week – how did that feel?

Absolutely amazing! This story was mine, written from the heart, and to think that Australia loved it so much they had put Stephen King aside for me, it’s something I’ll never forget.

Tell us about your V2V trilogy.

It is based on British Monarchs throughout history. Writing it was like being a time detective, hunting through the records, looking for clues to build a picture of what happened long ago. It’s not possible to write everything about each king, but I have tried to write the juicy snippets about them. Some stories will send your head spinning with the atrocities of the times.

The first in the trilogy is called Vikings to Virgin – The Hazards of being King, and the second is called Virgin to Victoria – The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. The final in the series is due for release next year and will be called Victoria to Vikings – The Circle of Blood.

You’re a mentor in the Around DB and Life on Lantau Young Writers Competition. What do you enjoy most about this role?

I love encouraging children to express themselves through words. So much time these days is spent looking at our mobile phones, I feel it is important for children to use their imagination. I try to help them by asking questions… what, where, when and why. I encourage them to stop and think about what is actually happening around them and then put it into their own words.

What advice would you give to budding writers out there?

Everyone has different likes and dislikes, and it is impossible to please everyone. My best advice is to believe in yourself and never give up.

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