(Picture by Eelco)
An Interview with Sharna Walsh.
Sharna Walsh is a vibrant and talented young Brisbane author. At the tender age of sixteen she wrote her first published work, a short story titled – XVIII: Crazy He Calls Me. Born in London, UK and raised in Australia, this 17 y.o. ‘Aussie’ girl is a writer to watch out for. So I caught up with her for a chat. This is what she had to say.
Allan Walsh: Hi Sharna, it’s great to catch up with one of Australia’s upcoming young authors. So tell me, what made you want to be a writer?
Sharna Walsh: Initially, it was fond memories─ I always loved being read fantasy when I was a kid, and the idea that I could create my own little, magical worlds, and live in them, even momentarily, was something that stood out to me. So, really, I started out writing for myself. I didn’t really consider it as a profession until people started telling me I was good and encouraged me to do it. I’d never really had anything ‘recognisable’ that I could do well and it sort of got me thinking, ‘Yeah, sure, I could do this.’
Allan Walsh: There are many great authors, but who are your favourites and where do your influences come from?
Sharna Walsh: An old graphic novel my dad used to read to me is always the first thing that comes to mind when I’m asked this sort of question. It’s called ‘Elf Quest’, written by Richard and Wendy Pini, and it created the fantasy nerd in me. I wanted to hunt with the wolves, swing from the trees, run with the elf-tribe and hunt the evil humans with my wicked bow. It made ‘untouched’ nature seem like the only mystical spots of magic and perfection that still existed in our world, the one connection that we had to the undiscovered and the unexplored, like everything you’d ever dreamt of or imagined could be lurking between the trees, waiting to be discovered.
Allan Walsh: Was your story XVIII: Crazy He Calls Me, the first story you have written or do you have a stack of them hidden away in a box, a drawer or under your bed somewhere?
Sharna Walsh: Well it’s my first completed work, outside of school. I tried to write a novel when I was about 12 and had my cousin edit it for me. I read over it now and I’m like ‘I shall take it! I shall take the notepad to Mordor!’, but thinking about it, it’s the only hand-written piece I have and, at the time, I thought it was going to make me a famous writer. Ah, innocence.
Allan Walsh: When you’re not writing, what is it you like to do most?
Sharna Walsh: Gaming, I love gaming. I think it’s the same kind of thrill; you’re involved in the world and the story, you feel like you’re in danger and it’s the adrenaline and the panic you can get from being as involved in a novel. And really, it’s a similar form of art─ someone has created this world and invested parts of themselves in it to share an experience with someone else. It can be emotional, thrilling and terrifying, just like a novel.
Allan Walsh: With one piece published at such an early age, what are you working on right now and what can we expect to see from you in the future?
Sharna Walsh: Hopefully a lot. I’m currently working on a whole stack of things (a few short stories, some novels, I have a few folders of stuff), but between work, school and having a social life, it is taking me a while to get through everything and to organise all my thoughts into something I can mould into a story. This year’s a big year, QCS exams coming up before I go out into the big, bad world, so I’m trying to focus on my grades more than anything else, though I am a world-class procrastinator.
Allan Walsh: Well Sharna, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, thank you very much for your time. I wish you all the best with your writing in the future.
For any readers interested in picking up Sharna’s story, you can grab a copy in the anthology ‘18’ from Amazon for less than a cup of coffee.