Today we have an Australian non-fiction writer Gwendolyn Taunton with us. Lets have a chat with her about her work and life.
Pro Media Mag: Please introduce yourself to the readers. How and when did you first get into writing?
Gwendolyn Taunton: Hello readers! I’m an Australian non-fiction writer on philosophy and religion, but occasionally I also dabble with fiction and poetry. I’m also the sort of person who likes to use exclamation marks at every available opportunity! I started writing at a very young age, and I was also a prolific reader. Sometimes I would read twenty books a week. I suffered from poor health as a child, and in those days the internet did not exist. So I spent most of my time reading, writing, and drawing. I never tried to publish anything then, and I never kept any of the fiction I wrote in my early years. I was first published as a poet in the New Zealand Collection of Poetry and Prose 2002.
Pro Media Mag: What is your favorite part about being an author?
Gwendolyn Taunton: I’m definitely a non-fiction person. I like researching topics and creating new theories. It’s not so much the writing itself which appeals to me, but the process of research. Sometimes I write fiction, but the market is so completely saturated with self-published kindle stories that writing fiction has become a fruitless endeavor for most authors.
Pro Media Mag: You had been residing in New Zealand a few years back. Were you in the same profession or doing something else?
Gwendolyn Taunton: Back then I was working in web and graphic design at the National Centre for Research on Europe. This was conjointly operated by a variety of different governments and universities all around the world. I created a lot of academic websites and design projects in countries like Singapore and Tonga as well as New Zealand. I also ended up working on the database for an embassy and the chargé d’affaires. Obviously, this position was linked to political organizations in Europe, and it provided me with first-hand experiences in the realm of political science. I decided to return to Australia (my native country) due to earthquakes in New Zealand, which smashed up my office at the university. There are only so many falling shards of concrete one can endure at work!
Pro Media Mag: In 2009, you were awarded the Ashton Wylie Award for Literary Excellence for your first book, how was your feeling at that time?
Gwendolyn Taunton: Actually, at the time I felt very sick! The day before I caught the plane to Auckland I was so ill with an infection that I was totally incapacitated. And in order to win the award, one of the conditions was that the author had to be present in person. I was in so much pain that I almost canceled the flight. I knew I had been short-listed as a finalist (along with five others), but I didn’t expect to actually win. There was a psychology professor there that I met, and I actually thought she was going to win the award. Furthermore, because I was ill and didn’t expect to win, I hadn’t written an acceptance speech for the audience, which I sincerely regret as I had to deliver an impromptu speech on stage to a couple of hundred people.
Pro Media Mag: Is there someone you are inspired by?
Gwendolyn Taunton: I have a lot of inspirations – most of whom are other authors. The two most influential would have to be Friedrich Nietzsche and Charles Baudelaire. From one, I inherit my philosophy, from the other I draw my aesthetic. Other than I tend to draw a lot of inspiration from nature, the natural world and the phenomenon which govern it.
Pro Media Mag: You have been a full-time author for the last few years. What’s your best work so far according to you?
Gwendolyn Taunton: Primordial Traditions (second edition) is probably the best because it took the longest to write. My best article (in my opinion) though is ‘Emperor of the Sun’ which combines Vedic tradition with the rise of the Maurya Empire and examines aspects of politics in India from a spiritual perspective. A lot of obscure research went into that piece.
Pro Media Mag: What are you currently working on and when is it expected to be released?
Gwendolyn Taunton: I’m working on Tantric Traditions – I have been revising it now for a couple of years. The reason it’s taking so long to complete is that it contains copious amounts of Sanskrit and also that I keep adding in new ideas from other books which change my opinion on things I had previously written. I am hoping to have it finished in November this year.
Pro Media Mag: Do you have some future goals in mind?
Gwendolyn Taunton: I do indeed. I have a couple of projects I would like to complete. I’d like to do one more fiction piece, a sort of avant-garde horror I have lurking in the back of my mind. And after that, I wish to finally transcribe my philosophy in one complete version, instead of having it scattered across various journal articles. The third project I want to finish is on the ancient history of Australia. This is going to be fairly intensive, however, as I am also looking at a lot of recent archaeological research. The reason I wish to write this is because I believe that there is something of great importance in Australian history which has not been adequately studied as yet. As to what that important topic is, for now, I’ll keep silent about it!
Pro Media Mag: What would be your best piece of advice to upcoming writers?
Gwendolyn Taunton: Just write. Ignore everyone else who says otherwise. Don’t expect to get rich out of it, but treat it as a recreational pursuit. Then perfect your art. Practice makes perfect.
Pro Media Mag: Readers of our magazine would like to follow you. Are you on social media?
Gwendolyn Taunton: Yes, I’m on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GwendolynTaunton1/ Or Visit my Amazon page