Art imitates life for woman of words

Writer Barbara the author of her own destiny

Book Reviews
WHAT TO DO NOW? After writing nine novels, Barbera Gurney finally found out.

WHAT TO DO NOW? After writing nine novels, Barbera Gurney finally found out.


From office worker to writer of nine novels, Barbara Gurney brims with ideas.


The latest novel by Perth author Barbara Gurney is sure to strike a chord with readers of a certain age.

Belinda, the heroine of Dusty Heart, has raised her children, is financially stable and married to a FIFO worker.

But she is wondering if there is more to life than housework and coffee catch-ups with friends.

An unexpected chance to help out at a shop in a small town for a week gives her new confidence and the realisation that change is a choice.

"Belinda is at a stage many of us get to when we get to a certain point and think, what am I going to do with the rest of my life?" Barbara said.

"You work hard in your 20s, 30s and 40s and if you are lucky you have all you need, and then you wonder what comes next."

Barbara writes the sorts of novels she also likes to read, which often involve a woman facing some sort of challenge.

In some ways, Belinda's story mirrors her own.

After retiring from an office job in 2008 Barbara wondered what to do next.

While she had not really nurtured dreams of being an author, for years she had put out newsletters for a community organisation.

Seeing an ad for the Gosnells Writers Circle, she joined up, and the following year also joined the Writefree Women's Writing Group in Greenmount.

"I knew I had a good imagination and I read a lot so I thought, how hard can writing be?

"Well, I found out it can be very hard.

"The story can flow but the hardest part for me comes with editing and rewriting."

Through the groups Barbara found the support and inspiration to write across several genres, including short fiction for adults and children and free-verse poetry.

It wasn't long before she was winning prizes and having stories accepted.

Dusty Heart is her ninth publication.

Barbara describes her approach to writing as a "panster".

"That is someone who writes more by the seat of their pants than by planning," she said.

"I often quip to my husband that I want to finish what I'm writing to see how it ends.

"The characters become part of my life and I often find myself in the middle of a cup of coffee thinking about them and what they should do."

Dusty Heart (Daisy Lane Publishing) $16.99. Available via Amazon, Book Depository and Booktopia.