Author Interview: Christine Dibley

Thursday, January 12, 2017 Permalink

I’m virtual friends with a lot of aspiring writers, bloggers, freelancers and novelists. And I’m at an age when many people I know are questioning the purpose of their day job and its place in their life and… perhaps feeling the odd snippet of regret.

Indeed, my seachange just over four years ago was an attempt to follow some convoluted passion and have more time for ‘me’ and the things I enjoy. 

So I was intrigued by debut author Christine Dibley, who found success ‘later’ than some and keen to share her story as a reminder that it’s important not to think it’s too late or that we’ve somehow missed our chance to do something we’ve long desired. Christine’s first novel, To The Sea was published by Pan Macmillan in late December and you can check out my review here.

Born in outback New South Wales, author Christine Dibley arrived in Tasmania thirty years ago and has been held there ever since by that strange bond islands weave around their inhabitants. Christine raised four children while developing a career in the human services, primarily working with children, refugees and homeless and aged people. She resigned from her position as a CEO in the health industry four years ago to pursue full-time writing. She continues to travel, most recently in Ireland, Scotland and Iceland.

Christine Dibley

I asked Christine about her decision to leave the (more traditional) workforce to pursue her writing.

“I had been feeling unwell for a while and pushing myself every day to continue at work. But my position didn’t really allow me to just turn up and cruise, and I couldn’t think of a worse way of operating, so I had a reappraisal of everything. And when I asked myself the question ‘what do I really want to be doing?’ the answer was so simple. Write.

“My husband quietly assured me that he was happy to postpone his own desire of being a full-time painter and keep the money coming in, so it was time.”

Unsurprisingly it was a dream Christine had held for some time, but – like most of us – a lack of confidence and the practical commitments of a family and mortgage prevented her from pursuing it earlier. But when she made that leap, it was with firm resolve.

I accepted that if I failed, as was the most likely outcome, I still wanted to try. I have no regrets about my decision.

Because I’ve been pondering crap like the timing of our transformations or realisations, I wondered if Christine had regrets that she didn’t quit the workforce to pursue writing when she was younger.

“Having written my first book and had a major publisher like Pan Macmillan pick it up, of course I have wondered ‘maybe I should have done this years ago.’ But I can never know the answer to that wonder. So many other things have happened in my life that must, in some way, have contributed to my writing and the frame of mind I am now in.”

To The Sea By Christine Dibley

So perhaps things DO really happen when they’re meant to and I loved (and am envious of) Christine’s pragmatism on the subject.

“So maybe I could have written earlier, failed, had a less successful career and lost my love of writing as a result. Maybe I could have written a best-seller in my twenties and gone on to be a literary success. Maybe. Probably not.”

My overwhelming desire to write coalesced with a time in my life where I could comfortably make the decision to fulfil that desire. It was such an easy decision. It never had been easy before so I guess, from that point of view, it was the right time.

Christine’s words remind me of Liz Gilbert’s twist on that well-known adage: “What would you do EVEN IF you fail?”

Christine is currently working on new manuscripts and you can find her on Facebook to hear more about her upcoming book launches and new work. A massive thanks to Christine for her time and Pan Macmillan for coordinating our interview. Links to purchase her book can be found on my review post.

Do you ever ponder major life changes? Have you taken that leap? What would you need to do to follow a long-held dream?

the-lovin-life-linky

I’ve joined Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit and some other bloggers to help promote “ageing positively” and the Lovin’ Life mindset across the interwebs. You can link up via any one of us!

The Lovin’ Life Team includes:
Kathy from 50 Shades of Age
Johanna from Lifestyle Fifty
Min from Write of the Middle.
and Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit.


30 Comments
  • kathymarris
    January 12, 2017

    Christine is truly inspirational and although I’ve never heard of her I will certainly look out for her books. I have just this week resigned from my part-time web writing job (yikes!) because I felt as though I was being pulled in a hundred different directions and need more time to focus on my own writing and blog. Watch this space! I could be begging for a job in a few months time!

    • Debbish
      January 12, 2017

      Oh that’s exciting Kathy I’m sure good things lie before you!

  • HandbagMafia
    January 12, 2017

    Another book to add to my list! And what a fascinating career to have had prior to getting her novel done! Thanks Deb- I’m looking forward to this one!

    • Debbish
      January 12, 2017

      No worries Amy. I hope you enjoy it!

  • Jo
    January 12, 2017

    I love reading stories like this. Thanks for sharing, Deb. I know we’ve talked about this before, but I tend to think the right time is when the time is right – not before.

    It’s also heartwarming to read about those who don’t (ONLY) achieve success early and a reminder it’s never too late! (A theme of mine lately!)

    • Debbish
      January 12, 2017

      Yes, that seems to be the consensus and I really liked Christine’s take on that very issue.

      I found it encouraging to hear from someone who didn’t get published early and it’s a reminder that there’s always time to pursue our passions. (The issue of ‘being too late’ is something I’ve pondered on a lot recently!)

  • sizzlesue15
    January 12, 2017

    Christine has shown that it is never too late to follow a dream. My friend Toni Pike has published two books in the last year and is working on your third. She didn’t start writing until last year in her late 50s and is enjoying her passion. Thanks for some inspiration Deb. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond.

    • Debbish
      January 12, 2017

      You’re very welcome Sue and a huge thanks to Christine (and congrats to your friend Toni!).

  • writeofthemiddle
    January 12, 2017

    I love hearing the stories behind Authors and what lead to them writing a book. I too believe that it is never too late to chase our dreams. I read a story recently that appeared in my Facebook feed of a 100 year old man who graduated with a degree. As he was presented the award he was so thrilled he was crying. It was so touching! Well done to Christine – such commitment and a very well deserved achievement! I am curious now to read your review of her book and learn more about her. Thanks Deb! #TeamLovinLife

  • Alicia-OneMotherHen (@alleychook)
    January 12, 2017

    She’s a perfect example of not writing off your dreams It’s inspirational, and a great reminder that it’s never too late.

    • Debbish
      January 12, 2017

      True… and (I should mention) I’m not implying Christine’s not a youngster, just that she’s not newly graduated from University and penning her first novel at 21 or similar!

  • Amy Andrews
    January 12, 2017

    My decision to retire from nursing was big. I loved my job and if my hosptial hadn’t closed down I’m sure I’d still be doing it. But it did. Which left me with a decision. I’d been in one work place for 21 years. Did I want to move to the new hosptial and start over. It would mean getting to know new people, new ways of doing things and it would be a longer commute (probably on about 10 mins but still longer). I could have done all those things but deep down I didn’t want to. I felt like I was too old and set in my ways to disrupt the balance. I didn’t want to start again. And a part of me thought maybe this was some kind of sign that it was time to stop being 2 things – a full-time writer and part-time nurse – and just concentrate on one thing.
    It was a big decision, I effectively halved my income. But it was the right decision. I’ve not looked back.

    • Debbish
      January 12, 2017

      Oh absolutely Amy. And you seem really happy. Of course you’re also a prolific and successful writer so it was a great decision.

      I’d love to not have to work and work as a freelance writer, but it’s just not an option for me. I liked Christine’s comments to my questions about the timing. I did tell her I’d recently written about the whole issue of fast-tracking a-ha moments and transformation – so she had some context. That issue of ‘changing at a time that’s right for us’ has been a bit of a theme on my blog over the past month or two!

      • Amy Andrews
        January 12, 2017

        Yes, it was only an option for me because I’m earning a decent writing income for which I am very thankful.

        • Debbish
          January 13, 2017

          And there’s a great lesson there Amy!

  • Johanna
    January 12, 2017

    This looks like a wonderful book and one for my reading list 🙂 I loved your interview with Christine as it threw up some of the internal writing issues we face as creatives, rather than a where, what, why, when interview full of facts 🙂

    • Debbish
      January 13, 2017

      Ah yes, I warned Christine beforehand it was themed around my recent posts about transformation, following our passion and ageing positively etc…

      I do actually have some additional info from the interview (on Christine’s thoughts re plot and characters) which I’m hoping to use elsewhere.

  • Lyndall Guinery-Smith
    January 12, 2017

    It’s such an inspiration to see Christine following her passion and pursuing her dreams. It’s never too late in life. Thanks for introducing her, and her book, to us 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

  • robjodiefilogomo
    January 13, 2017

    What a fabulous interview, Debbie!
    My husband keeps thinking he want to write a book, so I think this is a great example how it’s never too late!!
    Thanks for sharing!
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Debbish
      January 13, 2017

      Very true Jodie and I think there’s an interesting lesson re the timing as well – as Christine mentions. (Also Amy – another author – mentions above that she made the leap to full-time writer when the time was right.)

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    January 13, 2017

    I love author interviews. This is great. Great seeing interviews with people pursuing their dreams.
    #TeamLovinLife

  • Sydney Shop Girl
    January 13, 2017

    What an inspiring interview, Debbie.

    I’m always fascinated reading about people who’ve found success and their true path ‘later’ in life. Their self belief and reslience motivates me in my own life.

    Especially love the question of what you’d do even if you failed? It’s empowering and gives you courage to be able to answer that question.

    SSG xxx

    • Debbish
      January 13, 2017

      Ah yes, I love the Liz Gilbert quote – a play on the ‘What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail’ quote. It goes even further!

  • Carol Cameleon
    January 14, 2017

    It’s such a great attitude to have. Literally seizing the day and facing fear head on. Because no matter how confident you are in a decision like that, and no matter how sure you are that the time is right, you’re always going to have a degree of fear. Inspirational reading,thanks. #LovingLifeLinky

    • Debbish
      January 14, 2017

      Oh yes Carol. I listened to something recently (by someone famous like Brene Brown or similar) and they said every decision is right because we make it with the best info we have available at the time. Therefore we should only regret the things we haven’t done.

  • Jan Wild
    January 22, 2017

    As a frequent leaper I strongly recommend it. The net always appears even though one sometimes wonders where it might emerge from or how long one might be suspended in mid air. Now in my 60s I started again with the Retiring not Shy! blog and I am seeing so many of my age group making new roles for themselves in a variety of ways – be it from blogging to airbnb hosting to consulting etc. Exciting times

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