Local author Jennifer Larmar waited until she was 55 to pursuit her dream of becoming a creative writer. Now as her 60th birthday approaches, Jennifer is looking forward to the Australian release of her books, Silken Images and Fractured Symphony.
Jennifer grew up in a creative family. Her father was an accomplished tenor, and her brother was a classic pianist. “Music has always been part of my life”, Jennifer explained. “Growing up, I was always in choirs and singing songs”.
She also had a passion for books, and Jennifer’s favourite by far was the Russian classic Doctor Zhivago. “I read the book in school, and then during the 70s I saw the movie starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie”.
“Their love story touched me. In fact, when I had my daughter I named her Sasha after one of the main characters. I always knew I wanted to write a love story myself, where the characters overcame obstacles and heartbreak too”.
In fact, Jennifer had the idea to write a novel for years before she took pen to paper. It wasn’t until she saw a musical rendition of Doctor Zhivago that her creative inspiration was sparked, though.
“In 2011, I saw the musical starring Lucy Maunder and Anthony Warlow. Their performance opened a door in my heart. In fact, I ended up seeing that version of Doctor Zhivago four times in three weeks!”
“I remember sitting in the theatre, and right from the beginning the music grabbed my heart. It was an incredible story brought to life by soaring music and haunting lyrics”, she said.
For Jennifer, this was the inspiration she needed after years of wanting to become an author. Within eight months, she had written 800 pages of what would eventually become her books, Silken Images and Fractured Symphony.
“At the time, I’d actually been diagnosed with a condition that required me to have some serious medication. Each night, the medication would keep me up so much, I’d only get about two hours of sleep”.
“So I used those hours to create my books instead”, Jennifer said. “It was therapeutic, a lovely outlet for creativity and a solitary time for myself. I couldn’t stop writing! I used something negative with my health, and made it a positive experience”.
To top that off, writing each night helped Jennifer balance her day-job as a court reporter. “Every day, I’d hear sad things about awful events which happen in the world. So it was a relief to come home and write beautiful stories, that were from my heart”.
Within months, Jennifer had met with a literary agent from New York who advised that she turn her original manuscript into a series of books. “It was such an exciting time, to finally be writing and acting on the ideas I’d had for years”, she said.
“I still remember the first time I held the published book in my hands. It was so surreal! I thought, ‘There’s my heart’s work bound into the covers of a book. Wow, I really did it!'”
Today, Jennifer’s family could not be more proud. She’s even made a romance fan out of her husband! “It’s been a huge process”, Jennifer said. “But I won’t stop. In fact, I’ve got six other ideas for books right now”.
Jennifer would encourage anyone to pursuit their creative passions and hobbies, especially over the age of 60. “I treat writing as my career now”, she explained. “If you have a passion – go with it!”
“If it’s something that you believe in, if it brings you enjoyment, then do it! Especially at our age, you want to have as much good in your life as you can get. You’ve probably gone through a lot of hardships, so it’s great to have something joyful”.
“Pursuing your own creativity can be a whole new revitaliser for your life”, she added. “It will give you a whole new outlook, because you’re following your dream, your passion which lives inside you. Creativity can offer you bursts of energy and new hope for the future”.
As Jennifer approaches her 60th birthday, she is looking forward to Silken Images and Fractured Symphony becoming available in selected Aussie bookstores. They are already available for purchase via Amazon, in paperback and electronic copies.
“To me, writing is like going on holidays every day, without the expense”, Jennifer added. “I can take my characters everywhere to do anything, all from the comfort of my study”. We can’t wait to see what’s next in Jennifer’s story!