The Story of Broken Hill

By Sue Hoban

Prolific self-published author Pam Bayfield admits she hasn't made much money out of her writing during the past eight years. In fact, she has broken even on only one of her books, but she remains a staunch defender of self-publishing.

"If you can afford it, it gives you so much pleasure," she said. "A lot of people are doing it now just for the thrill of seeing their creativity in print, otherwise you would just be putting so much stuff in the bottom drawer."

As she prepares to launch her sixth book and first novel, Silver Dreams: The Story of Broken Hill next week, she concedes there may be an element of ego involved as well. But she says she gets just as much pleasure out of researching and writing her books as seeing the finished product.

"I just adore writing," she said. "Since I retired from teaching I find it gives me so much pleasure and I'm the sort of person who doesn't like not havinga project to work towards."

She said she also enjoyed the fact that it has given her an entree to a network of fellow writers, principally through her role as president of the 80-year-old Society of Women Writers. Pam's latest book, inspired by the years she spent growing up in Broken Hill, is a departure from her past non-fiction works that have included a personal history, the story of a Dutch woman imprisoned by the Japanese during World War 11 and a guide for those undertaking knee replacement surgery.

"I loved the experience of writing fiction," she said. "You can just take yourself into another world, but I also did a lot of research, so all the historical detail is as true as I can make it."

She said she set out with Silver Dreams to produce an historical saga that goes back to the early days of Broken Hill, following the lives of four young men who headed there in the 1880's to seek their fortune.

But with the sixth book now done and dusted, she is uncertain what she may do next. She said after losing her husband suddenly last year she may have to make a few adjustments, but "I imagine writing will play some part in that."

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