WRITING, like life, doesn’t always go to plan, according to Lavington author Maria Stefanidis.
I love writing, if I don't write I feel as if there's some part of me missing,Maria Stefanidis
“People can't really plot their lives, although people say, 'Where would you like to be in five years, 10 years' time?',” she said.
“I mean, there are ups and downs in life so you just more or less let your characters guide you and then a little bit of imagination and oh, it just seems to fall in place."
And so it went in Stefanidis’ book The Sunny Side of the Street, just released by Sid Harta Publishers.
Described as an epic comedy-drama, the book portrays the life of postwar immigrants from Cyprus settling into their new Australian life.
Harry Demitriou is torn between his feelings for his young wife Martha and his sophisticated neighbour Ruth Dempster.
Their daughters’ friendship puts further strain on the family relationships.
Stefanidis, herself the daughter of migrants, said the book depicted an important time in Australian history.
"The culture shock that migrants experienced and how hard it was for them to leave their families behind and work to save money and establish a new life here," she said.
Although her parents’ stories had an influence the author pointed out The Sunny Side of the Street was fictional.
"I won't classify it as an autobiography and what might have been a presumption to a few that my life has been interesting enough for people to want to read about it,” she said with a laugh.
“It would have saved me endless hours of research."
Raised in Albury, Stefanidis first wrote ideas for her book while living in Cyprus in 1980, captivated by the culture and beauty of the country.
"Just the way of life there, the friendliness of the people, village life in particular," she said.
Her retirement from hairdressing three years ago allowed more time for writing, up to 10 hours a day.
"I love writing, if I don't write I feel as if there's some part of me missing,” she said.
"I had a ball writing this book.
"You're plodding along for so many years, not knowing whether there will ever be the possibility of publication.
“But you must believe in what you're doing."
Stefanidis has written two other novels and plans a sequel to The Sunny Side of the Street.
"I've left quite a few doors open for this,” she said.