U3A Gladstone author co-publishes ‘Cantella’
As reported in the Gladstone Today by reporter Eilish Massie, an idea that was shelved for 63 years has finally turned into a novel, with two Gladstone authors bringing it to life. U3A Tutor, Claire Mitchell and co-author Alec Lucke have celebrated the recent launch of their book, ‘Cantella’.
As Eilish Massie reports, “Set in the 1800s, the book is told from multiple perspectives and centres around immigrants who moved to the Port Curtis colony, and then settled in Calliope.
Mr Lucke first started writing the book when he was 18-year-old, and now at age 81, his vision has come to life.
Mr Lucke, who now lives in New South Wales, said the novel had an ‘extraordinarily’ long gestation.
“I first started writing the manuscript when I was a teenager. I am now 81. I submitted Cantella to various publishers but only one offered a contract that I chose to decline,” he said.
After having the book appraised by an editor in Sydney, Mr Lucke was told his language was too formal and old fashioned for commercialisation.
It was then Ms Mitchell, who helped Mr Lucke with other projects, decided to come on board with the novel.
“I decided I could consign Cantella to the back drawer where it would never be published in my lifetime or alternatively, cede the manuscript to Claire Mitchell who, like myself, worked on the novel and believed in it,” Mr Lucke said.
“Congratulations to Claire who has faithfully kept the plot and brought the necessary changes and embellishments to the fore.”
Ms Mitchell said she had spent all of last year rewriting the book.
‘Alec approached me to do his writing, as it progressed I kept encouraging him to get the book out of the drawer,” she said.
“I’ve always loved writing, when I was going to school I recall winning lots of competitions for our compositions, and poetry.”
“But I’ve always loved writing short stories and I like working with other people, that’s one of my strengths.”
“Alec’s strength was creating the novel, my strength was characterisation and fixing it.”
Ms Mitchell said they wanted to celebrate the launch of their novel at Cedar Galleries in Calliope, as a nod to the book’s setting.
Both authors have been praised for their other works. Ms Mitchell previously published The Orphan Swaggy with Maizey James, and Mr Lucke’s novel ‘Road to Exploitation’, political capture by mining in Queensland, was published in 2013.”
Photo: Claire Mitchell at an impromptu book signing at Gladstone U3A coffee morning and a photo of Alec Lucke.
Acknowledgement: Published in the 1 February 2022 edition of Gladstone Today.