An 86-year-old North Queensland author says she gets inspiration for some of her books’ more titillating scenes from late-night documentaries.
Lesley Mooney, of Mackay, only started writing 25 years ago when she was 61, and since then has produced five novels and more than 500 poems.
The dramatic topics in her romance and mystery novels include kidnapping, war, sex slavery, life on a farm, rape, mental illness, and murder, but she always tries to include a love story.
She describes her latest novel, Fire In The Heart, as a Scottish drama.
“There’s a bit of smuggling in that one and that’s got a bit of hot sex in it too,” she said.
Daughters embarrassed by some content
While some of her children are embarrassed about the more graphic content, Ms Mooney said her books were a depiction of real life.
“Men and women get married and they make love. I just go into a bit of detail,” she said.
“I’ll tell you where I learnt that off — SBS.”
Ms Mooney has written five books and more than 400 poems. (ABC Tropical North: Sophie Meixner)
She said her daughters had difficulty reading some of parts of her stories, but her grandchildren loved them.
“I enjoy [embarrassing my children] because I know to give them all a hell of a fright,” she said.
“Two of them said ‘Oh my god, my mother wrote this’ but I mean you’re human, you see these things.
“Now of course sex is just so blatant, there’s no love left in it, but mine [have] got love [in them].”
A good imagination is key
Ms Mooney said the books’ diverse content came from her “good imagination”.
“I’ve got lots of ideas, they just come into my head. It’s five novels and they’re all completely different,” she said.
“When you’re [writing] stories for a long time, you go into the story … and you become sort of a part of it.
“You’ve got to keep on thinking of things that are going to keep the reader’s interest. Otherwise that would get very boring. That’s why I don’t read biographies.
“That’s why I don’t sleep all night long. I’m thinking ‘I should have done this’ and I try to shut it off and it’s very hard.”
Word ‘old’ is banned
Ms Mooney said the word “old” was banned in her house.
“I don’t like that word. As long as you keep yourself looking presentable and you keep your mind active, you’re not old until you actually show it,” she said.
“It makes you feel better inside yourself and you can sit down with a fresh imagination and write things, because you’re not back to the knitting, crocheting stage which older people do.
“You’ve got to keep your mind active, and the only way is I watch a lot of documentaries.
“I don’t watch many risqué movies or anything. I don’t think there’s any much there now unless you go to Masters of Sex on SBS and that got a bit shocking too. I don’t watch that anymore.”
Ms Mooney’s granddaughter Kerrie Nicoll is proud of the fiction her grandmother writes. (ABC Tropical North: Sophie Meixner)
‘She is far from reserved’
Ms Mooney’s granddaughter Kerrie Nicoll said she was proud of her grandmother’s writing.
“For a woman of her age she doesn’t act like an old lady. She’s still full of life, she still goes as hard as she can, her mind is constantly active,” she said.
Ms Nicoll said she was not surprised at some of the books’ more controversial content.
“She keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure,” she said.
“You wouldn’t expect something like that from your nanna.
“A lot of nannas are very reserved and [she is] far from reserved, and [she should] take that as a compliment.”