My name is Shannon Meyerkort, and I am a Perth based writer. I love to tell stories.
Although I have always loved writing, I haven’t always been a writer. I originally started out as an anthropologist (that’s the study of human culture, not bugs) and undertook a Masters of Public Health, before working as a researcher in various hospitals and universities across Australia.
It was after my second daughter was born and we knew we were planning a third, that I realised a career-change would be required. After three long months of sessions with a career counsellor she came up with two options: event planner and writer. Although I love planning a good party, the choice was always clear: I had wanted to be a writer since I was a child.
Before leaving, she gave me one piece of advice that I have never forgotten: she told me “Shannon, remember that as a writer, your life will be like a jigsaw puzzle, with lots of pieces that all fit together to form the picture of your career. Some pieces will pay well, others you will just write for the love of it, some pieces will satisfy you creatively, others will just be ‘work’, one piece may be a long novel, others will represent smaller pieces of work. Over time the puzzle will grow and a picture will form, but you will always have many different elements to your writing life.”
I have written a lot since then.
I founded one of Australia’s most comprehensive fundraising ideas websites, Fundraising Mums (which I later sold in 2020). I reviewed restaurants. I worked as an editor and set up a number of websites including Free Perth and Perth Mums Group. I have freelanced for various companies and seen my work published in newspapers, magazines, books and on websites across the globe. I have a hundred different ideas pinned to a corkboard above my desk and floating around in my brain.
More recently I have been writing short stories in decodable text for my dyslexic daughter as well as working on a special book-length project about dyslexia.
I didn’t start writing novels until 2017, but now it’s all I want to do. My primary genre is historical fiction and so far, my three books have all been set in Perth, Western Australia.
The Teacher is set in the months before World War One, at a time where railways were king, electricity was new, and social interaction was still governed by Edwardian sensibilities.
Inspired by the true story of the original owner of my 1940s house, it follows a young woman studying to be a teacher at the Claremont Training College. The story takes place in a number of locations from from Perth to Gallipoli and while the main plot is a fictionalised version of her life, it is historically accurate and uses inspiration from many real-life events and locations.
In 2019 I completed the first draft of Behind Closed Doors a unconventional love story set during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. This has also been inspired by a true story but I have relocated it in time and place. This manuscript won me a place at the Katharine Susannah Pritchard Writers’ Centre First Edition Retreat in late 2019, for emerging writers with a new manuscript. This included a place on the Four Centres Emerging Writers Program. I am hoping to start on the second draft of Behind Closed Doors later in 2020.
While at the KSP Writers’ Centre, I had the idea for another novel, with six inter-connecting stories. When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, I realised that it made the perfect backdrop for the novel and by mid-2020 I had completed the first draft of Letting Go, which is my first contemporary novel. It covers the stories of six people who are all letting go of something important to them, and in the context of COVID looks at the themes of sudden change, fear and uncertainty and how our lives are interconnected.
I have also been lucky enough to win a few writing prizes, such as first place in the 2010 West Australian Newspaper Summer Agenda writing competition which comes with its own humiliating story, and first place in the 2015 City of Subiaco Local History Awards.
In all of my writing I call on my experiences as both a researcher and mother, and my study of people and history.
So that is me. Welcome to my site – have a look around. I hope you enjoy my words, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Shannon Meyerkort July 2020