By Abbey Randall, Staff Reporter

Margot Livesey (visiting writer) with Victoria Luce (student)

Margot Livesey (right) with Victoria Luce (left) (Photo courtesy of Abbey Randall)

Listening to distinguished authors share words of wisdom about writing is an experience some University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) college students have recently participated in. UMF has created an opportunity for students to become engaged in literature with the Visiting Writers Series. Margot Livesey joined UMF students on September 19th in the landing for a reading of her newest novel, The Flight of Gemma Hardy.

Livesey grew up in a boys’ private school in the Scottish Highlands and later graduated from the University of York in England with a Bachelors of Arts in English and Philosophy. Livesely first published a collection of stories in 1986 and has since published six other novels.

“I want to write before I know what I want to write about. I am very stubborn about making them [drafts] better,” said Livesely said in a question and answer session after the reading.

Livesely’s latest novel, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, was written with inspiration from the novel Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte in 1847. Livesely grew up without her parents and she felt a great connection with Jane Eyre, later deciding to write her own novel with some similarities and differences.

“Character is the heart of fiction. I borrowed from all three of us [Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte and herself],” said Livesely when asked how she created her main character Gemma Hardy.

Livesely’s old fashion childhood is reflected in her writing because that is who she is; her family didn’t own a fridge or a television until she was ten years old.

“I really like writing and the world is much more interesting when I am writing,” said Livesely. When discussing her writing process she decides “whether it will go into recycling or see the light of day.”

“She [Margot Livesley] seemed to be pretty calm and more of a descriptive writer because everything she talked about gave me a visual,” said Karissa Guay, a senior a UMF. “She was very connected to her readers.”

Liveseley read many excerpts from her novel, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, and later the audience was allowed time to ask questions about her life, writing processes, her experiences, and advice she had for young writers.

“We read fiction differently from how we see the world around us,” said Livesely. She wrote a total of eight drafts for one of her novels, Eva Moves the Furniture, and twelve years later it was published on September 11, 2001.

The next Visiting Writers Series event is on October 10th with a reading from poet, John Poch in Thomas Auditorium at 7:30pm. Poch has written a collection of poems including, Poems in 2004, Two Men Fighting with a Knife in 2008, and Dolls in 2009.