Saturday, February 21, 2015

Author Spotlight: Colleen McCullough and More

I'm starting an Author Spotlight feature and I will be making some notes at the end of this.

Author Spotlight Week 1

For my first author, I've chosen Colleen McCullough. I just finished reading The Thorn Birds the other day. In addition, Colleen died at the end of January and has been in the news recently.

Colleen McCullough was an Australian author who is best known for The Thorn Birds and being a  romance novelist. When she first started writing, she had established the neurophysiology department at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, as well as being a neurophysiological researcher at Yale for ten years and would write in her spare time. She was often criticized for supposedly basing her characters off of other books. However, Colleen always stated that she wouldn't copy off other authors' works. Altogether, she would end up writing 25 novels in her career. Colleen passed away on January 29, 2015 at the age of 77 and leaving behind her husband Ric Robinson.

Colleen was known for sexist and lude writing, which was joked about in an obituary that an Australian newspaper published right after she died. Here's my take. Sex scenes in books/movies sells, there's no denying it. And the romance genre is above love making and sex of course. I've actually read authors who were more descriptive and provided more detail than what Colleen did in The Thorn Birds.

The Thorn Birds. Since the characters in the book were Catholic, this brings up an interesting point. Father Ralph was a priest, but still had feelings for Meggie and vice versa. It goes to show that nobody in any given vocation or career is perfect. Priests have to go to confession just like everybody else who believes in God. I am a born and raised Catholic myself. In recent years, I admit that I've fallen a bit out of my faith and that's okay too. It's okay to question anything and everything, including religion/faith. I hope and pray that someday I will get back fully into the Catholic faith. I'm not going to get into why I've lacked faith over some years because the issues are personal and I will figure out some way to deal with those issues and move on. I do believe in God and most of the Catholic faith; it's only little things and I know I'll get through it by trusting in God, among other things.

Second chances in life are acceptable and maybe someone thinks they would like to be in a certain profession/career/vocation/calling, only to find out that once they are, they don't care for it like they originally thought. It's like Maria in the Sound of Music. Maria thought she wanted to be nun, but couldn't really get into their rules/way of life and fell in love with a man instead. I knew someone in high school who wanted to do anything and everything to do with horses. When she went to college for it, she found out she wasn't interested in that type of lifestyle on a professional and permanent level. You have to do what makes you happy and writing romance was what made Colleen McCullough happy.

My Favorite Quotes from The Thorn Birds:
“The bird with the thorn in its breast, it follows an immutable law; it is driven by it knows not what to impale itself, and die singing. At the very instant the thorn enters there is no awareness in it of the dying to come; it simply sings and sings until there is not the life left to utter another note. But we, when we put the thorns in our breasts, we know. We understand. And still we do it. Still we do it.”

“Belief doesn't rest on proof or rests on faith...without faith there is nothing.”  

“We can know what we do wrong even before we do it, but self-knowledge can't affect or change the outcome, can it? Everyone singing his own little song, convinced it's the most wonderful song the world has ever heard. Don't you see? We create our own thorns, and never stop to count the cost. All we can do is suffer the pain, and tell ourselves it was well worth it.”

“There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to outcarol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain… Or so says the legend.”  

Information on Colleen McCullough:

Special Notes:
I'm going to try my best to write a post every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday/Sunday. Author spotlights will be on Thursdays except for this one of course. On Tuesdays, most likely I'll post writing tips/exercises and personal essays. And for the weekend, I'm going to attempt to do something fun, like a book tag or a personal tag, etc.

In April, I will be taking part in a blog challenge and I'll tell more about that in the upcoming weeks.

Happy Reading and Keep On Writing!



  1. I like the quotes you wrote and think it is deeply true but as a child or young teenager we cannot understand what it means..the first time i read and watched the thorn birds i was a teen,i was 14 and it was very romantic for me and Ralph was a Saint,a gorgeous man and priest almost perfect,and Meggie was a sweet and cute little girl before growing into a beautiful rose,or a beautiful woman.And i always think she was sweet as a little girl and a sweet and very sensitive young girl but Ralph disappointed me when i grew more mature and i realized he was ambivalent and tormented and couldn't make a choice.So bad! Actually i hated the character of Ralph in the book later especially when he kisses Meggie after the fire and pushes her back and tells her he wants nothing from her but keeps a weird..he's a priest unable to choose and will spend his life unable to choose between the Vatican and Meggie..But regarding the quotes "We know,but we when we put the thorns in our breasts we understand and STILL WE DO IT WE DO IT "so true! We all know when we make a bad choice or love the wrong person like Meggie loved Ralph for many years ,grieving for him. She knew he couldn't be a husband to her but she kept on dreaming about him..and i kept on dreaming about unattainable men twice and i knew they weren't for me,i knew it and i put thorns in my fact it's like we were fascinated by evil or pain more than happiness ,as if pain could fill an empty part inside us.I think that maybe we can create our thorns too when we prefer to stay in hatred or look back on the past mourning and sitting rather than moving and trying to create a new present..but it takes time to understand..i am 44 and it's not so many years since i understood these's a spiritual and psychological process..maturation takes time..thank you for the quotes.

    1. Thank you for such a reply. You're welcome for the quotes. ~Meg