Mireille Parker is an Indian Australian author from Fremantle, West Australia, who has devoted herself to writing for the past fifteen years. Journaling since age eleven, Mireille wanted to be a writer since discovering Anais Nin in the film Henry & June on daytime TV while at university. She graduated from The University of West Australia, majoring in English Literature and Psychology, with a history minor (the Vikings and Ancient Greeks), but it was during a stay in Mumbai in 2003, while recording Hindi vinyl in a sound studio, that a book just started coming out of her.
At age 28, Mireille went to Murdoch University to study the craft of creative writing and has been practising ever since. Her first published work was Wonderlust, a novel about a travel agent from Perth who goes to Lucerne, Switzerland, on a cultural adventure and finds love in a creative life. Mireille was an English as a Second Language teacher for eighteen years and a life coach for two, but quit both due to metastatic breast cancer and brain surgery. Mireille’s passions are many. She has also been a hip-hop dancer in New York and a Bollywood dancer in Switzerland. Writing, however, is the love of her life. Love Queen: The Making of a Master is the first in a series of at least five books.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
When I first started writing my memoir at the end of 2016, I was really down, with my life in tatters. So first I was going to call it “Things To Come: A Memoir.” Around that time, the guy I was kind of seeing got me to watch The Making of a Murderer on Netflix.
Then, as I continued writing, I realised that relationships—or my quest to be good at them—was my thing. I had lots of funny and tragic stories from my dating life and marriage. I wanted to share what I had learned about relationships within the telling of my story. And one day in 2018, it must have just come to me to call my book Love Queen: The Making of a Master. Have I become a master? You’ll have to read it and find out.
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
When I first saw the cover, I absolutely loved it! It was what I had imagined, but way better! The design team at Atmosphere sure did an excellent job.
Holding it in my hands for the first time was (I imagine) like holding my newborn baby, after many years of trying to get pregnant and doing everything I could to. My life revolved around this book baby for six years and I loved it.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
My desire to journal I must have gotten from The Baby-Sitters Club books or my neighbour bestie. I started journaling when I was about eleven and started doing it more as I got older as a way to understand what I thought and felt.
I was a very creative child but there were so many things I loved. In my late teens and early twenties, I had friends who were artists and I wanted to do something creative too but felt shy about it. Writing was a way I could do this privately.
But it was coming across the film Henry & June while in my final year at university that really made me want to be a writer. It’s about Anais Nin and her relationship with Henry Miller and his wife June. But also how she lived! I wanted to see the world through the eyes of a writer too.
Then when I was 24, following a breakup, my mind was going round and round and I just wanted it to stop. I saw an ad for a talk called Absolute Happiness, went along, and bought the book. That was the first I’d heard about manifesting and I followed the process.
We went on a trip to India to see my Nana and went to a Laughter’s Club. They told us to come back the next day because an Australian film crew was filming a documentary on happiness. So we went back and afterwards the sound engineer, an Indian guy, came to talk to me. Long story short, he left me in his sound studio for the weekend while he went on a shoot. I was to upload Hindi vinyl onto the computer and I was so bored that a book started coming out of me!
I ran home to write it and when my friend—who’d dated a Canadian screenwriter for three years—returned after the weekend, he said it was amazing for a first draft and I really had to focus on this now. He was the first one who really encouraged me.
Reading and practising “The Artist’s Way”—as outlined by Julia Cameron in her book of the same name—encouraged me further and I went to study Creative Writing at university one day a week while I worked at age 28. I really learned about the editing process, I got high marks, and the tutor wrote “I hope you keep writing always” on my final piece.
Besides these and all my favourite books and writers, I loved Stephen King’s On Writing.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
I was an English as a Second Language teacher for eighteen years. It’s a very flexible job and it allowed me to travel for long stints and live overseas, then come back to a job again. I worked in a bar and an ESL school in London, was a waitress in Soho, New York, and sold beignets (a kind of donut) on the beach in Montpellier, France.
I think my readers pretty much know everything about me! There’s not much I didn’t say in Love Queen. But the story does continue with lots of twists and turns too. Maybe how much I love grammar, punctuation, and word formation is a good fact. Often when I’m editing, I think to myself, “I’d like to tell someone why I put the comma there.”
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
I loved working with a professional editor and proofreader. Tammy helped make my book better and it was great to have an outside opinion on whether it was working or not. Then, the proofreading check was laborious but I was really impressed by how much was picked up and enjoyed learning more punctuation rules.
The marketing part was also interesting. When I published my first book, I thought it was not a success because it didn’t have immediate traction and I gave up. But now, with Hayla’s guidance, I learned a lot and am not impatient anymore.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
Green Eyes – Coldplay
With or Without You – U2
Never Let Me Go – Florence + the Machine
Paper Planes – M.I.A.
Seven Devils – Florence + the Machine
Crave You – Flight Facilities (featured in Love Queen)
One Day/Reckoning Song – One Day Baby (also featured)
The Scientist – Coldplay
Born to Die – Lana Del Rey
Unfinished Symphony – Massive Attack
Million Dollar Man – Lana Del Rey
We Found Love – Calvin Harris & Rihanna
Good as Hell – Lizzo
Boyz – Jessy Nelson (feat Nicki Minaj)
Players – Coi Leray
Upgrade U – Beyonce
My Oh My – Camila Cabello
Break My Soul – Beyonce
This Is How We Do It – Montell Jordan
Thank U, Next – Ariana Grande.
Worth It – Fifth Harmony
About Damn Time – Lizzo
Big Energy – Latto & Mariah Carey
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
I hope readers will take away simple but effective daily practices for creating a new mind and joy, as well as insights to help them have better relationships and understanding of people. I also hope they will be entertained, amused, comforted, and enthralled.
My perfect reader is one who writes us an Amazon and Goodreads review, as well as spreads their enthusiasm for Love Queen by posting about it on social media and telling everyone they know!
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
I have been working on the prequel to Love Queen. That’s been fun!
How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?
Yes, I would definitely tell other writers who want to publish about Atmosphere Press. I found them to be professional, friendly, polite, patient (even when I wasn’t), and supportive, and my book turned out way better than I’d imagined, including the inner design, which I also loved!