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Alumni Stories

When writing goes to plan

Within the span of just a few weeks, UC alumna Gabby Tozer will publish her seventh book with publisher Harper Collins, and expand her family by one when she gives birth to her second child.

It’s a life that’s busy, but it’s a life she loves.

Speaking to UnCover from her home in Wagga Wagga, where she lives with her husband and three-year-old daughter, Gabby couldn’t be more content with life back in her hometown.

Since graduating from UC in 2005 with a Bachelor of Journalism majoring in Creative Writing, she’s also followed a life-long dream to be a writer.

“I always knew I wanted to be a writer and author – I don’t know where that certainty came from but I just had this core belief that it was what I should do,” Gabby says.

“Coming from regional NSW, I had heard good things about the degree in Canberra, so I moved onto the residences there. I was planning to stay six months on campus, and I ended up staying the whole degree!”

Gabby’s enthusiasm for living on campus and experiencing all that student life had to offer also extended into her studies – where she was involved in several internships and work experience opportunities.

This experience culminated into a final-year paid internship at Monitor Magazine – the University’s previous publication.

“Working at Monitor was such a memorable part of my time at UC – it counted towards my degree, but it was also a wonderful experience and built my skills,” Gabby says.

While Gabby was largely proud of her work at the magazine, a memorable moment while at uni was something slightly more personal.

It was during her time living on campus that she met her husband, Jason.

“Living on campus was such a great time of my life. It was a great base, a great community, and some of my closest friends – and of course my husband - are from there,” Gabby says.

Throughout her studies, there were many positive influences on Gabby’s writing – but one that stood out was screenwriter and lecturer in Creative Writing Felicity Packard – who remains in a teaching role to this day.

Felicity became an unofficial mentor to Gabby, who remembers her help and support to this day.

“It felt like Felicity saw how passionate I was and nurtured that. I had a year studying under her and absolutely loved every second,” Gabby says.

“She worked with me on a major project, and I just found her insight and support invaluable.

“I actually caught up with her when my first novel came out, and came onto campus to have lunch with her. She was a huge support during my time at UC.”

This week, Gabby will release her seventh book Can’t Say It Went To Plan, a young adult novel centered around the notorious ‘schoolies’ week at the Gold Coast.

“The book follows the journey of three strangers – Year 12 students who don’t know each other, and have three different experiences throughout the week,” Gabby says.

“I’m just really excited to get this book out there, it’s been a passion project for the past two years.”

She hopes that readers young and old will be able to relate to the story.

“It’s a young adult novel, but I’m finding that these days there are also so many adults who read these types of stories as well.”

Though publishing and promoting the book is exciting, it’s the writing process that Gabby enjoys the most.

“There’s just an innate desire to tell all these stories that bottle up inside me,” Gabby says.

“I’ve definitely gone through times where writing has been really frustrating, and when I was younger I used to be very harsh on myself if I was finding it challenging.

“Now I realise it’s all part of the process and the people who get their work published are the ones who don’t give up and just keep going. You can’t edit a blank page.”

Gabby’s book Can’t Say It Went To Plan was released today and is available from most major bookstores, and in ebook and audiobook formats.

Words by Elly Mackay, photos supplied.

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