Betty came to Australia from Sicily in 1971 when she was two, strapped to her mother’s hip on board the Marconi ocean liner. Her family moved regularly but the first great move was from their 16th floor housing commission flat in North Melbourne into a double fronted Victorian just a stone’s throw from the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Queen Victoria Market. Her earliest memories include running from a friend’s flat after being served a plate of tinned spaghetti, and the words to the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. She couldn’t speak English, but those were good times.
After spending four years on a farm two hours north of Melbourne to make their fortune, her father and mother shepherded themselves and their only child back to Melbourne in the heart of winter and to the not-so-leafy suburb of Footscray. It was at this time that Betty wrote her first novel, at the age of 12. She wrote of running away, smoking Winnie blues and boys with panel vans. After a brief but intense obsession with the writing of Edgar Allen Poe, she burned the nameless manuscript, all 200 pages, having never shown it to a soul. It was a decision she would live with, but would regret.
In 1987, Betty moved herself to the Mecca that is Geelong to study at Deakin University-far enough away from her family so that she could start a new life filled with all of the delights of share housing. It was there that she established her career in journalism, working as a writer at Deakin University’s student paper and producing a fortnightly student entertainment guide. After finally completing her degree, which culminated in an introspective year in the United States where she found herself hitch-hiking to see Pearl Jam and Neil Young and in the front row of one of Nirvana’s last gigs, she revived her love of journalism and from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, she was the editor and co-publisher at an underground dance music magazine and an industrious entertainment journalist almost ending her career after a unfortunate fifteen minutes with Molly Ringwald.
Five years ago, Betty began writing a short story, which culminated in a novel about a girl who grows up amidst the magic and the desolation of a small Sicilian village in the 70s. Luckily, she didn’t burn the manuscript. In early 2004, Betty turned her hand to writing short stories to fulfil the need to “get something finished quickly”. Her stories deal with running away, smoking Winnie blues and boys with panel vans. Betty has a fleeting attention span and she’s all but given up writing although she has a tattoo on her belly to remind her about it so, as they say in the biz, ‘Those who can, do; those who can’t, watch other people become successful and burn in their own bile.” Well she may not be sizzling but she does work in publishing.
In her spare time, Betty loves to bid on old music magazines and pickle forks on Ebay. She has just completed reading “My Lobotomy – A memoir” and has embarked on reading The Age, daily, thanks to a cheap subscription deal. In a parallel universe, she would like to have been Ernest Hemingway or Monica Bellucci. She lives half a block away from her parents along with her husband of thirteen years (she married young) who is fond of vinyl records, and a black maltese terrier named Yoyo Betty who likes to eat apples and kill mice and a recent addition to the clan, Peaches Peekaboo, a white-ish maltese who has no regard for anything or anyone. They recently returned from a week in Penang (Yoyo and Peaches stayed with their grandparents).continue reading...