Today I’m very pleased to bring you this interview with Amelia Marriette, author of Walking into Alchemy – The Transformative Power of Nature.
1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or
country if not in the US)?
My name is Amelia Marriette and although I am British I
live in a small town called Bad Sankt Leonhard in
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
Walking into Alchemy: The Transformative Power of
Nature is a Non-fiction book: a memoir, a story about
relocation, love and finding one’s path in life. It has
passages about nature and the landscape. It includes
some Shakespeare and a bit of Art History too.
3) What is the book about?
The central theme of the book is my personal journey
following redundancy, financial problems, depression and
ill health and my fortunate relocation to Austria. The
book has three other main areas of interest: a love story;
a nature story and a book about art, culture and the
wider world. The love story is one concerning my
chance encounter with my now partner Katie which led
to our relocation to her home town in Austria. I was
surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Carinthian
region, and my love of nature was rekindled. I sought repair and rejuvenation through the completion of fifty-
two, thirteen-mile walks in the span of one calendar
year. This act of repetitive walking enabled me to study
the changing seasons and explore the flora and fauna
of the area; I was able to return myself to health by
considering and reconsidering personal experiences,
emotions, ideas and memories. I also returned to my love
of photography. As the weeks passed, I began to find my
sense of place and my new path in life. I realised that I
was walking into alchemy, mining for gold as I went. It
was then, as a former curator and Shakespeare scholar
that I began to see connections everywhere, and I was able
to invest my walks with meaning from paintings,
musical passages and lines of verse.
I hope that my book Walking into Alchemy will inspire
readers to find their own paths in life, wherever that
might take them.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I came up with the idea after I had completed my first few
walks; it was going to be a blog, but I believe in the
written word and the power of printed books. I also
wanted to work on something over a period of time,
editing and polishing it and include images. I approached
the project without a clear idea of the outcome – which
was deliberate on my part; I wanted literally to take
the idea for a walk and allow my ideas to ferment and
5) How long did it take you to write it?
It took me exactly a year to walk fifty-two walks in fifty-
two weeks and a further two years to write the book –
much longer than I expected. I also completed one extra
walk and included it at the end of the book to give the
book a sense of closure.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
I learnt so much! I learnt a great deal about the changing
of the seasons, especially in a climate that is much colder
than I am used to. I learnt about local customs and met
local people I otherwise would never have met. I learnt
that as an author “taking one’s story for a walk” really
does open up new and unexpected possibilities. I also
learnt to be calmer, more content and happier with
myself. At the beginning of my journey I found it hard to
recognise beauty in life, by the end of the year I was
looking for and finding beauty in both the minute and the
epic – mining for gold as I went. I also can now appreciate
that there is such a thing as a nature cure.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a
I have a website – (I am also a playwright, radio
presenter and a Shakespeare lecturer):
I also have a blog and I blog about once a month on
I am currently recording a series of four Zoom talks about
my book. I think that using how technology is helping
authors and I am embracing this idea. I also provide more
information about why I wrote my book and expand on
some of my themes.
My latest Zoom Blog about my book, and authors and how
Zoom can technology is helping to bring new audiences.
Here is the link to the first YouTube video about my book
using the images that I took on the walk.
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors?
How about any great editors?
My friend, who is also a writer, began the editing process
for me with great tact and kindness. Later, my editor at
Mereo Books, a small publisher in Cirencester, very kindly
made helpful suggestions or pointed out errors again very
gently. We all need editors, but I believe that we also
need to protect ourselves from having our confidence
shattered. I also think that it’s vital that an editor respects
and retains the authorial voice.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading
new authors and reviewing their work?
I like biographies, books about trees and nature. Anything
Shakespeare related – modern re-workings of
Shakespeare’s plays for example: Ewan’s Nutshell, Jane
Smiley, A Thousand Acres) and I also loved Headlong by
Michael Frayn – any book that looks at paintings in a
tangential and new way appeals to me and Frayn is also
an excellent comic writer.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
My favourite book of all time is the Complete Memoirs of
George Sherston – George Sherston is the pen-name of
Siegfried Sassoon. I first read The Memoirs of A Fox-
Hunting Man, followed by The Memoirs of an Infantry
Officer when I was in my twenties. I am against fox
hunting, and I am a pacifist, yet both these books opened
up worlds to me which I then inhabited, roamed about in
and explored. My mind was expanded and opened. I didn’t
change my views, but I did understand much more and
could see both issues from another point of view.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
My partner and I have a pet snail called Brian who lives in
the garden; we put a dab of nail varnish on his shell and
he has been hanging around for over two years – I think
he likes us! We see him once or twice a year – he is no
trouble. We have several hedgehogs, but we rarely see
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device?
If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I am so old school when it comes to books! I spend a
great deal of time at my laptop and in my study, so I like
to take a book and be away from technology. Maybe one
day I will buy a Kindle – because I do like e-books as I
like to search for words and ideas and the search facility is
great for that!
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