Debut author Kaneana May grew up in the small coastal town of Old Bar on the NSW Mid-North Coast before making the nine-hour drive inland to study television at Charles Sturt University’s (Charles Sturt) Wagga Wagga campus.
“I loved going to university in a country town,” Kaneana said.
“I grew up on the coast and going inland meant a whole new world opened up to me.
“I made great friendships and have fabulous memories of the hands-on course.”
Completing a Bachelor of Arts (Television Production) with first class honours in Screenwriting, Kaneana praises Charles Sturt’s hands-on approach in helping her land a job working as a storyliner on a show called ‘Headland’ before she graduated.
“I feel very fortunate that the television production course equipped me with the skills to get a job in the industry straight away,” Kaneana said.
“I loved doing the television production course so special thanks to Bill Fitzwater, Patrick Sproule and Bruce Gator, our lecturers and hands-on teachers.
“We were only a small group of students, but because of this, lots of us made great bonds.
“To develop the right skills for the world of television, we had production meetings, organised film shoots and made studio productions.
“Some of the people I met during these years I know will be lifelong friends.”
Although Headland got the axe from Channel 7 a year later, Kaneana was determined to press forward with her career in television and her determination found her working on the scripts of All Saints and the long running Aussie soap Home and Away.
After what she describes as time spent happily ‘living and breathing Summer Bay’, she used her Diploma in Education from Charles Sturt to work abroad with her now-husband.
“We got an around the world ticket and while I continued to write for Home and Away for a little while, the two of us also did casual teaching in London.”
Eventually Kaneana settled back in her coastal town of Old Bar to raise a family. While juggling three young children, she turned to writing, drafting her first novel ‘The One’, which was released on June 17 this year.
She said her time at Charles Sturt University on the Wagga Wagga campus has had a small hand in parts of the storyline.
“In terms of my debut novel The One, the storyline revolves around a reality television dating show,” Kaneana said.
“The story is totally fictional, but the inspiration was definitely sparked by my love for television; especially that of ‘behind-the-scenes’.
“One of the main characters, Darcy, is a field producer on the dating show and met her best friend at university, who also studied Television Production.
“It’s not said specifically within the book where they went, but I always imagined they went to Wagga too.”
While Kaneana has accomplished a successful career in the world of television and writing, she said the journey was not always an easy one, advising that if you want to make your dream become a reality using your degree, you need to persevere.
“There have been numerous rejections along the way and there have definitely been times when I have felt disillusioned about the whole process,” Kaneana said.
“But, I’m very stubborn and was determined to be published. I knew I wasn’t going to give up until my dream became a reality.”
Kaneana is sharing her experiences and will be signing copies of The One at:
- Wagga Library on Monday 15 July, 5.45pm
- Bathurst Library Tuesday 16 July, 6.15pm