Military spouse shares her story in new book “Married Quarter”

Maria Augustus-Dunn knows all too well the life of a military spouse.  She knows what it’s like to pick up, pack up and move house every few years – leaving behind friends, jobs and stability.

Maria also knows that she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

When Maria and her husband retired a few years ago, she decided to put pen to paper and tell her story.  The result is new book, “Married Quarter”, due to be launched next month at the Townsville RSL.

Townsville Women reached out to Maria to find out more…

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family…

My name is Maria Augustus-Dunn. I grew up in Melbourne, and left there in 1990 when I married a soldier. I have been married for 26 years now to Brad, who is the love of my life. We have no children, but have loads of extended family. I was a proud military spouse for more than 20 years.

We retired in 2011 and decided to sell up and give away all our worldly possessions and we moved onto the road fulltime. We have been permanent grey nomads for more than five years now and we love it! We are of no fixed address.

What inspired you to write your book ‘Married Quarter’?

I have always wanted to write a book, and when we retired that was one of the items on my ‘to do’ list. I wanted to write about what it is like to be the spouse of a serving soldier – what it’s like to move to a new location every few years, what it’s like to find a new job, new group of friends, new doctor, and everything else that goes with moving around.

I also wanted to write about being the person at home keeping the home fires burning while your partner is deployed. I wanted to give a voice to the military spouses of Australia.

What did you learn about yourself while writing your book?

Goodness! I’m not sure if I did learn anything about myself! Actually now that I think about it, two themes arose from the book, which I never realised until I started writing. I realised how much I loathe wearing pantyhose and how much I love air-conditioning! Strange I know, but they were very distinctive themes that arose from writing the book.

For any women considering writing their own story, what advice would you give?

A lot of people tell me that they want to write a book, but don’t know where to begin. My answer is always this – just start at the start! It doesn’t have to be prize-winning or perfect or even good. But just start writing. No one needs to see it unless you want them to. I do believe we all have a story in us.

If you do want to be published, find yourself a good proofreader and a good editor before submitting your manuscript to a publisher. It is worth paying the money for both those services, as you do not want to submit something that is full of errors.

Don’t be disheartened if you submit your book to a publisher and get rejected. Just keep trying. Self-publishing has also become very popular, so for those adventurous budding authors, this might be an option.

What are you hoping that people can take away from reading your book?

I hope that in some small way it can help other military spouses, particularly during long periods of absence. I hope that people read it and realise that they are not alone. What they might be experiencing is something that most of us have experienced. We all know what it is like to attend our first dining-in night and be terrified!

I also want people to know what a wonderful life it can be. I loved being a military spouse, and wouldn’t change a thing. At times it was quite difficult, but I loved it nevertheless.

Do you have any words of encouragement for current service spouses facing difficulties that arise from military family life?

First and foremost would be to find a support group. Find a group of people who are experiencing the same thing as you. The most amazing support I have ever received is from others who had partners who were deployed. I also believe that it is really important to get out of the house and join groups or activities. The kindness and compassion from others is a powerful thing. 

And finally, where can we order a copy of your book?

The book is about to be released in the coming weeks, and in Townsville you will be able to purchase it through the ‘Mary Who?’ bookshop, 414 Flinders Street. It can also be purchased online through Big Sky Publishing, website address is www.bigskypublishing.com.au

‘Mary Who?’ bookshop will be at the launch and will be selling the book on my behalf.

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