JOY CLEARY: She's happy
to let Jon be the author
ONE-BOOK AUTHOR Joy Cleary with her fast English car outside the Clearys' V-shaped contemporary home overlooking Pittwater, N.S.W.
Although Marlon Brando's company is to film "Strike Me Lucky," first novel by Joy Cleary, wife of Australian author Jon Cleary, she is determined
that it will be her last book.
THERE'S a "happy
ending" story to the way the company—Penne-
baker Productions — be- came interested in "Strike
One of the partners, Walter Seltzer, met Jon and Joy in London at a dinner party
gien by a film executive, Laurence Barchiman.
As Mr. Seltzer was leaving, Barchiman said to him: "Take this darling book and read it
on the plane."
The plane was delayed five hours in Copenhagen, Seltzer
read the book and cabled im-
mediately he arrived in Holly- wood to buy the film rights.
Jon Cleary went to Holly- wood to work on the script and the film is now being
Why then does Mrs. Cleary insist that "Strike Me Lucky" is to be her last book?
The simple answer is lack of time and too many other priority interests.
Take a look at her busy,
happy domestic life, the fas- cinating places she travels to.
She has two charming daughters, Katie, 13, and Jane,
She and her husband have
a fast little English Jensen car, the only one of its make in Australia, they believe.
She has a beautiful, luxuri- ous V-shaped home overlook-
ing Pittwater at Avalon,
She travels the world with Jon — Los Angeles this year, Moscow last year, with Bang-
"I'm not a bit energetic and my only real hobby is reading, not writing," Joy Cleary told me at her Pittwater home.
How did "Strike Me Lucky" come to be written?
"Not through ambition, just through boredom," admits the
"It started when Jon and I were in Spain. He was work-
DAUGHTERS Jane (left) and Katie get their
mother's help with their school homework.
ing hard and I didn't have much to do, so I began this book. But Jon had to push me
hard to make me finish it. It took four years."
Mrs. Cleary is too closely tied up with her husband's work to want to branch out on her own.
"Jon always writes the first draft of his novels in long- hand and I type the final drafts for him," she said. "That takes up a fair amount of my time."
Does he ever ask her opinion on plots?
Joy smiled, an attractive crinkled-up smile: "Jon's a very painstaking writer, and is usually pretty clear in his mind about his work, so often I never see it until it's ready for final typing.
"Just occasionally, if he's not quite sure about something, he asks my advice. Of course,
he never takes it."
With a husband whose work keeps him at home all day, Joy is busy getting meals throughout the day.
"Jon sets himself a target of 1500 words a day, but how- ever long his working day he always stops for mid-morning coffee, and he's always waiting
The couple met in 1946. Joy, a Melbourne nurse, was on her way to England on a working holiday. Jon, who had just had his first novel published, was going to Europe for
material for further stories.
"Three weeks after the ship docked we were married in Kensington," Joy told me.
The two girls were born in England. When their parents leave for Burma in October they will become boarders at a Sydney school.
Jon has something to say about his wife's literary work.
"Joy wrote the book when she didn't have much else to do," he said. "If ever she gets the time she'll write another book."