Meet the Author-Illustrator: Adrienne Body

Author Illustrator Adrienne Body

Adrienne Body is an author and illustrator of children’s fiction and non-fiction picture books. Growing up in New Zealand with stories and illustrations by great local children’s authors like Lynley Dodd and Margaret Mahy inspired her to put her love of art together with her love of words to bring to life her own cute and colourful characters.





What’s the best aspect of your artistic life?

I like having an outlet for all the crazy random sparks of ideas that come from great experiences and interactions. I love that (hopefully) my books help kids to learn, to feel positive about books and reading, and encourage their own creativity. If a book or character of mine makes someone smile or laugh, I’m happy.

—the worst?

I often wish I had more time to devote to it, but it doesn’t pay the bills right now.

How do you approach an illustration project?

Usually I am illustrating my own text. Sometimes the text comes first, sometimes the idea forms with the text and images forming together. Mostly I just let things stew in my head until something clicks. Then I get the words down, map out a page by page layout, then start work on the individual illustrations.

I find it helps to give myself a deadline, even if it’s fairly arbitrary, otherwise I procrastinate too much. Other than that, I find there is no point in trying to work on any project of mine if I am not in the right mood for it. Things just get frustrating.

When doing illustrations or cover art for others I try to get to know the story, talk to the author about it, and again let it all stew for a while. I’ll then rough out some concepts and go from there.

What are you working on at the moment?

I always have a few different projects floating about in my head. I can never tell which one is going to elbow its way to the front next. At some stage I plan on revisiting my very first character, Breakfast the sheep. In her next story she is trying to help her friend (a currently nameless cow) figure out a way to jump over the moon. I’m having a lot of fun with the rhymes and the not-so-successful moon jumping ideas. Accurate use of the laws of physics is not something that is going to be playing a role in this story.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published?

Confidence, time, and expense. It can be a big and scary investment; particularly if you decide to self-publish. Print-on-demand wasn’t really a thing when I put out my first book, so deciding to front up the cash to print a batch after being (very politely and positively) rejected by a couple of publishers was nerve-racking. Although one publisher was very encouraging about my illustrations, so that helped a little with the self-confidence.

Is there any area of art that you still find challenging?

It’s hard to let my projects ‘into the wild’ sometimes. I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% happy with them, so I have to tell myself that they are finished enough, otherwise I’d never publish anything. It comes down to the confidence thing.

Also, marketing can be a challenge, particularly when you aren’t great at talking about yourself and your work.

What would you be doing if you weren’t an illustrator?

I honestly don’t know. I’ve always been writing and drawing. If I don’t do something creative pretty regularly, then I struggle with life in general. It is my sanity, my therapy. It’s not my day job, not my main income, and I (try not to) think I’m a bit rubbish at it, but I think it’s what I’m meant to be doing.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as an illustrator?

I think I would do some courses on some different techniques and on using different digital illustration software. But it’s never too late to do that, so I probably soon will.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an illustrator?

I always had self-doubt, thinking that I would never be creative enough to come up with new ideas or produce something good enough for a client. It would have been nice to have a cheerleader then, someone whose opinion I trusted who could tell me that I would be good enough and to keep working toward it. I got there on my own.

What’s your top tip for aspiring illustrators?

Find yourself someone who will genuinely (in a constructive and sensitive way) tell you if something you make is rubbish; and believe them when they tell you it’s not.



Granddad’s Fish Tank

“This full-colour children’s picture book is full to the brim with adorable aquatic creatures who have oodles of personality. Granddad’s Fish Tank is a great tool to encourage literacy development skills. It’s rich in fun rhymes and rhythm, paired with bright and quirky water-colour illustrations.”

Available here:


Books by Adrienne Body







Meet the Author: Roger Averill

‘Lucid…beautiful…tender’ are three words that have been used to describe the writing of today’s guest author. Roger Averill joins me to talk about the why of his writing and how he channels his great-grandfather, a bricklayer, to do the work.

Roger Averill is the author of Exile: the lives and hopes of Werner Pelz, the novel Keeping Faith, and a travel memoir Boy He Cry: an island odyssey. Exile won the Western Australian Premier’s Prize for Non-fiction in 2012 and was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards.  Roger lives in Melbourne, Australia.


Why do you write? I write because I have to. Because I feel compelled to. Not constantly, but regularly. Beyond that, I write because it gives me pleasure and because it provides me with a vehicle to explore the world and my responses to it. It gives me a chance to create some glint of beauty, which, if published, might also bring pleasure or meaning to someone who reads it.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’d probably be doing what I’m currently doing to support myself being a writer, that is, teaching at a university. I might’ve been doing that at a higher level, perhaps. Or I might have fulfilled my teenage ambition to become a tram driver.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? After publishing a few poems in journals in my early 20s, it took me another 20 years to have a book published. The main obstacle was having the right publisher read my manuscripts. In terms of craft, I knew I’d written a publishable novel by the time I was 30, but the mid-1990s was the time of grunge fiction and no one was interested in my gentler offering. As it turned out, Transit Lounge published that manuscript as Keeping Faith 16 years later.

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations? The people at Transit Lounge have very kindly sought my opinion about the look of each of my books. I really like all of them as artefacts, though I’m not sure my input has been that helpful. All I have to offer is the view of someone who’s bought way too many books over the years. I prefer to let the professionals do their job. The covers of all four of my books have been designed by Peter Lo. I think he’s brilliant.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I actually love everything about writing. The idea of it has given my life direction, although for 20 years that sometimes felt like a misdirection, and the craft of it has allowed me to work at improving the one thing I already had some talent in. It’s great to always feel challenged, knowing that you might be progressing further along the road to mastery but that you’ll never arrive there. Each new sentence, let alone each new book, raises its own unique set of questions, and knowing the answers to the last set only helps so much.

—the worst? Well, it’s not really an aspect of writing so much as an aspect of trying to get your writing published – rejections. I have a bulging manila folder stuffed full of them. Unless you are one of the blessed, rejections are an unfortunate part of the writing experience. Only those compelled to write push beyond them.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I probably wouldn’t do anything differently, because then I wouldn’t be me. If, however, I were advising someone very like my younger self, I would tell him he should mix more in literary circles and enrol in the best creative writing course that will take him. If I were that almost young me, I’d politely listen to that advice and then do my own thing, thereby becoming me!

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I’m extremely fortunate to have a friend and writing mentor, Chris Eipper, who, being 14 years older than me, generously passed on to me everything he’d learned about writing, surviving rejection, and being published. I think Chris told me everything I needed to know.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? The best advice Chris gave me, which he did by deed as much as by word, was to embrace the editing process. That’s where you learn the craft. If you don’t learn to love editing and re-drafting, you’ll end up not loving writing.

What’s your top tip for aspiring authors? Well, apart from embracing the editing process, it would be to find at least one very skilled, highly critical, and deeply supportive trusted reader. In other words, someone like Chris. You don’t need to agree with that reader’s opinions on your work, you just need to respect them and to know they are given with your best interests (or the best interests of your work) at heart.

How important is social media to you as an author? Unfortunately (at least for my publisher), I’m a fossil formed by the print age and I’m yet to fully find my feet in the 21st century. I write lots of emails … Don’t suppose that counts?

Do you experience ‘writer’s block’ and if so, how do you overcome it? No, I’ve never experienced it. One of my great-grandfathers, William Richard Averill, was a bricklayer. I feel I channel him: each word, each sentence, another brick. Just lay the bricks.

How do you deal with rejection? Feel crappy. Suck it up. Move on. There’s no other option.

In three words, how would you describe your writing? Lucid. Beautiful. Tender. (I cheated: these are words others have used to describe it. I’m too close to it to know.)

If you had the chance to spend an hour with any writer of your choice, living or dead, who would it be and what would you most like them to tell you about living a writing life? There are so many I would love to yarn with, and my choice would be different on a different day, but just because I’ve recently returned to his brilliant and profound sonnets I will nominate Jorge Luis Borges. I wouldn’t ask him anything. I’d just listen to whatever he chose to talk about. Of course, I’d have to learn Spanish to understand him. Then again, with a brain the size of the world, I’m guessing old Jorge had a passable knowledge of English.


Relatively Famous

Roger Averill

Michael and Marjorie Madigan refuse to be interviewed by biographer Sinclair Hughes for his new book Inside the Lion’s Den: The Literary Life of Gilbert Madigan. This is not surprising as Gilbert is Marjorie’s ex-husband and Michael’s mostly absent father. He is also Australia’s first Booker Prize winner, a feted and much lauded author that the UK and US now like to call their own. Michael cannot escape his father’s life and work, and at times his own life seems swallowed by it. His father’s success is a source of undeniable pleasure but also of great turmoil. In a world that increasingly covets fame and celebrity, Relatively Famous subtly explores notions of success, masculinity, betrayal and loss, and ultimately what it might mean to live a good life.

The book is available here.

Meet the Author: Eliza Henry-Jones

Which author past or present would celebrated Australian writer Eliza Henry-Jones choose to spend an hour with and what questions would she ask? Find out this week when I chat with Eliza about her writing life…

Eliza Henry-Jones is the author of In the Quiet and Ache. Her latest novel, P is for Pearl, is her first novel for young adults. Eliza has qualifications in English, psychology and grief, loss and trauma counselling. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Age, Daily Life and The Big Issue, among other places. She lives on a small farm in the Yarra Valley.

Find out more about Eliza at her website:


Why do you write? I write because I love it – I get terribly despondent if I don’t have a story churning away. Writing fiction is A way for me to process and understand my world and even if I never had another book published, I’d never stop writing.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I would be running equine therapy groups for children who’ve experienced significant trauma. That was my job before I decided to focus on my writing and it’s something I’d love to come back to.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Self doubt. In a way, it worked in my favour. I never really thought I was “good enough” to be a writer (whatever that means) and instead pursued a career in community services, working with high-risk children and families. The work changed me utterly and I doubt I’d be writing how I do without those years of experience.

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations?  I’ve not had any input into my covers – but love them all. I know some authors are really involved in the design process and I’d love to be a bit more hands on down the track.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The community and the flexibility. The people I’ve met in the industry are some of my very favourite in the world. While I work longer hours than I ever did in my other jobs, I can set up my days to suit myself. For instance, I can do an extra long writing day when the weather’s bad and then work out on the farm and ride my horses when the weather’s pleasant. I also tend to work longer days during winter and shorter days in summer.

—the worst?  The pressure to sell well, get reviewed by the papers and be listed for awards.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Put less pressure on myself – I’ve pushed myself extremely hard over the last few years and I’m definitely starting to feel it. I’d take things more steadily, if I had my time again.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author?That the anxiety and self-doubt doesn’t disappear when you sign a book contract – for me, it intensified (which I was not expecting!)

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Read everything you can get your hands on.

What’s your top tip for aspiring authors? Experiment – write short stories, poems and novels. Write plays and articles and essays. There’s so much value in the writing you do, regardless of whether it gets published.

How important is social media to you as an author? Some days I adore social media. I live on a little farm that’s quite a long way out from the city – 6kms from the nearest shops and 20mins from the nearest train station. Mostly, social media helps me feel connected and engaged with the writing community. Other times, it feels overwhelming. I’m getting better at recognising when I need to step back from it.

Do you experience ‘writer’s block’ and if so, how do you overcome it? I don’t entirely believe in writer’s block. I think on some days writing is much easier than on others, but you can push on, regardless. Sometimes I’ll be gentle and let myself step away from the project for a while, but other times I’ll push through. I may write 20,000 words that are all wrong, but I know I’ll eventually hit my stride again.

How do you deal with rejection? Oh, there’s so much rejection! I always have another project on the go that I can focus on.

In three words, how would you describe your writing?  Grief, love, joy.

If you had the chance to spend an hour with any writer of your choice, living or dead, who would it be and what would you most like them to tell you about living a writing life? Oh, goodness! There are so many. JK Rowling is definitely one – I grew up reading Harry Potter and find her utterly fascinating. I’d love to find out more about how she plots her books – they’re so intricate and carefully layered.


P is for Pearl

Eliza Henry-Jones

From the talented author of the celebrated novels In the Quiet and Ache comes a poignant and moving book that explores the stories we tell ourselves about our families, and what it means to belong.

Seventeen-year-old Gwendolyn P. Pearson has become very good at not thinking about the awful things that have happened to her family.

She has also become used to people talking about her dead mum. Or not talking about her and just looking at Gwen sympathetically.

And it’s easy not to think about awful things when there are wild beaches to run along, best friends Loretta and Gordon to hang out with – and a stepbrother to take revenge on.

But following a strange disturbance at the cafe where she works, Gwen is forced to confront what happened to her family all those years ago. And she slowly comes to realise that people aren’t as they first appear and that like her, everyone has a story to tell.

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Meet the Author: Mirandi Riwoe

This week the spotlight is on a critically acclaimed author whose award-winning novella The Fish Girl is one of six titles included in the 2018 Stella Prize shortlist of extraordinary books by Australian women. The winner will be announced on April 12. In the meantime, meet Brisbane-based writer Mirandi Riwoe…

Mirandi’s debut crime novel, She be Damned, was released in 2017 and is followed this year with A Necessary Murder. She is the recipient of a Queensland Literary Awards fellowship and awarded an Asialink residency at the Shanghai Writers’ Association in 2018. Currently, she is Peril Magazine’s prose editor. She has won the historical category of the Scarlet Stiletto Awards and has been shortlisted for the Josephine Ulrick Short Story Prize, Overland’s Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize, Fish Short Story Prize, and the Luke Bitmead Bursary. She has also been longlisted for the ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize and CWA (UK) dagger awards. Her novella The Fish Girl won Seizure’s Viva la Novella V. Mirandi’s work has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Review of Australian Fiction, Rex, Peril and Shibboleth and Other Stories. Mirandi has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies (QUT).


Why do you write? I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was young and reading Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton. I wanted to tell stories that other readers could enjoy. I still want to tell enjoyable stories, but I also want my stories to be worthwhile.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I think maybe I’d be a school teacher.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? I think it takes time to polish both your work and your skill at writing. Maybe the obstacle lies in your work and your writing not being ready. It’s also a pretty tough, competitive market to break into too.

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations? I’ve been lucky because my editors have each been wonderful, in that there is a lot of negotiation throughout the editing process. Not so much input into the covers. Usually you’re presented with what they think is appropriate, and you can maybe change things you think do not work.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Working in my own time and environment.

—the worst? I guess it’s not necessarily great pay for most of us  🙂

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Read like a writer.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I wish I’d known more about the short story competitions etc., literary journals and sites like Aerogramme that notify writers of writerly things.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Covered a bit below.

What’s your top tip for aspiring authors? I like what a Varuna ‘Publisher Introduction Program’ judge wrote in her feedback one year – to treat your writing as a craft, like you’d treat any other artistic pursuit. For example, you don’t just decide you’re going to be a painter or opera singer – it takes years of honing, training or practice.

How important is social media to you as an author? I like it because it keeps me in touch with other authors, but I don’t know that it’s that helpful in garnering new readers.

Do you experience ‘writer’s block’ and if so, how do you overcome it? Sometimes it takes me a while to ease into a scene or the day’s writing. I think it was Hemingway who said to always leave something for next time to go on with in your writing. I like that idea. So I’ll write what I can for the day but leave the next sentence, paragraph, idea for the next day, to get me going again.

How do you deal with rejection? Ugh rejection is so hard, I think at any time in your career. My biggest reaction to this, and what I say to fellow author-rejectionees, is to “keep on writing, keep on writing,” a bit like Dory.

If you had the chance to spend an hour with any writer of your choice, living or dead, who would it be and what would you most like them to tell you about living a writing life? Well, I have always wanted to have a chat and a whisky with Val McDermid. I guess maybe I’d ask her how she copes with distractions, and if she works to a daily writing schedule.


The Fish Girl

Winner of the 2017 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize

Sparked by the description of a ‘Malay trollope’ in W. Somerset Maugham’s story, The Four Dutchmen, Mirandi Riwoe’s novella, The Fish Girl tells of an Indonesian girl whose life is changed irrevocably when she moves from a small fishing village to work in the house of a Dutch merchant. There she finds both hardship and tenderness as her traditional past and colonial present collide.

Told with an exquisitely restrained voice and coloured with lush description, this moving book will stay with you long after the last page.

 The Fish Girl is available here.



Meet the Illustrator: Tash Macfarlane

It is my special pleasure today to introduce debut illustrator Tash Macfarlane, who is inspired by nature and metaphors and cannot imagine a life without art to express the joy of being alive.

Tash Macfarlane lives and works in Perth, Western Australia. Mainly working in watercolours, she uses Manga and comic-style art to bring her ideas to life. Inspired by the worlds from Nintendo’s Pokemon and Wizard of the Coast’s Magic the Gathering, Tash’s work has been shared across the world via social media. After a tough few years battling cancer, Tash, 23, uses bright and vibrant colours to express the joy and brightness her life has become since beating the disease. The middle grade novel Maximus by Steve Heron is the first book she has illustrated. Visit her on Facebook at


Maximus is your debut illustration project. How did it come about?

Maximus was offered to me after I was informed by Serenity Press that author Steve Heron liked my art style. Feeling chuffed, I took on the challenge and accepted the opportunity to illustrate his book. I then met Steve for coffee and discussed his book and vision and got to know him a little better, making me feel better about the project!

Did you work closely with Steve to create the illustrations for his book?

I only saw him once throughout the process, after I made thumbnail sketches for most of the chapters. He gave me his input and I learned about little details he imagined his character having, such as freckles or the general feel for where he lived.

How specific was the brief you were given for each illustration? Was there room for your own creative interpretation of the text?

The brief was quite broad and allowed for my creative process to be shown. After reading the text, with some back and forth between myself and the editors, we settled on some designs which I then rendered into the final illustrations.

How did you go about the illustration process?

It was a fun and challenging process, forcing me to try drawing new things I hadn’t had much exposure to before, but I learnt a lot and am proud of the final product. Each image came with about four to six sketches before merging a few which resulted in the final sketch.

How long did it take to produce each illustration?

About three to five hours per piece generally speaking, which included research and practice before the final pieces.

What did you enjoy most about working on Maximus?

I enjoyed imagining and plucking the images from my head and putting them to paper. I hope the readers can match them up to the text!

What’s next for you? Do you have another illustration project lined up?

Right now, I am not working on any projects. I’m hoping to be working on another one very soon however.

Can you imagine your life without art?
Definitely not. Art is very important to me, it’s a form of relaxation, expression and emotion. Without art I wouldn’t know how to use this energy or ideas! And seeing people’s reaction and their reasoning and interpretation of my pieces makes it worthwhile.

What inspires you most creatively?

Nature itself and metaphors. I like the surreal and I love how beautiful nature is, but it is impossible to capture its beauty, so you can only try to manifest it into a metaphorical piece and then try and reason with it and others! It’s like a good debate.

Describe yourself as an artist in three words.

Fine-lined, colourful world-builder.

What is your favourite art media?

Watercolour is one of my favourites, but I have not mastered it at all, that will take many years of practice! But it is fun to use and play with. I also enjoy digital but there’s something about tactile mediums, the grain of the paper, the grasping of a brush, squeezing the paint out of its tube.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

“Draw what makes you happy, I want to see what goes on in your mind, let me see it.” – A nurse who was treating me at Chemotherapy.

Is there any advice you would give someone who dreams of becoming an artist?

The above advice is pretty good. If you enjoy what you’re drawing, it will be evident in your sketches and books and final pieces. People can really tell if you’re having fun or not. If you’re not, then you should take a break, and then come back to it with a fresh mindset. You’ll find something to like, maybe it’s the setting, the colour palette you get to use, the mediums. Find what you enjoy and really go for it.

On a lighter note – If you had the chance to spend an hour with any artist of your choice living or dead, who would it be and what would you most like them to tell you about living an artistic life?

I think my choice would be Kristen Plescow. She does amazing and colourful pieces full of life and it really draws you into those pieces, definitely an influence on me. I would want to know how she renders such beautiful textures and how her sketch processes go.



Steve Heron

Illus. Tash Macfarlane


Mitch says stuff sucks. His life has been turned upside down since his dad started working FIFO at the mines.

From a messy bedroom to a close footy match; an annoying little sister to incredible Anzac projects; losing friends and losing face, Mitch deals with an explosion of feelings associated with bullying, fighting, suspension, family conflict and his first crush, all in the space of eight days.

Will an encounter with a surprising new feathered friend and the reliability of old ones help Mitch get his mojo back?

Maximus is available here from Serenity Press.




Meet the Author: Amanda Bridgeman

Amanda’s top tip for aspiring authors: Never stop learning. The world keeps turning and life moves on, so if you don’t turn with it, you’ll be left behind. This doesn’t just apply to storytelling, but for everything be it software and IT, to marketing practices, to attending conventions. Everything! Keep your finger on the pulse of the industry and never underestimate the power of networking.


Born and raised in the seaside/country town of Geraldton, Western Australia, Amanda Bridgeman hails from fishing and farming stock. The youngest of four children, her three brothers raised her on a diet of Rocky, Rambo, Muhammad Ali and AC/DC.

She moved to Perth (Western Australia) to study film & television/creative writing at Murdoch University, earning her a BA in Communication Studies. Perth has been her home ever since, aside from a nineteen month stint in London (England) where she dabbled in Film & TV ‘Extra’ work.

Her third novel Aurora: Meridian was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. She has released seven books in total with more on the way.

Find out more about Amanda:





Why do you write?  I write first and foremost to entertain people. Dreaming up interesting worlds, relatable characters and nail-biting stories is always fun for me, but seeing the effect it has on readers is truly priceless. Making them smile, laugh, gasp, shout and cry, is such an amazing feeling.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’d probably be making movies. I studied film and TV at university, so storytelling has always been in my blood. Anything that involves creating something that others derive pleasure from – is where I’d be!

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Myself! It’s taken me a long time to be confident in myself and my abilities – and I’m still not quite there! But self-belief was definitely an obstacle that I had to overcome. The toughest part is making the decision to step through that door. Once you do, life gets easier. It’s still a challenge, but with each book I get better and stronger and more confident.

 How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations? Yep, the first five book covers of the Aurora series were done by my ex-publisher, Momentum, and I was always allowed to provide feedback on them. I only had creative input into the actual design of the covers from Meridian onwards (and Meridian onwards, I must say, reflect the story within better!). The cover concepts for Centralis and Eden, were definitely mine and the final result was very similar to what I had asked for. The last two books I released, Decima and The Time of The Stripes, were self-published, so I had full creative control to instruct the designers as I saw fit.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The best aspect is hearing from readers about how much they’ve enjoyed your books. You really can’t put a price on that. It warms the soul.

—the worst? It’s bloody hard work – especially when working full time in another job. You essentially end up working two jobs and having little time for anything else. There’s a lot of admin/background stuff that needs attending to, so it’s not all just writing. And it’s certainly not as glamourous (or laid back/lazy) as people think!

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’d start sooner! I used to write stories as a teenager and honestly wish I’d continued through into my adult life. I drifted away from writing, went to study film and TV at university, then drifted away from that too – thinking my job prospects were slim. But my love for stories never died and years later I came full circle back to it. So what I would do differently is not give up hope and follow my dreams.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? You’re going to need a whole lot of patience and thick skin, but if you’re prepared to work hard, the rewards will be worth it!

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Keep writing. When you have a book on submission, don’t stop and wait to hear on it. Move onto the next project. The most successful authors have a production line of novels all at varying degrees in the life cycle. You can’t get published unless you have a finished novel and you can’t have a finished novel without a developed idea. Just keep moving because the book you have on submission may not be picked up, so you want something else waiting in the wings. And even then, if your book is not picked up traditionally, there’s always self-publishing which is a very viable option these days.


The Time of the Stripes

Amanda Bridgeman



They survived the alien visitation. But can they survive each other?

No one had heard of Victoryville before. But when an alien spaceship appears, hovering over the town, the whole world suddenly knows its name.

After twenty-four hours and a failed military assault, the ship disappears without a trace. When the outside world restores communication to the town, thousands are reported missing.

Those who remain in Victoryville are irreparably changed. However, only some have been left with strange red marks upon their skin.

Quarantined from the outside world and segregated within, alliances are made and relationships are shattered, as everyone fights for the truth – and for their own survival.

From the best-selling author of the Aurora series, The Time of the Stripes is a sci-fi thriller where The Leftovers and Under The Dome meets The Lord of The Flies.

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Meet the Author: Diane Guntrip

A passion to help young people address problems facing them in today’s world is the driving force behind today’s guest Diane Guntrip‘s decision to take a new direction into writing and speaking.

Diane is an educator of many years standing both in Western Australia and the UK. Since the release of Dear H in 2014, she has presented workshops in WA primary schools based on the book. In 2016 Diane presented to audiences in the UK, including Nottingham University students.

Her wide interests have actively involved her in many creative pursuits and as well as writing and teaching, she has created businesses in jewellery design and interior decoration.

Diane is now semi-retired and her aim is to continue writing and introducing her books to a wider audience. She is passionate about helping young people address problems that are facing them in today’s world.

To find out more about Diane and her books, visit her website.


Why do you write? Writing is only a part of my creative psyche. I have and am still involved in other creative pursuits.  Writing is just one way of expressing myself creatively.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I would have to be involved in another form of creativity. In the past, I have been a teacher of textiles, have been involved in jewellery design as well as designing home furnishings. I am presently learning to play the piano and learning French. I am also a traveller by nature so visiting other countries would be high on the list.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? My first book, Dear H was started many years ago. It was meant to be just a short story and I had no thoughts of publishing it at the time. A long the way and over the years, the book developed into a story that was relevant to today’s young people. I decided to self publish as I wanted to reach my audience whilst the topic of bullying was hitting the headlines.  For me, the biggest obstacle in submitting the manuscript to traditional publishers is the time factor between submitting and waiting for a response. However, I have recently submitted the manuscript to traditional publishers.

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations? I have had total control in the development of both of my books. They are diaries and I was specific in my instructions to my type setter and chose a font which was closest to the handwriting of a young girl. I also chose the daisy theme on the covers of both books as it is important as the daisy was  chosen as the emblem for an anti-bullying group.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Visiting schools and giving presentations. I find it very rewarding. I have been a teacher all of my working life but giving presentations gives a different perspective into working with students.  The feedback I receive from the students makes the writing process worthwhile.

—the worst? Spending hours on book promotion.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? With the knowledge that I now have of the writing process, publication and book promotion, I do not think I would contemplate writing a book at all.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? How hard and frustrating the whole process is.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? I cannot recall being given any advice.

Diane’s top tip for aspiring authors: Write to fulfil yourself.



Both books are available here.










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