Meet the Author: Susanna Rogers

Susanna’s top tip: Write, write, write and then write some more. If you’re serious, finish your first novel and then write the next one because your second book will be much better than your first. And read. A lot. Most of all, enjoy it!

I met Susanna Rogers when we both joined a critique group organised by best-selling novelist Anna Jacobs, so it’s a particular pleasure to introduce her to you today. In January we’ll celebrate the 14th anniversary of our close-knit critique group and in that time I’ve seen Susy’s writing at all stages from initial concept and first draft to final polished manuscript. She’s one of the hardest working, most committed writers I know and I’m thrilled to see Infiltration out in the marketplace and available for an audience of teen readers, who I’m sure will want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next in this gripping novel about an elite soldier from the future on a mission to change the past.

 

Susanna Rogers is the author of kick butt books for young adults. She also writes romance and at one point moved to a life of crime – you might be seeing more of that. She loves writing young adult, partly because she’s an overgrown teenager and partly because she can write the kick butt heroines she adores. She’s also a kickboxer and dreams of empowering girls and guys around the globe to believe in themselves, to take care and follow their own dreams. Susanna believes in love and kicking ass and a little bit of murder here and there.

She would love to hear from you – susannarogers.com.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I write young adult books because they’re fun and exciting to write. It was liberating writing my first YA book because I felt I could let rip with the ideas and also with the way I write. Travel to another dimension? No problem. Save the world from a virus that’s going to wipe out the population? Sure, I can do that. See what I mean about it being fun… For me, it’s a wonderful way to explore different characters and ideas.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? A vampire slayer, for sure. Or a kickboxing instructor. No, hang on, I am actually a kickboxing instructor. The strange thing is that in some ways, I’d be happier if I wasn’t a writer because there’d be much less pain and frustration – but, then, I wouldn’t have the highs I get from writing. And I wouldn’t give them up for the world.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I couldn’t possibly name one ‘best’ aspect. There are too many things that I love about it. I like setting my own hours which often means going to the gym in the morning, then coming home, choosing some CDs for my background music and getting completely lost in my characters and story. My writing is at its best when I have no clue what CD is playing and no idea of anything else going on around me.

—the worst? Like a lot of people, I don’t handle uncertainty well and the writing world is full of uncertainty. Unless you’re JK Rowling or John Green, which I am not. I would like to have their problems of having thousands of fans and too much money.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’d rather not think about that because it’s easy to be wise in retrospect. Besides, writing is a journey and you have to try different things, experiment and make mistakes or you’re never going to learn. Having said that, the one thing I would have done differently is that I would love to have written The Hunger Games before Suzanne Collins did. I was so jealous when I first heard the idea behind the book!

BOOK BYTE

Infiltration

Susanna Rogers

2120: A world ravaged by a devastating virus. Those healthy enough to live in New Nation lead a sanitized, orderly life where everything is tightly guarded by a brutal government. Lives, thoughts, information and emotions are all strictly controlled.

Now: Seventeen-year-old elite soldier Nicola Gray is sent back in time for an important assignment. She alone will stop the virus before it takes over the world – her mission, to gather intelligence, find the cause and stop the threat, whatever it takes. She is trained to kill.

But the past is not what Nicola is expecting. Overwhelmed by an alien world, she discovers feelings she can’t handle and a world with immense personal freedom and people who care for each other. She wants to stay. She wants to live. She wants a lot of things she can’t have…

LINKS

Author website https://www.susannarogers.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Susanna-Rogers-Author-1142712475829701/

Amazon https://www.amazon.com.au/Infiltration-Book-1-Susanna-Rogers-ebook/dp/B077C2B4SM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510803044&sr=8-1&keywords=infiltration+susanna

Kobo/Nook/other https://www.books2read.com/u/3L9dN5

 

 

 

 

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Meet the Author: Josey Hurley

Josey’s top tip for aspiring authors: Never give up and seize any opportunity – believe in the brilliance of your work.

Josey Hurley is a clinical psychologist who has worked in both educational and private settings. She loves stories – telling stories, reading stories and writing stories, that instil problem-solving skills, resilience and courage. Throughout her clinical work, she has seen the power and impact of words connecting to children’s lives by enabling them to feel safe in their world, manage their world, and to not feel alone.

She lives with her family on the South Coast of Western Australia.

Max the Mighty is her first children’s picture book.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I love words and the genesis of them and am enthralled by the magic that happens and the messages that can be conveyed when the words become sentences that burst with life and connect us to each other.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? My other two passions – working as a clinical psychologist and spending quality time in my art studio exploring the realms of pastels, acrylics and oils. I see both these areas equally as creative and I continue to be engaged with all three and feel very blessed that I am able to do so. And may it never stop!

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Getting a rung on the board. Even though I have had ‘other’ items published (academic) this was different and more difficult.  When I met with publishers they were impressed, but I was unknown in this genre.

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations? Yes, as it is about bringing the words alive and I have re-shined my negotiating skills. Finding a great Illustrator was essential and I have been very fortunate in finding the right match – which has resulted in a joyous journey.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Finding people that encourage and ‘get’ you.

—the worst? Editing – how many drafts?

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

I would hungrily search for more support networks, such as SCBWI through which I made contact with the talented Teena Raffa-Mulligan.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That it is a process that takes time and time and time and time – so you need stamina and perseverance.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Never give up.

 

 

BOOK BYTE

Max the Mighty

Written by Josey Hurley, Illustrated by Katherine Appleby

Max is a much-loved dog with a great big problem: his mum and dad love the beach, but Max is terrified of the ocean! This is a charming book about challenging your fears, and learning to have a great time in the process.

 

Links to Sales Sites and Author Website

Dennis Jones is the National Distributor – Angus and Robertson/Booktopia/The Nile/Fishpond/QBD/Abbeys/Paperbark Merchants/Little Steps plus others.

Website being developed.

Direct sales to:

Josey Hurley email: alps.1@bigpond.net.au

Katherine Appleby website

 

Meet the Author: Elizabeth Foster

It’s my pleasure today to introduce Elizabeth Foster as part of the blog tour for her debut novel Esme’s Wish.

Elizabeth’s top tip for authors: Be bloody-minded about setting aside time to write. Shut off social media during your writing time – I have an app on my computer that blocks Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the usual culprits! Also read, read, read.

Elizabeth Foster hails from Queensland originally, but now lives in Sydney. She loves swimming in the ocean, walking, and playing the piano (badly). As a child, she was called Dizzy Lizzy-which she regarded as an insult all her life, until she started writing. Now, daydreaming is a central part of what she does. Reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds, and once she started writing stories, she couldn’t stop. She’s at her happiest when immersed in stories, plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters. Esme’s Wish is her first novel.

Website: http://www.elizabethfoster.com.au

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethFosterAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/e_foster3

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elizabethfoster_/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/efoster346/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36498756-esme-s-wish

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I write to explore new worlds and to experience new things. I am also intrigued with the alchemy of writing – the way a story can take on its own identity and sometimes feel like it is writing itself. It is a mysterious but fascinating process.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Anything which would enable me to express myself creatively. I dabbled in painting before I began writing so I would probably go back to that.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? My book fell between the cracks when it came to finding a publisher. It crossed between the age categories of middle grade and young adult, a no-no for children’s literature. Esme’s Wish eventually found a home at Odyssey Books, a small press who like stories a little out of the ordinary, like mine!

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations? I worked closely with Odyssey Books to bring the book to publication and also with Furea, a talented fantasy illustrator from Melbourne, who designed the cover.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I can set my own hours. I can write anywhere, although I prefer to write either at home or in familiar cafés. One of the other great aspects is the reading side of it. I always considered reading a luxury and put other things first, but now I make it a priority. I love that reading informs my writing – finally I’ve got permission to have my nose in a book!

—the worst? It can be hard to make time for the practicalities in life. Now that my book is published I have even more on my plate. But I wouldn’t trade my job for any other.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Be kinder to myself during those first baby steps of learning how to write, when self doubt can be crippling. Be more patient when obstacles come my way.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That learning to trust the writing process would be the antidote to a lot of my fear. That establishing a routine and sticking to it, no matter what, would get my book written. That reading is crucial to writing.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? I like any words that inspire a can-do attitude or help build grit. Writers need plenty of that! One of my favourites is by Lao Tzu.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

BOOK BYTE

Esme’s Wish

Elizabeth Foster

 

\

This was her last chance.

Her hand twisted high in the air.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the actions of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

https://www.amazon.com/Esmes-Wish-Elizabeth-Foster-ebook/dp/B076N9WNTS

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/esmes-wish/id1299418557?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/esme-s-wish

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Elizabeth_Foster_Esme_s_Wish?id=Yso6DwAAQBAJ

Book depository (free postage)

https://www.bookdepository.com/Esmes-Wish-Elizabeth-Foster/9781925652246

Printed copies are also available from:

JWFK website- www.justkidslit.com/shop/young-adult-books/esmes-wish

Odyssey Books   – http://odysseybooks.com.au/titles/9781925652246/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘GIFT’ YOURSELF WITH ESME’S WISH! #BOOKGIVEAWAY!

Simply like or comment on any website or social media post on the Books On Tour Blog Blitz for Esme’s Wish for your chance to WIN a signed copy of this remarkable book.

For more details please click here.

For more information on blog tours at Books On Tour please visit www.justkidslit.com/books-on-tour.

 

 

 

Meet the Author: Lois Murphy

Lois’s top tip for aspiring authors: One thing I always do is read my work aloud. It is essential for balancing sentences, getting them to flow and identifying redundant words and clunky phrasing. When you’re close to a work, your eye tends to skim it, but you can always pick up clumsy writing by hearing it.

Lois Murphy has travelled widely, most recently spending six years exploring Australia in a homemade 4WD truck, working mainly in small or remote towns. After four years in Darwin, she made a break for a cooler climate, moving to Tasmania in 2014.  She has had work published in a range of literary journals and anthologies, and has won a handful of prizes for her writing, including the Northern Territory Literary Award and the Sisters in Crime Best New Talent Prize.

Her first novel, Soon, won the 2015 Tasmanian Premier’s Prize for Best Unpublished Manuscript, and has just been published by Transit Lounge.

To find out more about Lois, visit her website www.loismurphy.wordpress.com

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? The answer to this is quick and easy – because I enjoy it immensely and it’s fun. I can create worlds and people and explore them and then share them, which is pretty great.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’ve always daydreamed a lot, so I’d probably spend a lot of time staring out of windows. I do quite a lot of visual art practice too; my favourite mediums to work in are glass and ceramics.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Probably me. I’m not someone who pushes themselves forward, and lack of confidence is always an issue, so I found approaching publishers difficult to begin with. And I find the current processes of sending them work off-putting as well, the focus on a ‘pitch’ – reducing a creative work that’s taken you years to a marketing slogan. I find the whole concept a bit soul destroying, it has so little to do with creativity.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? When a story works, when it hooks you and it’s like coming up for air when you stop because you’ve been so immersed in it all. The ultimate escapism.

—the worst? Justifying the time you spend on it. There’s always so much to do and sometimes it can be hard to relax and enjoy something that seems such an indulgent pastime.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would be more confident in sending work out, not be so hesitant. Getting work accepted and published is hugely helpful, in many ways.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I didn’t really set out to become an author, I just write because I enjoy it. For many years I mainly wrote letters to people. I always wanted to write a book though, it seemed such a huge thing to do, such an achievement. I think, probably, write for yourself, write what you enjoy, don’t try to emulate.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? For me, one of the best things I ever did was voluntary editorial work at a couple of literary journals. Reading the sort of work writers send in helps tremendously, you get to see where people tend to go wrong. The most common problem is lack of an actual story, just an idea left hanging. No matter how great the writing is, there has to be a point. And get rid of adverbs and adjectives, keep the writing clear and fresh, not bogged down with descriptives.

Soon

Lois Murphy

  • Winner of Tasmanian Premier’s Prize for an Unpublished
    Manuscript
    • The story of an ex-cop and a haunted and dying
    Australian town and the handful of residents who can’t,
    or won’t, leave
    • Literary thriller with a page-turning plot. Heralds a
    compelling new talent

An almost deserted town in the middle of nowhere,
Nebulah’s days of mining and farming prosperity – if they
ever truly existed – are long gone. These days even the
name on the road sign into town has been removed. Yet
for Pete, an ex-policeman, Milly, Li and a small band of
others, it’s the only place they have ever felt at home.
One winter solstice the birds disappear. A strange,
residual and mysterious mist arrives. It is a real and potent
force, yet also strangely emblematic of the complacency
and unease that afflicts so many of our small towns, and
the country that Murphy knows so well.
Partly inspired by the true story of Wittenoom, the ill-fated
West Australian asbestos town, Soon is the story of the
death of a haunted town, and the plight of the people
who either won’t, or simply can’t, abandon all they have
ever had. With finely wrought characters and brilliant
storytelling, it is a taut and original novel, where the
people we come to know, and those who are drawn to
the town’s intrigue, must ultimately fight for survival.

Sales site: http://transitlounge.com.au/shop/soon/

 

 

Meet the Author: Kate Russell

 Today it is my pleasure to take part in a blog tour for a special publication and introduce you to Kate Russell, one of the authors of Mystery, Mayhem & Magic, an anthology of amazing adventures for young readers.

 “Take a path through the forest of imagination into mysterious journeys filled with mayhem and a kaleidoscope of magical creatures. From the authors of Shock! Horror! Gasp! and Fan-Tas-Tic-Al Tales, Mystery, Mayhem & Magic is the new anthology written by the Ten Penners … Come and explore!”

 

The blog tour started on Sunday and will end on Monday October 23. You might like to check out the following links during this week:

http://dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au/ 

https://elaineoustonauthor.com/

https://candicelemonscott.com.au

https://thoughtsbecomewords.com/

www.journeygirlontheroadtopublication.com

https://thetenpenners.wordpress.com/

http://www.greenleafpress.net/

Special Announcement – book giveaway!

There will be a giveaway of a copy of Mystery, Mayhem & Magic! At the end of the blog tour those who have left a comment on this page, or on any of the other hosts’ pages during the blog tour, will be in the running to receive a free copy. The winner will be announced at the book launch at Broadbeach Library, Gold Coast, Queensland on 4 November.

So make a comment to be in the running. Good luck!

There’s also a colouring competition for children to send in via email. The winners will be announced at the book launch.

Download the book launch competition form here. (Scroll down the page to find the pdf of Plinko.)

Kate Russell loves reading books and stories so much she decided to write some herself. The stories Kate has written for Mystery, Mayhem & Magic are loosely based on her family life – with a bit of magic thrown in! Kate has also written several novels for adults and young adults and hopes to release them all into the wild over the next two to three years. For more about Kate, please check out her website:  http://katerussell-writer.weebly.com/

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I grew up surrounded by books.  My mother is a big reader and her book collection is huge, and mine isn’t far behind.  Wherever I go, my books go too.  My husband is resigned to the fact that every time we move, half the boxes are filled with my books!

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a voracious reader.  I even liked reading the novels you had to read for English at school.  (That’s when I discovered Jane Austen.)  Some books in my collection I’ve had for over 40 years.    I loved Enid Blyton as a child, particularly The Wishing Chair, and because I desperately wanted a pony, I also have quite a few novels featuring horses. I also loved The Borrowers series by Mary Norton (she also wrote Bedknobs & Broomsticks, the novel the Disney movie is based on), and anything by KM Peyton (she wrote the Flambards series, a family saga which begins just before WWI) and Leon Garfield (my favourite of his is Smith, about a pickpocket in 18th century England).  These are books I read again and again.

As a kid, all I wanted for birthday and Christmas presents were books, and nothing much has changed.

How long have you been writing?

I’d always enjoyed writing stories when I had to do it for school, but it was only when I was about 19 doing my secretarial course at TAFE and learning to type that I began to think about writing stuff when I didn’t have to.  My friend Isa and I, banging away on manual typewriters, wrote some truly terrible romance stories featuring us as the heroines and tall, dark, handsome heroes who fell madly in love with us.  My heroes usually looked like Tom Selleck, as I had a huge crush on him as Magnum PI.  That was a TV series in the ’80s.  Boy, I’m feeling my age now!

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I write for adults, young adults and middle grade.  My most recent stories (for Mystery, Mayhem & Magic) feature my stepson, Kai, in various magical adventures.  They were great fun to write and I think Kai quite enjoyed having a starring role.  For Fan-tas-tic-al Tales, I wrote a poem, a fairy tale and a novelette.  My novelette featured a teenage witch, Kylie Cooper, and I liked her so much that I have since written three more (as yet unpublished) YA novels revolving around her and her family.

I have also self-published a romantic suspense novel with supernatural elements called Shadow of a Soldier (which is available on Amazon and as a Kindle e-book).  I have two more draft novels for adults:  a historical mystery and a humorous crime novel featuring a crime scene cleaner as the protagonist.  I have also drafted a standalone YA novel set during an alternative colonial Australia.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I love fantasy and science fiction, mystery and family sagas with deep, dark secrets.  My three favourite Australian authors are Kate Morton, Kimberley Freeman (aka Kim Wilkins) and Liane Moriarty, who all write brilliant, page-turning novels with secrets at their heart.  I also love Jasper Fforde, Neil Gaiman, Diana Gabaldon, Charlaine Harris, Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton.  I read a lot of YA too, and, apart from the queen herself, JK Rowling, I also love Eoin Colfer, Cassandra Clare, Philip Pullman and Philip Reeve, who wrote the Mortal Engines series, an all-time favourite of mine.  (They’re making a movie based on the books at the moment, directed by Peter Jackson, and I am beyond excited!)  This is, of course, just a small sample of the authors I read, and I’m always discovering more…

At the moment, in honour of the 20th anniversary of the release of the first Harry Potter novel, I’m listening to the whole series again on CD (read by the wonderful Stephen Fry).  I’m up to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and it doesn’t matter how many times I read (or listen) to this series, I never tire of it.  I’m also reading my third Kimberley Freeman novel, Gold Dust.

What projects are you working on at the present?

Once Mystery, Mayhem & Magic is released into the world, I am getting back to editing my own draft novels.  I aim to release my second adult novel, The Players, a mystery set during the silent movie era in Australia, by the end of the year.  It would be good to get a Kylie Cooper out too, but I will have to see how I go!

The Ten Penners

Meet the Author: Bobbie Richardson

Bobbie’s top tip for aspiring authors: Find a place, whether at home or at a café you love to go to, and make that your business place to write. I always treat myself with a cuppa and do at least 1.5 hours of work at a time before breaks.

Bobbie Richardson, a local Maleny resident from New Zealand, moved to Australia in 1998.

“I was made aware of a system that holds humanity back when I had an incredible experience with a Cherokee Elder who I met and worked with for a few years,” she said. “Taking my hand she talked to me telepathically for over an hour at a time. This led me to using my visions (real things Bobbie saw outside this reality) I had received all of my life to focus on the truth of what’s really going on and to find out more about humanity ‘s potential.”

Bobbie has three children now aged 12 to 28 and has experienced the diversities and different needs of each individual soul.

Bobbie has written and illustrated two children’s books, with a third on the way. She was also a singer songwriter and has recorded and sung 15 originals, winning a competition with Brisbane radio station B105 and Channel Seven’s Today Tonight. This led to performing her original song at a Broncos’ game in front of over 20,000 people. Bobbie created a song to go with her first picture book to unite all children.

Website: www.bobbierichardson.com.au

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/childrensnewagebooks

 

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I started to write because my life had led me to a lot of great information about humanity’s potential. My journey took me to USA to work with an Elder, and to Uluru with David Icke but most of all I learnt over the years to trust my dreams and visions as many came true.

This led me to illustrate my first picture book, designed to open children’s imagination for the purpose of igniting these potentials I was taught.

I went on to write The Timekeepers Void to enhance our lives, to step out of the programming of our system, to entice children and adults to think outside the box, to believe in magic again, that anything is possible.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I used to be a singer/songwriter and always an artist so I would probably still keep on creating in some form or another.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Honestly I totally failed English at school so to let that go, the belief that I wasn’t good enough, and to believe in myself enough to send my books out to the right people and never give up has been huge. I’m a bit like a dog with a bone, if it feels good, ignore the logic and just do.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Working from home so I can still be with my girls as I am a solo mum.

—the worst? Spelling, grammar and motivation when there’s still housework to be done.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Invest more in myself earlier.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? If it’s your passion, then treat it like a business and invest into that business all your time and finances that you are able to…don’t hold back.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? To keep your eye on the ball, no matter what drama you create in your mind.

BOOK BYTE

Jonar & Kitty –the Timekeepers Void

The story takes the reader on an exciting adventure through an inner porthole to another dimension.  This dimension is full of magical, fantastical creatures where animals and humans are equals and plants have the ability to heal and lead us into other realities. This other-world adventure throws two teenagers, Jonar and Kitty, into a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Through saving their friends, they also find a hidden gem within themselves and are then able to unite both dimensions, returning us all home.

Visit the world of Elphnye where the colours are brighter and the days are shorter, where the stars move before your eyes and the trees hold other realities. Meet Spirit, the black panther; Jabene, a dramatic fairy; Alder, a wizard who made a terrible mistake and was sentenced to a life as a badger; Loopnit, a crazy little man with the ability to teleport and many more characters.

Designed for children who are looking for awareness of self and unlimited imagination.

Jonar & Kitty – The Timekeepers Void, is an 18 chapter magical adventure novel written and illustrated to introduce other dimensions, whilst learning the value and potential of the imagination, stillness of mind, and focused intention. Taking you through a maze of self-awareness, it is written like a fantasy story along the lines of: Narnia, Golden Compass and Alice and Wonderland. Therefore, any child could read it as just a mystical fantasy or they could choose to delve deeper and explore their own potential.

Written to enhance our lives and to step out of the programming of our system. It entices children and adults to think outside the box and to believe in magic again, that anything is possible.

The ebook is available here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Author: Goldie Alexander

 

Goldie’s top tip for aspiring authors: One word: PERSEVERANCE. And try and write every day, if only a sentence. Practice makes perfect.

Goldie Alexander’s 90 books and prize-winning short stories appear both in Australia and internationally. Her ability to bring both the past and other worlds to light touches the hearts of adults and children. She writes in almost every genre and has won many awards for her novels and short stories. Her My Australian Story: Surviving Sydney Cove is used in almost every primary school as well as being published in New Zealand and re-titled in the UK as Transported.

Recent books for older children include The Youngest Cameleer – how Muslim Cameleers helped find Uluru, My Holocaust Story: Hanna, now published in Canada, and the sci fi Cybertricks, which won a 2016 Notable. Other recent novels for young adults include That Stranger Next Door, and In Hades: a verse novel, short-listed in 2015 for an Aurealis Award.

Just published is the SHAKESPEARE NOW! TRILOGY, three novels that use contemporary plots and young protagonists based on well-known plays.

Goldie speaks in schools, tertiary and community centres, festivals and also runs classes in creative and memoir writing for adults as ‘Mentoring Your Memoir’. Her website is www.goldiealexander.com

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? Can’t think of anything I’d rather do. In fact, if I ever contemplate the idea, I’m totally horrified and rush back to my keyboard.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I wouldn’t mind being a film critic, as I am also passionate about good cinema. I would happily take over from Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton now they have retired. Any offers?

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Finding publishers who liked what I wrote. I was lucky in that my first four YA novels were commissioned, but after that life became tougher and I had to take all those knockbacks with gritted teeth. My saddest story is that I had something like 30 middle grade novels that I had to cannibalise into 30 longish short stories. These were finally published as three short story collections. Another example … Cybertricks was fifteen years old before it was finally published and declared a Notable in 2016. Then I was accused of plagiarising Hunger Games’ for my ideas.

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations? Far more than I have ever been. I used the illustrator Aaron Pockock for the Cybertricks cover. Coming in October is my trilogy SHAKESPEARE NOW!  re-tellings of well-known plays using young protagonists and contemporary settings, with covers illustrated by the extraordinarily gifted Paul Taplin. When a friend hinted that these covers were ‘too different from the usual YA covers’, I replied, ‘Exactly!’

These longish novels include The Trytth Chronicles (as a sci fi version of The Tempest) Gap Year Nanny (as Macbeth set in present-day Melbourne) and Changing History? (as a time-warp Romeo and Juliet set in Berlin in 1928, and Melbourne now)

Otherwise I am dependent on my publishers for editing, layout and design. I wouldn’t be much good at those, anyway.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The process of creation and finally ending up with something that might work after a million re-edits. Though the process can be unbelievably frustrating, I wouldn’t spend my life any other way (except as a film critic?).

—the worst? That blank screen. And rejection letters. Even the most experienced writers get those, though they usually remain very quiet about receiving them. But I always mention this to ‘newbies’ as I think it motivates them to keep writing. I also run Writing Memoir workshops for seniors. Watching their delight at something they have written is enormously pleasurable.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would be more aware of the upcoming importance of social media and possibly spend more time circulating amongst other writers and publishers. But I am rather shy and at the time I started off as a writer, I wasn’t well enough to do all that running around.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I was told this at the time but didn’t really believe it. That writing can be heartbreaking and I soon found that it certainly can. I discovered that I needed an alligator’s skin to take the knocks and rebounds and a soft heart to empathise with other people and characters enough to write about them.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Edit, edit, edit and re-edit. LIVE a little and READ! I read about 100 books a year and still that’s not enough. Lots of young writers write thinly disguised semi-autobiography, and then get stuck. It’s never the first book that counts, rather the second!

 BOOK BYTE

SHAKESPEARE NOW! Three novels that take on the challenge of rewriting some of our best loved plays using young protagonists in contemporary settings:

Gap Year Nanny (Macbeth set in the present)

 

 

The Trytth Chronicles (The Tempest as science fantasy)

 

 

 

Changing History (Romeo and Juliet set 1928 Berlin)

  

 

 

Sales sites: www.fivesenseseducation.com.au

www.goldiealexander.com

and all good book stores.