Meet the Author: Joanne Anderton

Joanne Anderton is a Sydney-sider who writes speculative fiction for adults, young adults…and pretty much anyone who likes their worlds a little different. She sprinkles a touch of science fiction to spice up her fantasy, and thinks horror adds flavour to just about everything. Joanne is addicted to anime and manga, and says these are strong influences in her writing.

Her adult science fiction/fantasy novels have been published by Angry Robot Books and Fablecroft Publishing. Debris was shortlisted for the Aurealis Award for best fantasy novel, and the Ditmar award for best novel. Its sequel Suited was shortlisted for the Aurealis Award for best science fiction novel, and the Ditmar award for best novel. Book three, Guardian, was published in 2014.

Joanne’s short story collection, The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories won the Aurealis Award for best collection, and the Australian Shadows Award for best collected work. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for multiple awards, and reprinted in several Year’s Best. Joanne’s novels and short story collection have received international review coverage in The New York Journal of BooksThe GuardianLibrary Journal and Publishers Weekly.

Find out more about Joanne here.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? Because I love writing.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Difficult to imagine but I’d probably be a musician.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Learning how to keep writing through rejection and poverty.

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations? Yes, I had input into designing the cover for Bohemia Beach; not so much with my first two books.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The peace I feel when writing.

—the worst? Having my writing misrepresented in the media.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Take some time out from love relationships to concentrate on my writing.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Choose a more nurturing publisher over a bigger cheque book.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Keep writing and don’t quit your day job.

What’s your top tip for aspiring authors? Find an agent/publisher who understands what you’re trying to do and is in it for the long haul.

How important is social media to you as an author? It can lead to good contacts, I don’t use it for my personal life.

Do you experience ‘writer’s block’ and if so, how do you overcome it? Accept it as part of the process and keep writing even if all I’m doing is journaling.

How do you deal with rejection? By trying not to take it personally.

In three words, how would you describe your writing? True, complex, original.

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? George Eliot, and I’d love to ask her tell how it felt to be married to a supportive, literary husband.

BOOK BYTE

The Flying Optometrist

Written by Joanne Anderton, illustrated by Karen Erasmus

The Flying Optometrist travels in his little red aeroplane from his practice in the city to a remote outback town. Lots of people are waiting for him! Aunty can’t see well enough to carve her emu eggs and Bill the plumber has a splinter in his eye. Young Stephanie can’t wait for him to arrive as she has broken her glasses and can’t join in games of cricket and have fun with her friends – she can’t see the ball! Hurry up Flying Optometrist! Where is he? Is he lost?

The townsfolk wait with bated breath until finally the Flying Optmetrist’s little red plane appears, having only just missed a bad storm. A big meal waits for him in the local hotel. Then starts work checking eyesight. The Flying Optometrist doesn’t have long, but he helps as many people as he can. He returns to the city but Stephanie has to wait a little longer for an exciting package to come – her new glasses!

The book is available here.

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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.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

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.

BOOK BYTE

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: www.elizahenryjones.com

AUTHOR INSIGHT

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.

BOOK BYTE

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.

Book sales site: https://www.booktopia.com.au/p-is-for-pearl-eliza-henry-jones/prod9781460754931.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Web

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:

Website:  http://amandabridgeman.com.au/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Bridgeman_Books

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

AUTHOR INSIGHT

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.

BOOK BYTE

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.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com.au/Time-Stripes-Amanda-Bridgeman-ebook/dp/B075NZK1XB/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518494932&sr=1-1&keywords=amanda+bridgeman

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/the-time-of-the-stripes/id1332229333?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/the-time-of-the-stripes

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Amanda_Bridgeman_The_Time_of_The_Stripes?id=XUpFDwAAQBAJ

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-time-of-the-stripes-amanda-bridgeman/1127117845?ean=2940155452003

Booktopia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-time-of-the-stripes-amanda-bridgeman/prod9780995425989.html

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Time-of-the-Stripes-Amanda-Bridgeman/9780995425989?ref=grid-view&qid=1518495313062&sr=1-6

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.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

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.

 

BOOK BYTE

Both books are available here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Author: Shirley Rowland

A give-it-my-best-shot attitude and a commitment to learning has led to the realisation of a dream for West Australian debut author Shirley Rowland, my first guest on In Their Own Write for 2018.

Shirley was born in South Australia but now lives with her husband in a coastal suburb south of Perth, Western Australia.

Her interest in writing was sparked in primary school but lay dormant for many years. She joined her first writing group in 1998 and is currently a member of four groups, each providing a different writing relationship.

Shirley published her first fictional novel, Return to Crossways, in February 2017.

To find out more about Shirley, visit her website www.shirleyrowland.wordpress.com

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write?

That’s a bit like asking, why do I breathe? It’s something that comes naturally, that I have always done, although not specifically creative fiction and novel writing.

The exact moment I decided to become a writer occurred in primary school. In Grade Seven (my last year at primary school). I was late returning to class one day. As I stood outside the classroom door, I heard the teacher reading “Compositions” from someone’s book. They sounded surprisingly good – but also vaguely familiar. When I entered the classroom and walked past the teacher to reach my desk, I glanced at the brown-paper-covered book in his hand and saw my name on it. No wonder those stories had sounded familiar! In that moment I decided one day I would become a writer.

I never dreamed that day would take half a century to arrive!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

Either sailing around the world or doing something creative, like patchwork or painting. When I lived on the NSW coast I painted in oils for ten years. However WA’s harsh environment doesn’t inspire me, although I attended Forrestfield TAFE part-time for six years learning about colour and design – knowledge that has been useful for designing book covers!

Sailing is another activity that comes to me as naturally as breathing. If I hadn’t taken up writing, I would be on the ocean in some exotic location.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published?

The decision to self-publish. It’s a huge step to take, but when I sat down with pen and paper and drew up columns listing the pro’s and con’s, I realised it boiled down to one word – AGE. Most sources quote an average time of ten years for a writer to land his or her first publishing contract. I have already outlived my mother in age; one grandmother died two years older than I am now although the other grandmother lived to her mid-eighties, which gives me some genetic wriggle-room. With such poor odds for longevity, I decided self-publishing was the logical option. In life I have generally found that if I want something done, it’s necessary to do it myself.

How involved have you been in the development of your book? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations?

Self-publishing means I have had complete control of development, editing, cover and everything else that makes up a book, which is both good and bad. I have attended publishing workshops, and as a member of The Society of Women Writers had access to advice from others who have taken this route. I have probably made every beginner’s mistake, but hey! it’s all part of the total learning experience. I figure that ‘content is king’ and to date feedback has been positive.

What is the best aspect of your writing life?

The high after a great writing session, when the creative juices are in full flow, the word count is impressive and I surprise myself with what appears on the page. A close second is the friendship of the members of the four writing groups to which I belong, and the camaraderie and stimulation of other creative minds.

What is the worst aspect?

Probably every writer’s gripe – not enough time to actually sit at my computer and type! I could gripe about retired husbands underfoot and other life demands, but who’s listening?

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

Write faster? Seriously, I have considered enrolling in a TAFE or university course to up-skill more quickly, instead of ploughing through every “How-to-write” book in my local library! and then teaching myself by instructing other writers in two of my writing groups.

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

I can’t think of any advice that would have changed my writing journey. How hard it is would not have stopped me. Ditto time-consuming. Becoming an author is not something I “set out” to do; it was always something that I would achieve one day. When I decide to do anything, I go ahead and give it my best shot.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

To FINISH! Finish the story before beginning to revise it. Stephen King is probably the most famous author to give this advice. I remember Anna Jacobs giving it at a workshop, and reading it from many other authors. It’s the most-repeated, probably because it IS the best single piece of advice, although I think that until you have completed that first draft of your first novel, you cannot fully appreciate its value. A close second is a piece of advice you once gave me, Teena. When overwhelmed with half a dozen projects on the go, pick one and stick with it until it is finished – which comes back to the first piece of advice; to keep going until you finish.

Shirley’s top tip for aspiring writers: Keep writing! I would add, join a local writing group. It’s amazing how inspiring, encouraging and understanding fellow writers can be. I gain something slightly different from each of the writing groups I am a member of. And keep learning: the learning process never ends.

BOOK BYTE

Return to Crossways

Shirley Rowland

 

 

When Priscilla de Rossi’s glamorous marriage fails, she returns to Australia expecting to take no more than a few weeks to untangle her life. On a weekend visit to country Crossways where she grew up, she discovers her grandmother has died and she has inherited a run-down cottage. But someone does not want her there. Is it her estranged mother or local hotelier, Steve Moncrieff?

Meanwhile she makes new friends and lands a job in Melbourne. Does her future lie in the city or the country?

Then she has an impulsive one-night stand that changes everything…

At its heart, this is a home-coming story. Priscilla must face the people she fled from ten years earlier.

The book is availBook Blurb for Return to Crossways:  When Priscilla de Rossi’s glamorous marriage fails, she returns to Australia expecting to take no more than a few weeks to untangle her life. On a weekend visit to country Crossways where she grew up, she discovers her grandmother has died and she has inherited a run-down cottage. But someone does not want her there. Is it her estranged mother or local hotelier, Steve Moncrieff? Meanwhile she makes new friends and lands a job in Melbourne. Does her future lie in the city or the country? Then she has an impulsive one-night stand that changes everything… At its heart, this is a home-coming story. Priscilla must face the people she fled from ten years earlier.

The book is available in print and e-book format from Amazon.com here.

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