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Her first novel, Soon, won the 2015 Tasmanian Premier’s Prize for Best Unpublished Manuscript, and has just been published by Transit Lounge.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

 

 

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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.

Meet the Author: Robert Power

 

Robert’s top tip for aspiring authors: If on any given day you don’t feel particularly creative, then edit your draft, or sketch out new plot ideas. There is never a good reason to stare at an empty sheet of paper (or blank computer screen). You become a writer by writing. And … never give up.

Robert Power was born in Dublin and has lived in Melbourne since 2005. He freelanced as a journalist in London, appearing regularly in newsprint and magazines including The Guardian, New Society, New Statesman, Radio Times, Time Out, City Limits. He has worked in international health for 30 years, travelling globally as a consultant, and publishing over 120 academic journal articles. He was short-listed in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in 2008 and was a prize-winner in the 2012 Age Short Story Competition. He has published three novels: In Search of the Blue Tiger (Transit Lounge, 2012), The Swan Song of Doctor Malloy (Transit Lounge, 2013), Tidetown (Transit Lounge, 2015) and a collection of short stories, Meatloaf in Manhattan (Transit Lounge, 2014). Lulu in New York and Other Tales (Unicorn Press, 2017) is a collaboration with acclaimed American painter, Max Ferguson, in which Power has written 500-word stories envisaging sixty of the artist’s paintings. The book was launched in May 2017 in New York and the following month in London. Power’s memoir/travelogue Tell it to the Dog is now in bookshops and other outlets. More details of his work, including reviews and blogs can be found on his website: www.robertpowerauthor.com

AUTHOR INSIGHT

 

Why do you write? I was born in Dublin, Ireland, so I like to think aspiring to being a writer is a birthright. In any event I have written fiction for as long as I can remember. It’s one of the best media for exploring the human condition, trying to make sense of life’s events and for wrapping it all up in a series of imagined worlds.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Very few writers are able to pay the bills by writing alone. I have had many jobs: a teacher; a freelance journalist; social science researcher. But for the last 30 years I have worked in international public health (with a particular focus on HIV prevention: see my second novel The Swan Song of Doctor Malloy).

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Staying strong when the publishing houses sent the rejection slips. I was once told by a commissioning editor from one of the big four that they ‘loved’ my first novel. Two weeks later she called to say the marketing department could not clearly identify the ‘genre’ so would not be taking it further. Finding a publisher to believe in a first time author is the greatest barrier to any aspiring writer.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Engaging the creative side of my being. Exploring and expanding ideas and watching stories unravel in front of me with characters that come to develop lives of their own. Tell it to the Dog is my sixth book and I am continually honing my skills and learning from those I work with, especially the editorial team at my publisher, Transit Lounge.

—the worst? Finding the time to write all I want to write. I currently have 50,000 words of a detective story in development, as well as drafts for new short stories and ideas for a follow-up to Lulu in New York & Other Tales (Unicorn Press), my collaboration with the American painter Max Ferguson.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would abandon the modern world, live in shack by the sea, rescue a dog, own a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt, eat off the land and the ocean and walk and write and write and walk.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I would like to have known more about the network of independent publishers that are interested in new authors and to be told to trawl through their websites to be sure that my kind of writing suits their interests.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? When I came to Melbourne 12 years ago I was encouraged to enter my first novel, In Search of the Blue Tiger, for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for an Unpublished Novel. I was short-listed. The chair of the panel, Kevin Brophy, recommended I send it to Barry Scott at Transit Lounge. Transit Lounge has been a great publisher for me ever since. Also, being advised to set up a website was invaluable: www.robertpowerauthor.com

BOOK BYTE

‘Robert Power’s journey is one of great heart, risk and compassion. He is a craftsman using language as a fine tool to carve a life story enmeshed in the values of our common selves.’ Tony Birch, author of Ghost River

Tell it to the Dog is an exquisitely written memoir that is at once playful, heartbreaking and affirming. From a Dublin childhood to London, then on to Europe, to Asia and Australia, there is a deep engagement with the world in this book about growing up, about human and animal connectedness, about friendship, love and loss. Power understands the uncanniness and endurance of memory. He can make us laugh, and then stop us in our tracks at the profundity of this business of meeting life. Each of these short chapters is beautifully complete; together the whole thing shimmers. In the most delightful and subtle of ways, the language, trajectory and wisdom of Tell it to the Dog underscores our need to embrace our own vulnerabilities, to confront our experiences and memories, and to believe as Jane Austen once wrote, that ‘when pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure’.

‘With exquisite prose and riotous feeling, Robert Power has created a stained glass window of a book, through which we gaze, as if for the first time, into what it means to live a life.’ Catherine de Saint Phalle, author of Poum and Alexandre

Buy the book here.

Meet the Author: Rachel Matthews

Rachel’s top tip for aspiring authors: Join a writing program or any environment where you can give and receive feedback. Write about what matters to you, that will resonate to the reader. Forget trends, they come and go. Don’t edit your first draft of anything, just write. Be vulnerable and mindful of your own judgements.

 

Dr Rachel Matthews is a Melbourne author, lecturer and VCE English teacher. Recently, she completed a PhD in creative writing (a novel and exegesis). Her critically acclaimed debut novel Vinyl Inside received strong press reviews and was highly commended by the Australian Vogel Award judges. Her short fiction has been published in EQ magazine, educational and writing journals. She has more than 15 years’ experience as an educator within a diverse range of learning environments, including lecturing in RMIT’s Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing, teaching within international settings and the RVIB. Rachel is also an experienced presenter with the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, the Vic Association for Teachers of English State Conference and National Young Writer’s Festival.

Visit https://www.rachelmatthewswriter.com/ to find out more about Rachel and her books.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I love the power and release of storytelling. The aim is to try to be honest and vulnerable. But that is also the hardest part.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Anything with a creative bent.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Finding a fit for my first novel ‘Vinyl Inside’ when approaching publishers. Many of them found the genre and style didn’t have a specific fit but they liked the writing. Also, it is an incredible lesson in patience and persistence.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Giving marginalised characters a voice, listening to my students share their stories and working toward understanding the bigger questions.

—the worst? The need for solitude. This is sometimes not easy for others to understand.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’d work hard to develop a broad profile and develop a range of skills, such as articles, short stories, poetry, etc. I’d be more patient when approaching publishers and enter more competitions, keep connected to the writing community.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That persistence will become more paramount than skills.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Write the first draft of a novel without editing or worrying about the direction and final details. Just get the initial concept down without any rules so that you have text to shape and play with.

BOOK BYTE

Siren

Rachel Matthews

A brave new novel that sensitively explores one woman’s experience of sexual violence and the silencing of those who feel compelled to speak out.

What happens when a young woman enters a city apartment early morning, with two footballers? Jordi Spence is sixteen years old and lives in outer Melbourne. By daybreak, her world has shifted. Max Carlisle, a troubled AFL star, can’t stop what comes next. And Ruby, a single woman from the apartment block, is left with questions when she sees Jordi leave.

In this remarkable novel, Rachel Matthews captures the characters of Jordi and her family, the players, and the often loveable inhabitants of a big city with a deceptive lightness of touch that seduces the reader. Siren reveals the often unnoticed life of a city while simultaneously drawing us deep into a dark and troubling world. What happens has an unexpected effect on all those who are both directly and indirectly involved.

The result is a powerful and haunting novel about cultural stereotypes and expectations, love, loneliness, family and our struggle to connect. In so many ways, Matthews subtly sounds the siren on sexual violence and its prevalence in our culture.

The book is available here.

Meet the Author: Shona Husk

Shona’s top tip for aspiring authors: Read your genre to see what is currently selling, but also read widely. Be a magpie and learn from other genres.

Shona Husk is the author of more than 40 books that range from sensual to scorching, and cover the contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance genres. Her most recent series are Face the Music, Blood and Silver and Annwyn. As well as writing romance she also writes sci-fi for the Takamo Universe game and urban fantasy under anther pen name.

She lives in Western Australia and when she isn’t writing or reading she loves to cook, cross stitch and research places she’d one day like to travel.

You can find out more at www.shonahusk.com

www.twitter.com/ShonaHusk

www.facebook.com/shonahusk

Newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/119074/join

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write?

I’ve always made up stories. They used to be just to entertain myself, but while I was on maternity leave I started writing them down. It was about three years before I got serious about wanting to be published. Even now I write the stories I’m interested in and that I want to read—I have to because I spend so long working on them.

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

I’d probably still be a civil designer (designing roads, drainage and sewerage infill etc), and I’d probably have more free time for my other hobbies like cross stitch. However, I’d still be a reader and I’d still be making up stories to entertain myself.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published?

When I started writing it was time (I had babies) and a lack of knowledge. It was taking me 12-18 months to write a novel and I couldn’t learn about story arc and character development when it was taking so long. I switched to writing novellas (I was already reading novellas because I didn’t have the time for novels) and it all came together. The next novel I wrote then sold (the other two live in a cupboard).

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

I fill out a cover art form then the publishers take over. Edits are always a negotiation, but most of the time I agree, or I look to see what they are trying to achieve and find a way to do it if I don’t agree with their suggestion. Everyone is trying to make the best book they can. For my self-published books I generally get a premade cover. I have a few sites that I search and I find something suitable that conveys the mood and genre of the book.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life?

I love plotting and researching. Creating the characters and their world is so much fun.

—the worst?

The final page proofs. By the time I get them I’m sick of the book, yet at the same time it is the last chance to catch mistakes so there is pressure involved.

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

I would pick a sub-genre and stick with it. While I write romance I write in several sub-genres (contemporary, paranormal, sci fi and fantasy). For branding I think sticking with one sub-genre would’ve been more effective.

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

Getting published isn’t the hardest part nor is it the end. Staying published and marketing are hard work.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

Stories are all about conflict and the conflict has to keep escalating.

BOOK BYTE

 

Servant of the Forest

Shona Husk

“Remember to be wild,” Orabella’s mother would say.
But her mother is dead and Orabella’s days are taken up with chores for the small estate that barely keeps her stepmother and stepsisters fed.
Then an invitation arrives. The King is throwing a three-day party for the Prince, a last attempt to find a cure for the curse that will claim him on his twentieth birthday. The witch who saves Gauthier will get his hand in marriage and will eventually become queen.
Orabella is forbidden from going to the party even though everyone is invited. She wants to see the castle and the Cursed Prince. This time she refuses to obey her stepmother.
As Orabella discovers the secrets of her past and the truth about her mother and the prince’s curse, she learns that no one is to be trusted and not everyone wants the prince to survive.

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