Meet the Author: Rachel Nightingale

What do rainbow cupcakes have to do with a writer’s life? Today’s guest author Rachel Nightingale reveals this and more as part of the book tour to celebrate the release of the second book in her YA fantasy series.

Rachel was a highly imaginative child who used to pretend she was a gypsy wandering the woods on her way home from school. Once she realised creating stories gave her magical powers she decided to become a writer. Some years, and many diversions later, she is the author of Harlequin’s Riddle, published by Odyssey Books, and also, rather unexpectedly, an award winning playwright.

She is currently writing the final book of the Tales of Tarya trilogy – which by complete coincidence is about the power of creativity to shape the world – and desperately trying to ignore all the other stories clamouring for her attention. Rachel lives in regional Victoria with a very bossy cat, her family, and the cutest dog in the world.

For more information about Rachel, go to https://www.rachel-nightingale.info/

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write?  Two reasons – one is because I’m a better, saner, nicer person when I do. The second is because if I didn’t get the stories and ideas that bounce around inside my head onto the page, I’d probably explode.

How has your theatre experience influenced your writing? There are aspects of performing that you have to experience to understand – the energy buzz that comes from the audience when they love what you are doing, the anticipation when you’re about to step onstage at the beginning of a show, and the sheer, utter panic of improvising and knowing you could fall flat on your face at any moment. They’re emotional, physical, visceral experiences and I hope I’ve captured some of that in my books. Plus if I hadn’t personally experienced the magic of the theatre I don’t think I would have even had the idea to write about a world where that magic is actually real.

Your series is a fantasy, which draws on your imagination, however you are also an experienced editor. This skill is obviously an asset to a writer – does it have a downside, for example when you are working on the first draft? That’s a really great question. I think it did when I first started editing professionally, because it was really hard to turn my analytical brain off, which meant my creative brain didn’t get a look in. Now I think I’ve worked out how to balance the two so I can let the creativity flow but at the same time I’m conscious of how I’m using language as I put it on the page. It means I have to do less reworking later, which is great.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Children. I wrote Harlequin’s Riddle around the same time my son was born, and when it was published last year he was starting Year 11. The thing is, children take a lot of time, and so do books. No first draft is ever going to be perfect, and if you send a book off to a publisher before you’ve spent the time to craft it into the best book you can make it, you’re not doing yourself any favours. But finding that time when you’ve got young kids is pretty tough. So getting the books to publishable standard took a long time.

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations? I had come across Nadia Turner’s artwork in a shop near where I lived. Beautiful prints of gypsy wagons and animals with top hats – they were stories in themselves. I thought her artwork would be perfect for my covers. I’d been rejected by the ‘big five’ Australian publishers and was considering self-publishing, so I approached Nadia, gave her a copy of Harlequin’s Riddle and luckily she also thought my stories and her art were a perfect match. Then I got offered a publishing contract by Odyssey Books. It’s not usual for the author to organise the cover, so I had to go to my publisher with Nadia’s artwork and go ‘um… I commissioned this a while back, what do you think?’ Fortunately my publisher loved it (of course, because Nadia’s work is AMAZING!). I’ve been lucky enough to get to keep the artwork from both covers and I can’t, can’t wait to see the cover for book three!

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Because I write fantasy I figure rainbow cupcakes are an important part of the image, so once a fortnight I go to my local café and have a hot chocolate and rainbow cupcake whilst working on book three. Then I Instagram it, which hopefully makes all those cupcakes a tax deduction. It doesn’t get better than that! Mind you, I also LOVE getting to talk to people who love my book, because writing is a very isolated job.

—the worst? Writing is a very isolated job! I actually enjoy that to an extent because I’m very introverted, but the problem is it leaves me with my own thoughts a lot, and the anxiety can creep in.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’d do more classes and read more books on the craft of writing. When I was starting out I had the stupid idea that reading books on how to write would stop me finding my own voice. But there are so many different facets to writing, from grammar and sentence construction to point of view, pace, structure… it’s never ending. I’ve developed an understanding of those, and hopefully some skill with them, over many years of writing and editing. But I could have saved a lot of time and got rid of some of my bad habits earlier if I’d trusted the expertise of others rather than stumbling around figuring out how to do it myself.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That’s a tough one because I decided to become an author at the age of eight, so it would need to be the sort of advice an eight-year-old would understand. Maybe ‘make sure you always put money aside to feed your stationery obsession’?

What’s the best advice you were ever given? To think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to craft good writing. It takes time to find a publisher. It takes time to get known once you actually have a book out there. It’s so easy to get discouraged.

What’s your top tip for aspiring authors? Writing is a craft. No matter how talented you are, you need to be willing to keep working at it. I edited a book a while back which had chapters from different authors. One of them had been around a long time and was very esteemed. I pointed out to him that he overused a certain word throughout the chapter, and in all his years of writing no one had every pointed that out before – and he realised he overused it everywhere. We all have personal quirks we are blind to and things we can improve, even when we’ve been writing for a long time.

How important is social media to you as an author? We’re told all the time that it’s important, so there’s this sense that you have to do it. I wrote a whole blog post on why that’s really hard for me as an introvert. https://www.rachel-nightingale.info/2018/the-introvert-paradox/ My publisher’s advice, which I think is great, is to do what you are comfortable doing. For me that’s mainly blogging and Instagram. It can take up so much time, and I need that time to write!

Do you experience ‘writer’s block’ and if so, how do you overcome it? I have done. What worked for me to overcome it was that I went back and reminded myself of why I wanted to write. I did this by re-reading some of the books I’d loved as a child and teenager. It helped me get back in touch with the magic of story telling.

How do you deal with rejection? Chocolate, wine, and cuddles with my puppy dog, Snowy.

In three words, how would you describe your writing? Magical, imaginative, visual.

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? Zelda Fitzgerald! I think it’s one of the greatest injustices of the world that she’s not given the proper credit for her contributions to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work. He virtually transcribed parts of her diary for Tender is the Night. Her writing is original, lyrical, poignant and so, so beautiful and I feel terribly sad that she lived in an era where she didn’t get to express herself creatively. I don’t know if she would be a great source of advice, but she would be a fascinating person to talk to.

BOOK BYTE

Columbine’s Tale is the second book in a Young Adult fantasy trilogy, The Tales of Tarya, about the gift of creativity and where it can take you.

For three hundred years the traveling actors of Litonya roamed the land entertaining crowds, but secretly leaving devastation in their wake. Is Mina the only person with the power to stop them?

Tragedy and an ancient mystery plunge Mina ever deeper into the ethereal otherworld of Tarya, known only to a select few artists, a place where dreams are transformed into reality. In Tarya, Mina begins to master the rare, inexplicable powers somehow attached to her gift for storytelling. She discovers she can touch dreams, influence the real world, and perhaps find out who is manipulating Tarya for dark purposes. In the waking world Mina is on the run, pursued, plotted against, beset by divided loyalties between the travelers, and caught between two men she could love and a brother who desperately needs her help.

 Check out Rachel’s visit to the following blogs as park of her Book Tour.

Monday Oct 22 – Sunday Nov 4 www.justkidslit.com/blog

Monday Oct 22 www.maureeneppen.com

Tuesday Oct 23 www.karentyrrell.com

Thursday Oct 25 www.readforfun.com.au

Friday Oct 26 www.littlebigreads.com

Monday Oct 29 http://sharingyourstory.com.au/

Tuesday Oct 30 www.carolyndenman.com

Wednesday Oct 31 blog.boomerangbooks.com.au

Thursday Nov 1 nikkireads.blog

For enquiries about Books on Tour visit

www.justkidslit.com/books-on-tour.

 

 

Meet the Author: Glennys Marsdon

Glennys’s top tip for aspiring authors: While it’s nice, and helps, to be professionally published and win awards, there are plenty of books out there that haven’t been, and yet they’ve gone on to make a huge impact on people’s lives. It’s more important to just enjoy the process of writing regardless of the outcome, and if your writing has an impact on you, chances are it will impact others too. So grab a coffee, a packet of Tim Tams, open a Word document and just start typing. Then rinse and repeat. And when doubt creeps in, as it will, seek out other writers for support.

gmIt’s my great pleasure today to introduce the inspirational Glennys Marsdon, owner of consumer psychology consultancy The Customers’ Voice, who has more than 20 years’ experience researching human behaviour. This has resulted in marketing campaigns for clients like HBF and ECU, plus investigation into social issues including domestic violence and drug/alcohol abuse. In 2012 she was nominated for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards and she now sits on several Boards. Her writing life began in the ‘90s as editor of the Australian Red Cross Youth News Magazine. Her first short story won the Stirling Literary Award and her first book, 50 Ways To Grieve Your Lover, received international success after being used in the NZ Pike Mine Disaster. The book also resulted in her being profiled in marketing guru Seth Godin’s worldwide search for people making a difference. Her second book Me Time: 100 Strategies For Guilt Free Me Time won a People’s Choice Award and her blog The Ponder Room was read in more than 60 countries within the first six months. She has a monthly column in a local magazine, regularly writes for the City of Perth and contributes to a number of other outlets. Two years ago she started Personal Branding workshops which apply her business knowledge to uncovering the essence of a person’s brand.

Follow Glennys on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? For the past 20 years I’ve been writing business reports on anything from ice cream to domestic violence and sewerage pumps. Apart from helping bring new products to market, or ads to the television, the main reason for writing these reports was to ensure my pantry was never bereft of tins of tuna. In the fast paced consulting world, it wasn’t uncommon to have 12 large projects on the go at the same time. In the past as the deadlines accumulated my mind would escape into silly stories which I used to email off to a handful of colleagues who were also working through the night. The stories worked as a kind of release valve from all the heavy thinking. Years on, the advent of blogging has proved an ideal portal for my chattering monkey mind. I love getting caught up in the rhythm of the words and the surprise journeys they take me on, especially when they reward me with a giggle at the end.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? At five foot five and with a middle age spread I guess modelling is out of the question. My genetic composition also rules out artist, musician or sports star and, thanks to an aversion to embarrassment, acting. The ability to feel seasick in the bath limits any water based activities, and the bombardment of ideas constantly penetrating my brain renders mindful Yogi unlikely. Since I draw the line at academia, I guess that leaves me with the corporate world, and spending more time on my consumer psychology work, which brings me back to research and business writing … doh! So short answer, no idea.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? A deep lack of confidence, (spawned out of a high school teacher declaring that I couldn’t read, and a university professor saying I couldn’t write), that made pushing the send button unbearable. That was until I stumbled upon an editor prepared to take a chance. So confidence and the ability to get your work seen.

How involved have you been in the development of your book? Did you have input into the cover/illustrations? My first book was in part a tribute to my artist partner Michael Collins who passed away, so it was important to keep control over how his images were used. As a result, I chose to go down the self-publishing route, which also allowed me to avoid the soul destroying pile of rejection letters. I thoroughly enjoyed the process, and learnt a lot about what goes on behind the scenes, so have continued to self-publish.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? For fiction it’s about getting lost in the rhythm of the words and being entertained by where they take you. For non-fiction it’s realising that a few squiggles on a blank page can have immense power. They can even help people get through the most difficult of times.

—the worst? The perception, among some, that writers can sustain a life when writing or speaking for free; they wouldn’t expect the same from their plumber. That and the endless but necessary editing.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Read more. Reading teaches you all the essentials, like character, structure, language, tone, setting and more importantly how your writing compares to those who get published. I’d also get out from behind the computer more and meet other writers earlier on in the journey. Trying to work it out yourself is exhausting, especially when there are writing groups out there that teach you the craft, show that you’re not alone, and that published authors aren’t any different to you, although I suspect they eat less tuna.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Don’t worry about what people think, not everyone will like what you write, some might hate it, and you only need a few loyal readers to start you on your way.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? When the first editor who paid me for my writing retired, I told her that I’d enjoyed working with her and would like to get similar work with other editors, but was too scared to approach them. She pointed out that I’d managed to contact her and added, ‘I wasn’t scary, most of the time.’

BOOK BYTE

50 ways50 ways to grieve your lover

Glennys Marsdon

‘For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off.’ Johnny Carson.

After the loss of a loved one, be it the death of a partner, child, pet, or divorce, people experience a 12 month fog, not knowing what to expect. This is not helped by the fact that as a society we avoid talking about death. At 43 Glennys Marsdon suddenly found she was a widow. As a qualified psychologist she drew on more than two decades of experience researching human behaviour to investigate what was ahead of her. A year later when a good friend asked for advice she fired off an email titled ’10 Things I’ve Learnt’. The 10 things grew to 50 and when more people called for advice she realised the emails had to be shared. Written as a series of 50 short light-hearted emails to a friend, the book focuses on the first 12 months after loss. It contains 100 tips, 85 quotes and cartoons from her partner Michael Collins (dec.)

Other books include: Me Time: 100 Strategies For Guilt Free Me Time; Freelance Life: An Action Plan To Become a Successful Six Figure Freelancer; Pondering Life Series

The books are available from www.glennysmarsdon.com

The 50 Ways  E book version can be purchased on Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Author: Deb Rae

Deb’s top tip for aspiring authors: Believe in yourself.  Everyone writes well some days, and not so well on other days.  Focus on why you’re writing, and what you will produce for your reader. Then write with all your passion and heart.

DRae - Photo - 7 Apr 15My guest today is Deb Rae, bereavement expert and author of Getting There: Grief to Peace for Young Widows. Deb’s learning started through personal experience when she decided to quit her day job at age 36 and travel the world with her husband Stuart. However, Stuart was killed in a road accident in Poland and Deb found herself thrust into a slow, confusing, painful, personal transformation. Everything changed for her. She had to find a new home, a new job, a new country. As a result of her experience she found herself thinking a lot about how life works and the ways people deal with change. Deb’s transformation process took her back to university, out to a little farmhouse and back overseas. She was also invited into the homes and workplaces of many other people looking for better lives, stronger teams and more productive businesses.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why did you feel there was a need to write this book? I have always preferred to express myself through writing.  After my husband Stuart died, I started writing even more than ever.  I struggled to understand what was happening to me in my grief, and had no idea how to talk about it.  So I wrote.  At first it was just for me to process the confusion and pain, but then I began to realise that my stories would be useful for others experiencing a confounding loss.

After Stuart died, I also looked around for books to help me, but found they were too sentimental, abstract, or just told the grieving person’s story.  I also couldn’t find any books for young widows written by an Australian.  I wanted to get the low-down about grief.  I wanted the raw, honest truth.

I decided to produce a book that was a resource for other young women; that told real stories about what happens when you’re grieving, had lots of suggestions for action and had a sense of humour.  I spoke with many other young widows whose quotes in my book are as real as you can get.

What was your greatest personal challenge in writing it? People often asked me if writing the book was cathartic and maybe at first it was.  But a lot of the time it was actually pretty painful.  To write about what it’s like to grieve, I had to relive many experiences I’d rather forget.

So I procrastinated!  I was also still working full-time and dreaded coming home to have to think about the worst days of my life all over again. There were many nights and weekends when I ate lots of ice-cream and wrote very little. It took years to produce just a few chapters.

Finally I gave myself a deadline.  I sent my family and friends an invitation to a party that was five months away – when I would introduce the first draft of my book.  And it worked!  I gained some momentum and finished the book relatively quickly.

Were there any obstacles to having the book published? I talked to other authors and did a lot of research about how to publish the book. Over the 10 years it took me to finish the book, the publishing world changed quite dramatically.  More books were being self-published and e-books became far more popular.

I eventually decided to self-publish so I could have more control over the layout and marketing of the book.  I also had a mentor who helped me through the process, shared contacts and advised me about potential pitfalls.  There were many decisions to be made and I learned about a lot of things I’d never heard of before.

How involved have you been in the book’s development? Did you have input into the layout/cover/illustrations? I had full control over designing the layout of the book, its cover and the photos that are included.  My book is intended to be an honest conversation between two grieving people – the reader and me.  It’s also resource where a grieving woman will write her deepest secrets and come back to many times over many years.  It therefore had to be inviting, beautiful and make a connection. That’s why the cover shows a group of women holding hands and walking a long road together, all the pages have a beautiful design overlay and the book includes photos of my husband and myself so the reader can really see who I am.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to write your book? Not to take on the whole project as a huge single task. Every time I sat at my desk, I’d think to myself that I had to write a whole book, which was incredibly daunting!

I eventually worked out how to break the book down into chapters and sub-chapters. Each day I would focus on writing a couple of sub-chapters, which seemed much more manageable. Or I would just go with whatever creative flow turned up on a given day and write what appealed to me in that moment. That writing was always the best I did.

If you were writing it now, what would you do differently? I’d doubt myself less and recognise my achievements more. I wouldn’t wait until I thought I was ‘ready’ because that day never comes.  I’d just start. I’d also connect with other writers and get more feedback about my writing from people I trust to be honest with me.

How do you hope your book will contribute to a greater understanding of grief? My intention is that people understand grief more, are aware of the misconceptions we can hold about grief and are more comfortable about talking about death and dying. I talk in my book about the importance of recognising that grief is an individual journey.  We do it in our own time, in our own way.

Social perceptions about how long grief should take, how much we should cry and how we should be strong can actually make dealing with a loss even more difficult. Understanding that we don’t have to have all the answers when we’re supporting someone who’s grieving can be a great relief. You just need to be with the person and give them the space to experience their grief in whatever way it’s happening for them.

My book is honest, real and will make you laugh. I created it this way so people who are grieving, and the people who support them, can really understand what grief is like, and not be so afraid of it. When we have that shared understanding, we can talk about grief more (without relying on misconceptions). That will make life easier for everyone.

What do you think you would be doing now if your life hadn’t taken this path? I would probably be writing policies and procedures for not-for-profit organisations all over Mackay!  My life would certainly not be so fulfilled and I wouldn’t have the same level of confidence I have in myself now.

It wouldn’t even matter if my book was truly terrible – it’s more about the fact that I had a big goal and I kept on going until I achieved it.  I think that, whatever our goal is, fighting to make it a reality is one of the greatest things we can do as a human being.

Because of this expanded confidence, I’ve since taken on many other goals and had many other experiences that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t written the book.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The people I get to meet who have read my book. We’ve both been through grief and instantly have a connection. They include young widows, but also people who have divorced, given up a child for adoption or older widowed men. I love having the opportunity to support people in a meaningful way and help them feel understood.

—the worst? Trying to decide what to write about next!  I have lots of ideas and not enough time to do work associated with my current book as well as start writing another one.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I wouldn’t be so hard on myself. I’d understand that some days you get into the groove and produce some excellent work. Other days are more of a struggle and far less productive. You need to keep perspective on the overall goal and have realistic expectations (especially if you’re holding a paying job at the same time).

I’d also develop more of a routine. Having certain habits or routines can get you into a head space that is conducive to creativity and writing. Set up your work space, use a certain pen or computer, and follow a few set activities before you start writing. The routine subconsciously gets your mind ready to jump into the desired activity.

What’s the best writing advice you were ever given? Write from the heart. Whenever I obsessed about whether my writing was good enough, my writing was terrible!  I finally learned to just focus on saying (through my writing) what I really knew needed to be said.  Then my words were authentic, powerful and meaningful.

What do you read for enjoyment? I love to read autobiographies. I also find myself reading a lot about neuroscience, neuroplasticity and the latest theories from world renowned psychologists. I find human beings and our minds fascinating and we’re learning so much more now than we ever knew.

If you could sit down and have a chat with any writer past or present, who would it be and why? Stephen Fry. I love his honesty, authenticity and willingness to talk openly about his life experiences, which may be perceived as successes and failures. This is the way I’d like for all of us to be able to talk about grief. I enjoy Stephen Fry’s intellect and sense of humour.  He also doesn’t pretend to be something he isn’t (or so it appears!) and he fully embraces every experience life offers him.  That reminds me of my late husband.

BOOK BYTE

Getting There - Cover

Getting there: Grief to Peace for Young Widows

Deb Rae

When your world is rocked by disaster where do you go? What do you do? How do you go on? In her words, Deb sucks as a widow.  She kicked, screamed, ran away.  She felt alone, overwhelmed and thought she’d never be happy again. Deb’s husband was killed in a random accident while they were living overseas.  In an instant, she lost her best friend and had to leave behind her home, her job and her dreams.  She gets how horrible life becomes as a young widow, how you wonder if you’re going crazy and whether there’s any hope for a better future.

Her real, honest and revealing words connect with your pain. Then make you laugh. She helps you understand why you feel the way you do and that it’s (almost) all ‘normal’.  And she helps you dig deep into your own strength so you can take another step into your future. All this is backed up with lots of practical survival tips tested by many other young women.

The book is available here.

 

 

Meet the Author: Lucy Cavendish

LUCY’S TOP TIP FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS: To read and to write! So many aspiring authors don’t write! And they don’t read books!

Lucy Cavendish 1Lucy Cavendish is a natural born witch. She works magic every single day of her life, embracing it as a creed for personal fulfilment and happiness, and as a belief system that sees us as part of nature, thus giving us all the motivation to respect and revere and delight in our unique experience here on Planet Earth.

Lucy is the author of The Faery Forest: An Oracle of the Wild Green World, Witches and Wizards, Spellbound: the Secret Grimoire of Lucy Cavendish, The Lost Lands, Oracle of Shadows and Light, Oracle of the Mermaids, Oracle of the Shapeshifters, Les Vampires, Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle, Oracle of the Dragonfae, As Above, So Below, The Oracle Tarot, Magical Spell Cards and White Magic. Her work is published in seven different languages and has been enjoyed and recommended by Deepak Chopra and Louise L Hay, but it’s the connection with readers that she values most of all. Lucy created Witchcraft magazine in 1992, the first magazine of its kind in the world, and currently she writes features for magickal and mainstream magazines around the world. She appears regularly on mainstream and alternative television and radio offering insights into the Craft. She is a classic book witch and adores writing and reading, listening to and playing music, connecting with the wild, surfing and creating enchanted workshop experiences. She leads journeys, called Imrammas, to the sacred sites of Ancient Briton, and teaches internationally. She moves between Sydney, the Sapphire Coast and far northern NSW.

Visit Lucy’s website at: www.lucycavendish.com.au or visit her on her social media sites, which offer everyday ways to connect with her, and with the magick and wisdom within you.

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/LucyCavendish

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lucy-Cavendish-A-Magickal-Apothecary-124630487608588/

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

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I don’t know the answer to that – but I think when I was little, all I did was trail about after my mother and beg her to read to me… so she taught me to read, early, so I could just read for myself. Then, when I was about 10, I had a very serious car accident and books got me through that time… when my heart was broken, books helped heal me… and when I couldn’t go anywhere, or have certain experiences, books can give you freedom, movement, and all the experiences you could dream of. So I write, maybe, because I love books, and storytelling, and discovery, and I couldn’t think of anything else I would rather be. It’s a compulsion, for writers, like a dancer must dance, and a singer must sing… we just have to tell stories, investigate, write…as a Witch, I write too because I want to share this very real path with people all over the world, and kind of connect us all in this magickal way.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I would still be a working Witch, no doubt, but as a “profession” I truly don’t know – it’s hard to even conceive…I would hope that I would have found another way to share and share stories with people. Maybe a historian. Or a therapist. Or a performer. It’s actually almost unthinkable as I’ve been writing since I was so little…I imagine I would have just kept writing anyway. I think if I wasn’t a writer, I might actually not be myself.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? I was so scared to show anyone my work – I was terrified of being laughed at, or disbelieved. That was the hardest barrier to break. Rejection is not as bad as being too scared to be rejected!

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? When the words come so freely and when they’re beautiful and it’s all just flowing, dancing, and you read something back and it all works and it’s got some song and poetry to it, along with the truth… when the way you tell it works with what you’re sharing… I love that when it happens. It gives me so much joy. And the other best bit – can I have two – is when someone reads it and it touches them or changes them or helps them. That’s just sublime.

—the worst? That those moments of wordwitchery and magick are so rare. When it is just sheer hard work, you know, Bryce Courtenay called it bumglue – when you just have to sit and work and it isn’t flowing. I think you just have to be tenacious. And when someone doesn’t get what you’ve written, or it didn’t connect. Or they say something like, “there’s too many words.” Or when people think writing is just something everyone can do. It’s a craft and an art and it is hard work to live within the mind – and weirdly visceral too sometimes. I get sweaty and type really hard and it feels like I’ve just done a really tough workout when it’s working… but it can be so emotional! People think it’s all languid and genteel and sort of weak – bahahah!

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Nothing, because I was a little girl with a notebook when I started out. She was so cool! I’m grateful to my little self! But when I was approaching publishers? I would have encouraged myself to have a little more confidence in myself, and not wait so long.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That time is short. Get going, missy!

What’s the best advice you were ever given? To realise that life can be short, and you might as well face your fears early on, get rejected, deal with that, and keep going.

BOOK BYTE

Witches and WizardsWitches and Wizards

The Supernatural Series Book One

by Lucy Cavendish

 

Witches and Wizards  reveals the real-life stories of the most notorious and powerful occult personalities of all time. From Merlin – the legend, the reality – to the infamous Aleister Crowley, right through to the modern icons of Witchcraft, Cavendish reveals the true stories behind the legends of the Occult. Shining light on the Salem witch hunts, the Burning Times and the Witch Wars, Witches and Wizards is a thrilling read for anyone who loves the mysterious and the strange.

The book is available here.

 

 

Meet the Author: Ron Williams

RON’S TOP TIP FOR HISTORY WRITERS: Do not put everything you know into your book. Your content should be directed at what the reader will appreciate, and not everything you know. Tables, charts and statistics might give you a feeling of precision, but they kill a book. Forget them. If you can’t put your content into 150 pages max, take up something like knitting babies’ socks.

Ron WilliamsRon Williams is a retired teacher, mathematician, computer-man, political scientist, farmer and writer. He has a BA from Sydney and a Masters in Social Work and a PhD in Political Science from Hawaii. Inspired by the fact most people know nothing about their year of birth, he has produced a series of 28 year books that highlight newsworthy events. For information about Ron and the series, visit www.boombooks.biz

 

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I like the study of history, using prime sources. To simply research is not enough, I need to store the material so that others can use it.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I would be a pioneer for very-fast-trains, and start a mass movement based on social media that might force politicians to give us fast trains before 2040.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? I was overawed by the pomposity of the publishing business, and the obstacles that old-style publishing created.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The research and then seeing it all come together in a book that I can be proud of.

—the worst? Ergonomic pain caused by sitting still at a keyboard for 80 hours a week.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? For history writers: Cut the material down to what I might use, and not collect masses of all-seeing and all-dancing material. In other words, focus on the end product, and let others write the unreadable encyclopaedias.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That I would be the publisher and that it was my own book and that I could do whatever I liked without censure or control from others.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? I learned by painstaking steps, and the advice I got came after I had learned my lessons. So, no best advice.

BOOK BYTE

Born in 1946 smlborn in 1956 sml born in 1966 sml

This series of 28 books on Australian social history puts nostalgia in the spotlight by describing the newsworthy events that affected people in a given year. They are designed to make readers remember and wonder at things forgotten, and to spark discussion between the generations about the past, so ensuring the rediscovery of a heritage that would otherwise be forgotten.

The books are available from Boom Books and Booktopia.

Meet the Author: Jean Harrod

JEAN’S TOP WRITING TIP: Just keep writing what you want to write. Accept rejection and criticism as part of the learning curve, but never give up!

L1000742Born and educated in the UK, Jean Harrod worked as a British diplomat for several years. She spent much of her life working overseas in Embassies and High Commissions in Australia, Brussels, the Caribbean, China, East Berlin, Indonesia, Mauritius, and Switzerland. She has travelled extensively around the world and writes about all the countries she had lived in, or visited.

Set in Australia, Deadly Diplomacy is her debut diplomatic crime novel, and the first of a trilogy featuring diplomat Jess Turner and Australian DI Tom Sangster.

Jean now lives in North Yorkshire. She is a member of Script Yorkshire and an active contributor to regional theatre. She has written and staged several plays. Find out more about Jean on her website here.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I’ve been writing since I was a young girl. It’s a compulsion, something I love to do.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I worked as a diplomat for many years, writing letters, briefing, and reports all the time. But I came back to creative writing because it seemed the natural thing to do.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? The publishing industry is a tough nut to crack. You need persistence, a thick skin, and heaps of luck to find someone in that industry who loves your novel enough to publish it.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I can organise my own life and work schedule. Also, it’s a joy to see the characters and plots that have been rattling around in my head for so long come to life in a real book.

—the worst? Writing to deadlines.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would do some creative writing courses to help put me on the right track in the crime/thriller genre I’m writing in.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? How hard it is to actually write a novel and get it published. I wrote my first one over and over until I got there in the end. I refused to give up on it.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Write what you know about, and be sincere.

BOOK BYTE

CD1867 Deadly Diplomacy COVER AW.inddDeadly Diplomacy

Available here from Amazon and also from bookshops.

 

 

Diplomat Jess Turner is the British Consul in Canberra. When a British businesswoman is brutally murdered in a Queensland resort, Jess travels to Brisbane to liaise with the police, and help the victim’s next of kin, her journalist sister, Susan.

Queensland DI Tom Sangster is assigned the case; but the Federal Government is very interested in it too. The murder victim was negotiating a multi-billion dollar deal to supply LNG to China, and soon rumours of corruption swirl around the intelligence community. Was she taking Chinese bribes?

Jess is taken aback by Susan’s deep suspicion of the police. When Susan snatches her sister’s diary and disappears – and two more high profile murders follow in quick succession – the race is on to find Susan and the diary before the killer does.

Jess and Sangster, each with their own pieces of the puzzle, must work together to solve this case.

 

Meet the Author: Evie Wyld

 

 EVIE’S TOP WRITING TIP: Don’t get bogged down in looking for tips. There’s no magic, or single way of writing, and everyone does it differently. Just get the words down, the rest is nonsense.

Evie Wyld portraitEvie Wyld‘s debut novel, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, was shortlisted for the Impac Prize and awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Her second, All the Birds, Singing, won the Miles Franklin Prize, the Encore Prize and the EU Prize for Literature, and shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel awards. In 2013 she was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, having previously been named by the BBC as one of the twelve best new British writers. She lives in Peckham, where she runs the Review Bookshop.

You can find out more about Evie here.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? To try hard to understand a little more about humans and why they do what they do.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’d still be doing an admin job I didn’t really understand.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Writing the book. I was very lucky to have quite a smooth ride otherwise. But the books have been hard to write.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? When, every now and again, I tap into the ‘good writing’ and it flows.

—the worst? Sitting at a blank page and feeling like I’m letting people down.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Not sure I’d do anything differently. It might not work out!

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Just to relax about it. To take my time. I did take my time, but I worried a bit about taking too much.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Don’t underestimate the importance of independent bookshops.

Everything is Teeth original hi-res

Everything is Teeth

A graphic memoir for anyone who has scanned the swimming pool for a shark’s fin before entering the water.

Illustrated by London-based model maker and illustrator Joseph Sumner.

Evie Wyld was a girl obsessed with sharks. Spending summers in the brutal heat of coastal New South Wales, she fell for the creatures. Their teeth, their skin, their eyes; their hunters and their victims. Everything is Teeth is a delicate and intimate collection of the memories she brought home to England, a book about family, love and the irresistible forces that pass through life unseen, under the surface, ready to emerge at any point. The book is available here.

 

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