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I have entered a dangerous territory … pop-ups! If you are able to see the pop-up subscribe box on my website, I hope you will consider joining my new project.

At the end of each month, I’ll be sending out a newsletter email with news about books, my latest book reviews, and a little extra now and then.

There will also be FREE flash fiction from me and from guest authors.

I think you’re going to love it. See you soon 🙂

Broad Plain is almost here

I’m getting a bit excited about the release of the next book in my dystopian survival series. Broad Plain Darkening (The Pale #2) will be published on October 20th. Thank you to my awesome publisher Odyssey Books.

Plus I’m thrilled about the launch: at Readings Carlton on Monday November 5th.

If you are keen to reacquaint yourself with the canini and to meet the equii, this is the sequel you’ve been waiting for. Oh, and there are some interesting humans as well, not to mention the humachines of the Pale…Wolf face

In the meantime, I’m playing with a number of online tools to create posts and notices. The beautiful wolves above are from Canva’s extensive library of free images.

Last Word of the Week: Rachel Nightingale

Today we are speaking with Rachel Nightingale, and we’re all very excited about the release of Columbine’s Tale, the second book in Rachel’s delightful and mysterious – not to say addictive – travelling players series.

Last Word of the Week: Greetings, Rachel. Tell us, when did you write your first story?

Rachel: I think I was about 8. It was about Pasha the bear and his roller-skating little sister, Sasha. Unfortunately that marvellous manuscript has been lost to time, but I still have a copy of Big Chief Puff-Puff, which I also wrote and illustrated around that time. My dad even laminated it for me. I think it was the wish fulfilment of a child who wanted more cake than she got, because the chief ate lots of delicious food before exploding, so I had to draw cupcakes and lollipops and all kinds of tasty treats.

LWOTW: Sounds delicious – you must have had quite an imagination as a child. What do you think now about dreams, imagination, and planning?

If you mean dreams as in goals, I think they’re vital – they give drive and hope. I wouldn’t have got to where I am now without my dreams of becoming a published writer.

Imagination is one of the crucial tools in my writing kit. I try to exercise it as much as possible. Unfortunately, the downside of a very active imagination is a tendency to over-worry so I have to watch out for that.

And I’m definitely a planner. I like to see the big picture laid out before me first, then I can jump into the middle of it and be confident about where I’m going.

LWOTW: That probably explains how you get so much done so well. What’s the highlight of your writing career so far?

There have been so many in the last year since my first book, Harlequin’s Riddle, was published, that it’s hard to pick one. I’ve learned that it’s important to celebrate all the highlights, big and small, because the rollercoaster ride has as many downs as it does ups.

LWOTW: A nice cautionary touch for all of us writers! What are you most busy with at the moment?

Finishing Pierrot’s Song, the third book in the Tales of Tarya trilogy. Although I have it all plotted out, it’s not just a case of getting words on the page because the end of a series requires me to tie up a lot of loose ends. All the characters need some sort of resolution to their story arc, all the elements of the mystery need to come together in a satisfactory climax, everything needs to have continuity. It requires a fair amount of concentration and I double check anything I’m not sure of. Mina has come a long way from the young woman who wanted to find her brother – now the weight of the world is on her shoulders and I need to make sure readers are happy with how she deals with that.

LWOTW: Sounds like quite a task. A writer’s work is never done! If you could say one thing to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Treat your writing as a craft, something that will continue to develop the more you work at it, and you will go a long way.

And the Last Word of The Week: What’s your favourite colour?

Mauve and aqua. Can’t pick just one!

Thanks, Rachel, for those words.

You can find Rachel at the following links:

Website and blog: www.rachel-nightingale.info

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TalesofTarya

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NightingaleRA

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16761365.Rachel_Nightingale

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/rlstarling70/

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

And you can buy Rachel’s books at the following Links:

Book One – Harlequin’s Riddle:

http://odysseybooks.com.au/titles/9781922200990/

Book Two – Columbine’s Tale:

http://odysseybooks.com.au/bookstore/#!/PRE-ORDER-Columbines-Tale-available-15-September/p/114463992/category=0

and keep an eye out in 2019 for Pierrot’s Song!

Last Word of the Week: Elizabeth Foster

This week we are speaking with Australian author Elizabeth Foster, whose middle-grade-approaching-YA novel Esme’s Wish I wrote a review about earlier this year.

Manly book launch

Last Word of the Week: Greetings, Elizabeth! Tell us, when did you write your first story?

Elizabeth: When I was young, I never imagined I would write stories. It seemed outside the realm of possibility. I remember writing poems as a child, but unfortunately have no record of them. Luckily, my aunt kept a story I wrote back in primary school, about a girl with magic spectacles. Since I now write fantasy, it is a sweet story I’m glad I still have.

LWOTW: As a fantasy author, what do you think of dreams, imagination, and planning?

I write best when I am in a rather dreamy head space, almost as if I am once-removed from the work itself, so I guess dreaming is an essential part of my writing life. As for planning, I refused to plan my first book, but have since been won over to the idea that my muse quite likes some sort of guidance. When it comes to imagination, if there was no opportunity for colouring outside the lines I think life would quickly become very dreary.

LWOTW: Good point! What’s the highlight of your writing career so far?

I love the fact that Esme’s Wish is published and people actually read it and enjoy it enough to want to read the sequel – I’m still pinching myself! Another highlight that comes to mind is receiving Wendy Orr’s commendation for my book cover. A writer friend encouraged me to ask her and to my absolute surprise, Wendy, a wonderful and generous veteran author who has written many award-winning books, agreed.

LWOTW: That’s wonderful! So, what are you most busy with at the moment?

I have finally got back into writing the second book in the Esme series. I’m also working on getting better at photography. Now that I live near the water I am newly inspired. I used to paint and I miss being visually creative, even though I do get to imagine scenes for my books.

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LWOTW: I’m glad to hear that Esme #2 is on the way. Now, if you could say one thing to aspiring writers, what would it be?

I always give the same advice. Write a lot, read widely, seek useful feedback and stay humble. Eventually you might find you have on your hands a publishable story or two!

And the Last Word of The Week: What’s your favourite colour?

All the blues.

Last Word of the Week: Patricia Leslie

This week, I’m very excited to speak with Patricia Leslie, who writes urban fantasy that blurs the edges of reality with a dashing mix of action and history. You might know her books Keeper of the Way, The Ouroboros Key, and A Single Light. If not yet, pop them on your TBR list 🙂

Last Word of the Week: When did you write your first story, Patricia?

Patricia: I remember loving the physical action of writing before I could form letters so probably not long after I started school. I was an enthusiastic creative writer all through school. Writing was my way of sharing the words I couldn’t articulate (I was very shy), making sense of all the ideas in my head, and planning. I’ve “always” written whether it be stories and silly poems, notes on books I’ve read, quotes, or plans for world domination – it has all come from the scratch of a pen on paper.

A good session of writing is exhilarating and I miss it when I’m caught up in the minutiae of a writer’s life – not to mention family and work life on top of that! Some days, it’s all I can do to raise the remote control to change the channel on the television and others I race home and spend hours on my iPad or with my notebook, writing and writing and writing.

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LWOTW: Interesting! Tell us, what do you think of dreams, imagination, and planning?

I have used some of my dreams (and nightmares) in my novels and short stories. One story I wrote called “Forward” is entirely based on a good/bad dream based on Whisper Magic, possession, and Fate. I’ve mentioned in other interviews that I’ve always been a committed day-dreamer and have concocted whole worlds, characters, and magics in my head. I use my downtime (usually right before I go to sleep) to imagine scenarios in the hope I’ll go on to dream about them. More often than not though my dreams are all about processing things that are happening in my life or feelings or anticipations.

Planning: I’m a list-maker so naturally I also plan, but once I start writing I just write. Some pieces are put aside until they are ready to fit into the overarching plan and some change the plan completely. Flexibility is the key to avoid inhibiting the flow of creativity.

LWOTW: I’m with you on the flexibility thing. And what’s the highlight of your writing career so far?

  1. Receiving a notification from Lending Rights Australia that I’m about to receive a payment! I do enjoy monetary surprises!
  2. But before that, there are two amazing moments: winning first place in a short story competition on my birthday and receiving my first publishing contract (which was also my scariest moment).

LWOTW: Prizes, birthdays and publishing contracts. How divine! What are you most busy with at the moment?

Promoting my latest novel, Keeper of the Way, which is Book 1 of Crossing the Line, and researching/writing books 2 & 3.

I’ve been updating my website, reinvigorating my previously sparse newsletter, writing lots of guest posts, and contacting book bloggers about reviews. As well, I’ve been organising speaking opportunities. Next on my To Do list is following up with bookshops.

LWOTW: Good luck! If you could say one thing to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Never give up

And the Last Word of The Week: What’s your favourite colour?

A light aqua/turquoise/green kind of hue

Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing on Last Word of the Week.

 

You can find Patricia at https://www.patricialeslie.net/

Patricia Leslie’s books are available through all the usual online outlets

Last Word of the Week: Julian Barr

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Julian Barr, whose debut novel The Way Home has just been released by the awesome Odyssey Books.

At one stage, I taught the subject Backgrounds to English Literature at the University of Melbourne, so both the Iliad and the Odyssey loom large in my internal world. I’m excited to see them take on a new lease of life in Julian’s YA The Ashes of Olympus series!

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LWOTW: Salve, Julian! Tell us, when did you write your first story?

I have the vaguest memory of writing a piece of Thomas the Tank Engine fanfic when I was really little, but I wrote my first original story when I was about seven. It was a thrilling tale of a boy who woke up to find himself transformed into a koala. In retrospect, it was a little bit Franz Kafka, only less surreal and creepifying.

LWOTW: And with not so much buzz, perhaps. What do you think of dreams, imagination, and planning?

For most writers, the first two come easy. The last part is harder. Planning is an acquired skill which ideally gets better with time and practice. We’re very lucky to live in an age when there are so many resources out there to assist.

LWOTW: I’ll have to find out what those are! What’s the highlight of your writing career so far?

When the email arrived from Odyssey Books with an offer of a contract for my debut novel. I was shaking as I read it, but so thrilled. The title is The Way Home, the first book of the Ashes of Olympus Trilogy. It’s a YA historical fantasy based on Greek mythology, in which a band of exiles must brave the wrath of the gods to find a place to call home. That said, seeing the talented Aussie artist (and old mate) Matt Wolf bring the illustrations to life was a definite highlight. See the header for an example of his extraordinary work.

TWH

LWOTW: I can’t wait to get my hands on it. What are you most busy with at the moment?

Edits on the second Ashes of Olympus book. I’m also working with the amazing archaeologist Dr Amelia Brown on an academic book. We are translating the early medieval sources regarding St. Nicholas. Yep, as in Santa. That started when I was researching an historical novel about St. Nick, but I was shocked to learn the sources hadn’t been translated into English. I was lucky enough to study Greek at uni, but I am a big believer in making research as accessible as possible. Since we started, a couple of collaborative translations have cropped up online, which is awesome, but this will be the first peer-reviewed translation with commentary. I also have a couple of other fiction projects in early stages, but they are a bit hush-hush at the moment.

LWOTW: How intriguing! If you could say one thing to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Remember the value of kindness. Take every learning opportunity. Be in it for the long haul. And you don’t have to be afraid.

And the Last Word of The Week: What’s your favourite colour?

Blue! No doubt due to the continuing influence of Thomas, haha.

 

Julian’s links:

Website/blog: jbarrauthor.com

Twitter: @jbarrauthor

Where to buy: The Way Home is available through all the major online booksellers by the time this interview is released. Or, even better, see if your local indie bookstore or library can get it for you!

New Year: the year of yes

Sure, I can do it. 2017 is the year to make stuff happen. I’m very excited about having a publishing contract from the wonderful Odyssey Books (‘where books are an adventure’). That means I have to fulfil my end of the deal: become discoverable, share my writing, and stay alert. In other words, act like a real author!

For someone who spends a great deal of time thinking and writing and reading and generally living inside her own head, the task of maintaining a decent online presence is a little daunting. However, this year is my time to carry on the Obama legacy: yes we can.