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Posts tagged ‘The Stars in the Night’

The Middle Child Reads

2020 has begun with a great deal of destruction, loss and anxiety for us in Australia. I will write more  about this, but I also need to take it on board – it’s part of me now.

I wish it need not have happened in my time,

And I can still do bits and pieces – like this list of twenty positive actions.

This week, I’m looking over my shoulder, gathering strength for the times ahead.

Last year, 2019, was pivotal for me in many ways:

I could say that 2019 is the year that convinced me that I am writer. So that was quite affirming, as well as a huge relief! Looks like I can sort of do this thing I’ve always longed to do.

Middle Child Reads

Some of you know that I ‘suffer’ from Middle Child Syndrome. I’m not the eldest, or the youngest; I’m not the prettiest, or the most artistic; I’m not the most talented sportsperson, or the most charming bloke. Each one of those titles belongs to one of my six siblings. Three older, three younger. (Search Middle Child Memes – they’re hilarious!)

Your classic middle child, so they say, craves the attention that is lavished on their older and younger sibs. Mid kids are said to be overachievers as they try desperately to be noticed. I could call 2019 the year of overachievement.

But I won’t. I’d rather say that my defining characteristic is that  I’m the reader – reading is my superpower – and now I feel I can confidently say

I’m the writer!

Oooh, that felt good.

Thank you so much for your support and interest in 2019. Next week I’d better get my head properly around 2020.

Teddy bears, wolves, and cow pats

My spirit animal is probably cute and cuddly rather than strong and noble. What do you think? I can dream … I’m pretty sure heart and soul would be part of it though…

Today I’m sharing this wonderful interview with Meeting the Author. What fabulous questions! Thanks to Camilla Downs, gracious host of Meeting the Authors website, author, poet, nature photographer, and all around good egg.

For great insights and intros to new books, you can follow Meeting the Authors at

Here’s my interview. As Camilla says, watch out for the cow pats!

Historical fiction

The plight of humanity is a big theme in wartime and in war writing – for individuals, families and nations alike. After researching Australian war writing for her PhD, Clare’s passion has now inspired her own creative work, The Stars in the Night, which was released in January 2019.

From the beaches of Semaphore to the shores of Gallipoli, the mud of Flanders and red dust of inland Australia, Clare’s novel The Stars in the Night is a story of love, brotherhood, and resilience featuring the confident young Harry Fletcher.

Harry is sure that he will marry Nora, no matter what their families say. He’s certain that he will always be there to protect Eddie, the boy his father saved from the gutters of Port Adelaide. Only the War to End All Wars might get in the way. See the Stars.

Save the date! March 20th

The Stars in the Night launch event is confirmed: Wednesday March 20th 2019 at Readings Carlton, 6.30pm. All welcome!


Hello Stars!

The Stars in the Night is here. It’s been a long journey with Harry Fletcher and his WWI adventures.


‘The Stars in the Night’ is here

You can now buy the story of Harry and Nora from Amazon and all online retailers. Plus it will soon be in some retail bookshops!


The Stars in the Night

Latest review:

Baffled Bear Books : ‘a story of broken lives and enduring love’

‘Rhoden’s style is deeply humanist … If you’re interested in layered world-building, nuanced plotlines, and complex characters, pay attention.’

Aurealis Magazine

‘From its evocative cover, to the very last sentence, The Stars In The Night is one of those stories which stays with you long after the last page is turned.’

Jaffa Reads Too

‘Rhoden has crafted real men with cares and troubles and shame and big hearts.’

Isobel Blackthorn, author of The Drago Tree

‘This is a beautiful heartfelt story that tells of love and hope amidst the backdrop of World War I.’


‘An intimate exploration of the losses of war and the courage required to start anew.’

Kate Murdoch, author of Stone Circle


The Stars in the Night is available now

Read more reviews here


Read more about Clare’s dystopian sci-fi series 

The Pale (Chronicles of the Pale #1)

Broad Plain Darkening (Chronicles of the Pale #2)

The Ruined Land (Chronicles of the Pale #3)

The Stars in the Night – a sample

November 1970

There was a rhythm to the way Harry Fletcher did things, year in, year out.

If you hadn’t started studying by the time he tied the new canes of the Albertine rose up the verandah post, then you were getting behind. When exam results came out, he’d be putting a new coat of glossy black on the front door and washing down the weatherboards in preparation for Christmas visitors. You could rely on him asking after your results and showing an interest in your choices. He knew everyone’s name in the street, and he would talk to anyone; he always had a word to the postie, the milkman, everyone’s visitors, delivery men, council workers, kids cycling by during the holidays on their way to the beach. Anyone walking a dog.

Love. Duty. And the habit of decades.

Not a task was left undone, no small repair awaited attention; no maintenance job was too small, or too big, for Harry Fletcher. Now, a month after Mrs Fletcher had died, it looked like the old man was finally letting things lapse.

The house was a double fronted, two-storey place, and old—one of those houses with the front boards cut in blocks to mimic the sandstone of its grander neighbours. Most of the back part, downstairs at least, was built of corrugated iron. Only the chimneys were brick. Every four or five years, Mr Fletcher painted the whole place a pearly blue-grey with white trim. The street number—Eleven—was a broad sweep of black wrought iron above the left-hand window. The sea air had courted the weatherboards for nearly a century, and Mr Fletcher was often seen refusing these advances on the house’s behalf, making careful repairs to dry-rotted window frames and scraping back any flaking paint on the barge-boards. Nothing was left to decline untended.

It was a noisy family home at one time. Alex Fletcher would hare around the front lawn on his push-bike, with his two little sisters in pursuit, squealing fit to burst your eardrums. Or Alex and his father would play for hours at cricket, with Winnie and little Vera losing attention in the flowery field while Mrs Fletcher watched from her seat on the front verandah. Then the girls had music blaring out of the upstairs window, Glenn Miller and Bing Crosby—American stuff. That was during the war, after Alex went away and before both Winsome and Vera were nursing.

The house was quieter after that, until the granddaughter, Alex’s little girl Kate, came to live with the Fletchers. Her mother had married again after Alex died. The kiddie wanted to stay with her grandparents. Mrs Fletcher gave up teaching to mind her. But that was years ago too.

This morning the sun poured gold across the whole scene. The door was closed, but the upstairs windows were open to the breeze. Passers-by noticed the scent of the roses and the quiet. Usually, people looked up as they passed, ready to return the old man’s greeting. It got to be a habit whenever they walked down the street. Today no one was there. But for the open windows, the place could have been deserted.

The house itself was very quiet, considering that two people were inside working on a difficult task.

Upstairs, a young woman sat cross-legged on the floor reading from a small notebook. Her long, straight brown hair was tied back with a bit of woven braid and she wore a loose shirt of soft Indian linen over faded jeans. Around her, sorted into rough piles, were letters, lists, books, newspapers, postcards, music scores, and photos. She turned the penultimate page, frowning, and gave a surprised noise. She looked again through the small box in front of her, but there was no sign of another notebook. She went to the door and called aloud.

‘Pop, where’s the rest of this?’

‘Don’t call me Pop. Harry will do. The rest of what?’

‘This book.’ Kate hung over the balustrade and waved a slim, dark blue notebook at her grandfather in the hall below. ‘It says “Volume One” on the front page. There must be more. It can’t just stop here.’


Want to read more? The Stars in the Night is available here.