Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Emma Viskic

Welcome Emma Viskic to my blog.  Emma is a Melbourne based crime fiction writer. She has won two of Australia’s premier crime friction short story awards: the Ned Kelly S.D. Harvey Award (2014) and the New England Thunderbolt Award (2013). She has had stories placed and shortlisted in numerous other competitions and been published in Award Winning Australian Writing. She wrote the final draft of Resurrection Bay while being mentored through the UK WoMentoring Project. Emma is also a classically trained musician.

Emma Viskic

Emma Says:

 

When I was a child… I spent most weekends and evenings playing ‘Adventure’ with my brother and sister. We’d travel to distant planets on our backyard swings, exploring strange landscapes and fighting monsters. For some reason this often involved real life danger to my (much younger) brother, but it never ended with a trip to hospital. Well, hardly ever.

 

My favourite book of 2015… I read a lot of great books this year, but one that has really stayed with me is Black Rock, White City by Alec Patrić. It follows the story of Jovan, a Serbian refugee and poet, who now works as a janitor in an outer-suburban Melbourne hospital. There is a thriller-like plot threaded through the novel, but it’s the examination of Jovan’s character, his past losses and present struggles, that draws you in. It’s a raw, sad, beautiful book.

 

 

Inspiration…where did the inspiration for your protagonist in Resurrection Bay – Caleb Zelic, come from ?

My murky subconscious! My rough drafts are directed by pure instinct. It’s only when I’ve written a few chapters that I stop and examine what I’ve got. A first I couldn’t work out why Caleb was deaf. In fact, I couldn’t even work out why he was a man. Where was the kick-arse female detective I’d always assumed I’d write? So I examined what I’d written and began to see glimpses of a girl I’d gone to school with. She shared many of the same qualities as Caleb: she was watchful, proud, hyper-aware, and profoundly deaf. But Caleb shared traits with other people I’d known too, all of them men. Wonderful, complicated, uncommunicative men. So in many ways, I think he was born of my need to understand the people around me.

 

 

Research… To research Resurrection Bay I spoke with people in the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, tried to learn to lip-read, and began studying Auslan. Because Caleb is so determined to live in the hearing world, I went to my first Auslan class still unsure if he was going to use sign language at all. Ten minutes into my first lesson I knew he had to. It’s a beautiful language, and the perfect way to demonstrate Caleb’s closeness with people. So he speaks English most of the time, but signs with those he loves.

 

 

Tell me more about the Womentoring Project…

The WoMentoring Project is an international mentoring service that teams professional literary women with emerging female writers. I wrote the final draft of Resurrection Bay while being mentored by writer and editor, Janette Currie. It was a life-changing experience. Before I was accepted into the program I was writing in a vacuum, with no feedback or advice. Janette gave me guidance and support, and taught me how to see my own work with fresh eyes.

 

 

How do the worlds of performing and teaching inform your writing?

Performing and teaching have both been great foundations for my writing. So much of teaching is about psychology, particularly when you teach instrumental music. It’s given me lots of insight into human behaviour. I also find the detailed work of writing similar to playing music. I read my work aloud the same way I practise the clarinet, playing and replaying phrases, adjusting a word here, an emphasis there.

 

My next book is… Book two in the Caleb Zelic series. It begins six months after the events of Resurrection Bay. I don’t want to give away too much, but I think it’s safe to say that things are looking a bit grim for poor Caleb.

 

Next year I … (something personal, plans of travel, festivals you will be appearing at, concerts you will be attending/or performing …)

I’m really looking forward to the Perth Writer’s Festival. I’ll be on a few panels, but also spending a fair bit of time gawping at some of my favourite writers.

I love…Eggplant. If I had to choose between only ever eating chocolate or eggplant… I’d choose chocolate, of course. But it’d be a close thing.

 

The best thing about being a writer… Is disappearing into the words. When the writing is going well I fall into the story and nothing else matters.

 

 

You can follow Emma on twitter here:  @EmmaViskic

 

 

Goodreads Reading Challenge 2015

completed challenge

 

Congrats! You have read 200 books of a goal of 200!

Now that wasn’t so hard was it? It is the reviewing 200 books that is the hard work.

 

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Lorraine Campbell

Join me in wishing Melbourne author Lorraine Campbell a very warm welcome to my blog and to congratulate her on  the release of her latest book The Butterfly Enigma, a book I enjoyed enormously. Thanks for participating and sharing with us a little of your story Lorraine.

Lorraine Campbell

When I was a child… I absolutely loved to read. Long after lights out, I would pull the bedcovers over my head and read by torch light. All the children’s classics, Enid Blyton, Grimm’s Fairytales, Folktales of Scotland (some of which were really scary!) Then on to my brother’s bookshelf. Boy’s Own Annual – stories with titles like “Rockfist Rogan of the RAF” – and all the Biggles books. I can still name most of the fighter aircraft of WWI and WWII – from the Sopwith Camel to the Messerschmitt 109. Perhaps that’s where the seeds of writing about that time in history were sown!

 

 

Lessons I learned as a court reporter…That if you’re lucky enough to have had a normal childhood, with parents who loved you, then never cease to be grateful for that. Working in the courts, you see such terrible things. What can happen to young people who aren’t so lucky. Who suffer all forms of abuse and neglect. I always think, in another life, that could have been me.

 

 

My favourite book of 2015… is Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling.) The best by far in the series. This one is much more character driven and less weighed down by too many red herrings and unnecessary detail. As a writer of historical fiction, I also want to mention The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth. A clever blending of fact and fiction and underpinned by meticulous research. This one is a real page turner, full of action and suspense. I won’t spoil the ending – save to say it’s an absolute corker!

 

Research…is one is one of the best parts of writing historical fiction. I sometimes think I could spend my life doing research. You find yourself going down all sorts of different paths and byways, endlessly fascinated by what you’re discovering. If you want to write authentic historical fiction, you need to be familiar with every aspect of daily life. What your characters wore, what they ate, how they got around. One week you might be researching the medals and uniforms of the German Army. The next week you’re reading up on French fashions of the 1930s and those outrageous creations of Elsa Schiaparelli: gloves that ballooned out to the elbows, hats in the shape of a shoe. And then, of course, the most exciting aspect of research: travelling to all the places I was writing about. Walking in the footsteps of my characters. When I was researching Resisting the Enemy, breaking the budget and splurging on three nights at the Hotel Scribe in Paris. Chatting up the desk clerk, learning all about its history, photos of how it looked during the War. More importantly for my plot, where the exits were located. How they were accessed.

 

 

The cover of The Butterfly Enigma… is a painting that was given to me many years ago. We decided to use it because it seemed to fit the story so well. Beautiful… mysterious. Even the little hair ties look like butterflies – an image which is central to Lena’s connection with her past.

Cover The Butterfly Enigma

 

I love Melbourne because… the opera house and the theatres are always full. I love the beautiful tree-lined boulevards, the trams, the State Library with its iconic dome, the cosmopolitan foodie culture, the quirky outdoor cafés that abound in all the suburbs, the crazy weather: as one visitor said recently, it’s perfectly feasible in Melbourne to get sunstroke and hyperthermia in one day. And no matter what suburb you live in, you’re always within easy driving distance of the beach.

 

 

 

The best thing about being a writer…is being able to inhabit two different worlds. The everyday one and the parallel universe of your imagination. When you become immersed in your writing, you get lost in that alternative world and you start living it. This is where the magic happens. You become your character. Bringing a character to life is one of the most rewarding parts of being a writer.

 

 

My favourite car is… a mimosa yellow Triumph TR6 sports car, one of the last series ever made. It had a hard top, soft top, and tonneau cover. I really loved that car. I drove it for about 20 years, and it nearly broke my heart to sell it. My only consolation was that it was going to a good home – a mad Triumph and classic car enthusiast who promised to love and cherish it forever.

 

LORRAINE'S TRIUMPH TR6

A typical day for me…starts with an early morning run – in one of the local parks, or along the beach front. That’s my number one priority before I do anything else. Writing is such a sedentary occupation, and for me maintaining a fit and healthy body is an important part of the whole writing process. Then a hearty breakfast to keep me going during the day. Sometimes when I’m writing I can sit at the computer for six hours straight and suddenly realise I’ve forgotten to have lunch.

 

My next book is… just in my head. It’s all there, ideas swirling around, a couple of characters taking shape. At the moment I’m caught up with all the pre-release marketing aspects of The Butterfly Enigma. But as soon as I get some free time, I’ll be able to put words down on the page.

 

Thanks for sharing Lorraine – love the car!

 

 

Six Things You Didn’t Know About Author Rachel Amphlett

Cover Three Lives Down

Rachel Amphlett previously worked in the UK publishing industry, as a TV/film extra, played lead guitar in rock bands, and worked with BBC radio before relocating from England to Australia in 2005.

After returning to writing, Rachel enjoyed publication success both in Australia and the United Kingdom with her short stories, before her first thriller White Gold was released in 2011, with the Italian foreign rights being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TimeCrime imprint in 2014. Rachel has since successfully published five more novels including the thriller Three Lives Down which I enjoyed immensely.

Welcome to my blog Rachel Amphlett.

 

Rachel Amphlett

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Rachel Amphlett

 

I want to live out of a suitcase.

Yet due to renovating a house for the past three years, we haven’t travelled as much as I’d like – that’s all set to change from next year, as we’re due to go back to the UK for a few weeks to catch up with family and friends. After that, it’s going to be a case of saving up for a trip to Ecuador as soon as possible – and the thought of taking a year off to travel is very appealing to us!

 

 

My favourite film of 2015 (so far!)

Without a doubt, it has to be The Martian – having read and loved the book, I think like a lot of fans there was a bit of trepidation going to see this at the cinema and wondering if they’d manage to translate it well to the big screen. Of course, it was brilliant.

 

My favourite book of 2015

‘Night Heron’ by Adam Brookes. It’s about a man who escapes a Chinese labour camp and is revealed to have worked for British intelligence 20 years’ previously. It’s a cracking thriller as the protagonist uses all his wiles to evade capture and get back in contact with MI6. Brookes has a second novel out now, and I’ll definitely be adding that to the ‘To Be Read’ pile.

 

The best part about research is…

Trying new experiences. The highlight of this year has been flying a Blackhawk helicopter simulator – yes, I could’ve written the scene adequately enough without doing this, but actually being in the ‘pilot’ seat gave a whole new angle to it. I’m now actively coming up with ideas for stories that’ll give me the chance to try some new stuff next year

 

I wish I had more time to…

Get the ideas out of my head onto paper. Seriously, I must start investigating some dictation software. I read about how prolific writers such as Russell Blake are, and I envy that output. Trying to write around a full-time job is hard though, so I’m thinking a few dictation sessions in the evenings once the house is quiet might be the way to go…

 

My next book is..

Being written. Actually, I have three projects on the go, all of which I’d like to release in 2016 – watch this space!

 

 

You can keep in touch with Rachel via her mailing list by signing up at www.rachelamphlett.com

 

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Julie Goodwin

Julie Goodwin's Homemade Takeaway

 Welcome Julie Goodwin to my blog. As the first winner of Australian Masterchef Julie needs no introduction – her name is synonymous with fresh food and fun family friendly recipes which she shares in her five acclaimed cook books.  Thank you Julie for spending some time with us today.

Ten things You Didn’t Know About Julie Goodwin

 

I was born in Sydney

 

I have written 5 cookbooks . Our Family Table, The Heart of the Home, Gather, 20/20 Meals and Home-made Takeaway.

 

When I was young I played clarinet in Hornsby Concert Band.

 

My favourite ingredients to cook with are garlic, lemons, eggs.

 

My biggest cooking disaster was when I opened the door to my dinner guests and the dog got up on the table and ran away with a whole roast chicken in his mouth.

 

When I am not cooking I am hanging out with my boys and my dogs.

 

My charity work involves doing various things for Oxfam, ChildFund, McGrath Foundation, Cure for MND Foundation, Coast Shelter.

 

My favourite book is Beach Music by Pat Conroy

 

My Masterchef highlights are when I won the cupcake challenge with my Lemon Diva, and cooking at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

 

The most treasured items in my kitchen are my teacups and saucers. Some belonged to my nan, some to Mick’s grandma and mother, and others I have collected from various places over the years.

If you would  like to leant more about Julie – her recipes, cooking school (Julie’s Place),blog, charity work and more please click on the link below.

News

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Rachael Johns

Rachael Johns

Welcome to my blog Rachael Johns. Rachael is an Australian author (via Newcastle Upon Tyne), living in rural Western Australia. Rachael is an English teacher by trade, a mum, a supermarket owner by day, a chronic arachnophob, and a writer by night. She rarely sleeps. Rachael’s love of rural Australia is clearly evident in her books.

 

A big congratulations Rachael on the release of your new book, The Patterson Girls.

Cover The Patterson Girls

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Rachael Johns

 

  • She has four half sisters and brothers and didn’t meet her dad until she was 17.

 

  • She has a bit of a reputation of being a Diet Coke addict, but drinks no more than two cans a day actually.

 

  • She won a hundred word short story competition at university but has been struggling at keeping her words to a minimum ever since.

 

  • The first book she wrote was called A BATTLE WITH FOREVER and based on her own high school romance.

 

  •  She once appeared on a television ad for a bank but cannot now remember the name of the bank.

 

  • She was at Parliament House in Canberra in 1992 with her whole year seven class when a man from Adelaide drove his four-wheel drive vehicle through the main doors, stopping in the main hall. Her class never did get to complete their tour.

 

  • She and her husband first danced to ‘The Birdie Song – with a little bit of this and a little bit of that…’ at their wedding.

 

  • In year nine she spent a weekend LIVING at the Perth Zoo for forty-hour famine!

 

  • There is a huge possibility she is related to prolific North-East England author, Catherine Cookson.

 

  • She has a grouse claw broach (go look it up 🙂 ) and it features in the book she is currently writing!

 

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Kaye Dobbie

Welcome to my blog Kaye Dobbie.

Kaye Dobbie

Kaye is an Australian author living on the central Victorian goldfields. She has been writing professionally ever since she won the Grafton Big River short story contest at the age of 18. Her career has undergone many changes, including writing Australian historical fiction under the name Lilly Sommers and penning romance novels as Sara Bennett. Kaye has written about, and been published in, many countries, but her passion for Australia shows in her current Harlequin Mira novels.

A big congratulations Kaye on the release of your new book, Sweet Wattle Creek.

Sweet Wattle Creek Kaye Dobbie Cover

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Kaye Dobbie:

I’m married to an Accountant called Rob and I know of at least two other writers who are also married to Accountants called Rob. (Not the same one I hasten to add!)

 

  1. At one stage we had six cats, all strays, a rescued dog and five gold fish. It was crowded.

 

  1. My mother’s sister married my father’s father. This has caused much confusion and many long explanations when it comes to me and my cousin. Because as well as being my cousin she became my step-aunt.

 

  1. I have an allergy to the dust in books and have to wear a mask when I’m sorting them.

 

  1. As a child I was home schooled. We lived on a yacht built by my father, and sailed up the east coast of Australia.

 

  1. I was once rescued by a Life Saver from a rip in the surf.

 

  1. I was almost School President, a job to which I would be totally unsuited.

 

  1. I’ve never felt comfortable in the water since Jaws.

 

  1. Once I was writing in my study, heard a rustle behind me, and when I turned around there was a large blue tongued lizard watching me.

 

10.  I have a strong desire to live on a small island far away from everything.

 

 

For more information visit http://www.kayedobbie.com

 

Friday Freebie 4th September 2015

It has been a fantastic week on my blog – so much great interaction, some great books reviewed and an amazing guest post from Alexandra Sokoloff author of The Huntress Moon #1  in FBI Thriller Series. It has been a hugely successful blogging week largely thanks to Alexandra’s generosity is sharing a little of herself with us, thank you to everyone who has commented, liked or viewed the posts.

Cover The Huntress Moon

In appreciation for your support Alexandra Sokoloff and I would like to give you an opportunity to win an ebook of The Huntress Moon – an ebook means this is an international giveaway!  If you have *liked* or commented on Alexandra’s guest post you will automatically go into the random draw.  If  you are yet to leave you mark on that post – you have until midnight Friday the 11th of September to do so. Good luck!

 

*****And the winner has been redrawn Janine K is the lucky winner *****

 

 

Ten Things You Didnt Know About Alexandra Sokoloff

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Alexandra Sokoloff

Today I am extremely pleased to welcome Alexandra Sokoloff to my blog – I discovered this amazing wordsmith when I read The Huntress Moon, the first book in this FBI Thriller series, you have seen my review – you know how much I love this book! ( And I cant wait to read the next two in the series  – Blood Moon and Cold Moon (I am savouring these two books like Easter candy – and keeping as special reading treats).

Welcome Alexandra.

Sokoloff_midshot_1MB

  1.    I live in a two-author household

Not just a two-author household, but a two crime author household. I met the Scottish noir author Craig Robertson at the Left Coast Crime writing conference in Colorado Springs, and we got to talking… and a month later I was living in Scotland (from Southern California! It must be love, I’m telling you…) We’ve been together two and a half years, now, which is pretty good, considering we never had a first date. Living with another crime writer makes for some interesting, if bloody, dinner table conversation. And we love doing research trips together!

2.     We also share the house with the world’s most expensive cat.

At the same time that I met Craig, a feral cat started hanging around my parents’ house, and basically decided that I was the One. I’m a pushover for animals and I had recently lost my two beloved sister cats (22 years old). You can see where this is going, right? Yes, in true Hollywood rags-to-riches style, Clooney the homeless grifter became an international jet-setter. It cost more to move him over here than it cost to move me. But life is better with a cat.

3.    I am that thing people always say don’t exist: a Los Angeles native.

All right, so I was born in Northern California, but I lived in LA for most of my life since then, with just a few forays out. And most of my friends have, too. It’s a myth that we don’t exist; it’s just that we natives tend to know each other while transplants tend to befriend other transplants.

4.     But I really think of myself as being from Berkeley.

I went to college at the University of California, Berkeley – I never even applied anywhere else. I had always noticed that the most interesting, most empowered women I knew went to Berkeley and I wanted to be that kind of person. Berkeley is like a time warp to the political activism and cultural experimentation of the 1960’s, and it’s still the place I feel most at home. I enjoy weaving the magic of Berkeley and San Francisco into the Huntress Moon series.

5.    I wasn’t one of those people who always wanted to be a writer.

I started out in musical theater, as an actor/dancer, then director/choreographer before I moved into screenwriting, and did ten years of that before I wrote my first novel. But of course, all that theatrical and screen work was fantastic training for writing novels. It helps me do my job as an author: to put a movie into a reader’s head.

6.     I used to work in the Los Angeles County prison system.

I’ve been a full time writer basically my whole adult life, but when I was just out of college, I worked part-time in the LA prison system, teaching juveniles in the lockup camps. A lot of the social outrage that fuels my Huntress Moon series comes from those years. I was horrified to learn that while the boys were incarcerated mainly for gang activity, 80% of the girls were in jail for prostitution. That’s right – they were locking up the girls instead of the men who were trafficking and abusing them. That injustice has stayed with me and provided a lot of plot lines.

  1.  I am a licensed minister in California.

I got a minister’s license when two friends asked me to officiate at their wedding, and then other people, friends and strangers, started asking me to marry them. And all the couples I’ve married are still together!

8.    I love a good horror movie.

Notice I said good. The declining quality and escalating depravity of the horror genre is what drove me out of screenwriting into novels. But I’m a fan of the greats: The Haunting, The Silence of the Lambs, Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining… hmm, all based on great books! And I have several supernatural thrillers of my own, with my Haunted series.    I teach writing as well as doing it.

9.    I teach writing as well as doing it.

Because I worked as a screenwriter before I was a novelist, I’m often asked to teach screenwriting. I’ll only teach actual screenwriting in LA, because you really have to live in LA if you want that job. But I’m happy to teach authors how to use screen story structure and filmmaking tricks to write better novels. I teach my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workshops internationally, and I have three writing workbooks out, including the brand new Screenwriting Tricks for Authors: STEALING HOLLYWOOD.

10.        I still love dancing more than just about anything.

Being an author is a very sedentary and isolated thing. I’m so glad to have dance to balance out all that brain work. Swing, salsa, jazz, ballet, hip hop, even a little pole – it brings me back into my body and makes me feel human again.

 

 

AXSokoloff@aol.com

http://alexandrasokoloff.com

http://www.facebook.com/alexandra.sokoloff

http://goodreads.com/alexandrasokoloff

http://www.screenwritingtricks.com

 “This interstate manhunt has plenty of thrills…Sokoloff keeps the drama taut and the pages flying.”–‐–‐ Kirkus Reviews

“Who you know: Agatha Christie, Gillian Flynn, Mary Higgins Clark. Who you should be reading: Alexandra Sokoloff–‐–‐     Huffington Pots Books

*****And the winner has been redrawn Janine K you are the lucky winner!****

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Charles Hall

 

Today I welcome expatriate Perth author Charles Hall to my blog. Thanks for sharing with us and good luck on the launch of your book Summer’s Gone.  Over to you Charles 🙂

.

Charles Hall

I decided to try my hand at writing quite late in life: before that I had always been a musician, of sorts, and a songwriter. I first met my wife, who started out as a jazz singer in Melbourne, at a quite strange arts/music/poetry venue in Perth in 1967. After a spell in Melbourne we returned to Perth in ’69 and started a band, Gemini, and later that year we put out a record that was a big hit throughout WA. The song was called Sunshine River, written by Will Taylor, a folkie friend of ours, and for a short time we were pop royalty in Perth. It didn’t last; our next record stiffed and we went back to being pop commoners. We spent the next few decades in London, Perth and Melbourne, and have ended up in a peaceful and remote part of East Gippsland in Victoria. We don’t play gigs very often these days, the amps get heavier as you get older, and some years ago I decided to write a novel instead. ‘Write about what you know,’ they say, so I did. The result is my first novel, Summer’s Gone, set in the Australian music scene of the sixties.

 

Ten other things you’ve always wanted to know. Or not:

 

  • I hitch-hiked from Perth to Melbourne in 1967 when I was 19. With a girl.

 

  • My first car was a very old Austen A40 wagon, purchased in Melbourne for $29 in 1968. Its name was Roger.

 

  • My wife and I tried to drive back to Perth in Roger in 1969. With our little’un. We got as far as Port Pirie.

 

  • The owner of the Port Pirie caravan park gave us $20 for Roger. He planned to paint it up like a Noddy car for the kiddies’ playground. We finally got to Perth by train (them) and hitching lifts (me).

 

  • Two DJs from a Perth radio station heard us play Sunshine River at a restaurant in Araluen. They said, ‘We want you to record that song. It’s going to be a hit.’

 

  • We were going to call our band Genesis. (Pretentious nitwits? Us?) But Clarion Records boss Martin Clarke called to say a new band in Britain had that name, and they were going to be huge. (He was right.) So we became Gemini, for no very good reason.

 

  • I didn’t go to uni until I was 32.

 

  • I didn’t become a high school teacher until I was 59. (But I did a lot of other stuff in between.)

 

  • Summer’s Gone was launched in February 2015, three days after I turned 67.

 

  • I’m a late starter. (Except when it comes to getting married. I did that at 19.)

 

Your life so far sounds like it has been an adventure! Thanks for sharing Charles and good luck with your new writing career.