Writer’s Diary: 1

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(Apologies for the repost, I’m changing my theme and rearranging my blog.)

THE process an author goes through is detailed and individual. In Writer’s Diary I will dip in and note what it is that I do to create my current novel. The posts will be short and to the point, and, on the topic of writing, only. I hope it is useful to both you and me!

I’m currently working my way through a draft of ABSENCE. It’s something like the fifth or sixth draft. (when I think about it, it’s a lot more than that!) As I deleted approximately 50,000w in the last draft the MS was down to about 40k, but the essence of the story is now very clear and tight. So now I’m working my way through and expanding every idea in each chapter. I’m also working backward from C60 back to C1 so that I give every attention to the individual chapters rather than getting lost in the entire story. It’s now back up to just over 63k and I’m at C28.

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Author Kirsten Krauth sings for Johnny Depp (in her dreams).

 

 

 

 

Okay Kirsten! Hard questions first if you dare! Lychees or Peaches?

 

I love them both: the shape of them in my mouth. But I’d have to go for lychees. As a child I loved them in a tin. But discovering them out of the syrup and peeling them by hand is summer.

 

If you were written about in a newspaper, what would the headline say?

 

Wild Colonial Girl Goes on a Rampage: Prime Minister Kidnapped, Whereabouts Unknown

 

 

Hate to think what you’ll do with him? Make him do the ironing? What is your favourite line from a book or movie?

 

“A family’s like a gun. You point it in the wrong direction and you’re going to kill somebody.” – Trust (Hal Hartley)
Which genre do you usually write in? And why do you think this is so?

 

The more I think about it, the less I like to define my writing. I like blurry boundaries. In the case of my first novel, just_a_girl, I see it as a mash up of literary fiction, YA, gritty realism, techy speak, experimental, grungy, comedy, strange romance and magic realism. Does that help?

 

 

I know just_a_girl well Kirsten, and I think that’s a very apt description. Tell me a secret about yourself that nobody in the whole world knows? Go on tell me, nobody but me is listening.

 

It’s so cold in Castlemaine that I often fall asleep in bed, fully clothed, with my finger in the page of a book and the lamp on. I don’t like getting changed as the winter chills me to the bone. Then, when I fall asleep under a doona, two waffle weaves and an alpaca rug, I gradually strip off as I get too hot, but I never remember this part, and by morning I’m usually somehow in my PJs!

 

 

What was your latest book about?

 

just_a_girl is a novel about being isolated and searching for a sense of connection, faith, friendship and healing, and explores what it’s like to grow up negotiating the digital world of facebook, webcams, internet porn, mobile phones and cyberbullying – a world where the line between public and private is increasingly being eroded. It’s about the relationship between a 14 year old girl and her single mother as they negotiate this digital and suburban landscape.

 

 

How did you come up with the title? Did it come to fistycuffs with your editor?

 

The book was inspired by the No Doubt song, ‘just a girl’: ‘I’m just a girl living in captivity’ and Layla uses just_a_girl as her avatar online. I felt like the title just_a_girl was catchy and contemporary, and fully embraced what it is to be a girl and woman living in Western culture today. The title was never questioned along the way. I think the underscores make it distinctive.

 

When you daydream about singing on The Voice (I know you do) what song do you sing and if you could have any celebrity judge in the world turn for you who would it be?

How did you know that I’m a Voice tragic? It is the only show I watch on TV live as it unfolds (except for Offspring). I am rather fond of Ricky Martin (can anyone be so goddamn perfect?). But I’d sing some breathy mysterious number (Sarah Blasko’s All Coming Back) and it would be for Johnny Depp to turn  (he can sing, can’t he?).

 

 

What do you really, really, really, love?

 

Having a bath (or a spa), champagne, going to the movies, my kids laughing together, dancing, disco, Lorrie Moore: preferably all on one day.
Serious stuff now: where can we purchase your latest book?

 

Head to my website (www.kirstenkrauth.com) to find out more about me and just_a_girl.

 

See you in Bendigo, Julie!
Will do Kirsten! And thank you for taking on Lychees or Peaches!

 

If you would like to know more about Kirsten, she can also be found on the following social media.

Twitter: @KirstenKrauth

Facebook

Blog: Wild Colonial Girl

Author website

Goodreads

Pinterest
 

 

Lychees or Peaches? with author David Henley: wherever he lays his hat, that’s his desk!

 

Photograph by Michael Kennedy
Photograph by Michael Kennedy

 

1 Hard questions first: Lychees or Peaches?

 Peaches if you got em

 

2 Pamela Freeman ate all the nectarines so Lychees or Peaches are really you’re only choice. If you were written about in a newspaper, what would the headline say?

Hopefully something like ‘Sci-fi is back’ but don’t they outsource the headlines these days 🙂

 

3 What is your favourite line from a book or movie?

 ‘Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.’

 

4 With that famous reference we possibly don’t need to ask, but which genre do you usually write in? And why do you think this is so?

Sci-fi. For two reasons, I read a lot of science and technology blogs and magazines. The pace of change and the effect it is having on us as a species is fascinating. 

And I found early attempts to write in a contemporary setting, readers were just fixated on who the author was in the story. So I found it almost impossible to write ‘fiction’ in a now-world. It wasn’t fun for me. 

 

5 Tell me a secret about yourself that nobody in the whole world knows. Go on tell me, nobody but me is listening.

 I enjoy certain TV and movies that real men wouldn’t admit to. I’ll just say that Amy Sherman Palladino is awesome. 

 

6 What is your latest book about?

It’s book two in a trilogy and book one ended on a cliff hanger so I’ll be evasive. Basically the problems that had started to be revealed in PJ1 get out of control. The whole series is about future possibilities, where technology could lead us and what a hyper-connected world could look like. For me it is about having fun with ideas and I hope the readers enjoy it as much as I do. 

 

7 How did you come up with the title? Did it come to fistycuffs with your editor?

Manifestations was actually the original title for the first book. I had a new publisher in charge for book two and she wanted to change the direction. I know a lot of authors like to throw their weight around but the publisher is the one who has to sell the book. The packaging is their turf and I respect that. 

 

8  When you daydream about singing on The Voice (I know you do) which song do you sing and if you could have any celebrity judge in the world turn for you who would it be?

‘I wanna be like you’ by King Louis in The Jungle Book. I’ve always wanted to make that into a rock song. 

Vince Noir from The Mighty Boosh. 

 

9 So you’re The Voice dream is to be a mane-wearing rock-star? There’s an image. Okay, so what do you really, really, really, love?

Heart-love or brain-love? My heart will answer the wife, my family and my friends. 

My brain loves complexity and thinking about our crazy mixed up world. 

 

10 You have a Wizard of Oz theme developing here with your Lion and heart interests. Lets move on. Can you show us a quick snap of your work desk? No tidy spic and span ones please. I won’t believe you.

 

Desk? Where we’re going, we don’t need desks. 

I write everywhere. I just sync up my tech and then find a cafe or a couch and bring it all together on a laptop. 

Here’s where I’m writing answers to this Q&A

 

 

11 Serious stuff now: where can we purchase your latest book?

 I can’t show prejudice either way. Most bookshops ‘should’ have it, or can get it from HarperCollins. Ebooks from all the usual suspects. 

 

Thank you for taking part in Lychees or Peaches? David!

If you would like to know more about David, or just want to say hi, you will definitely find him at the following places.

@davidmhenley

www.facebook.com/TerenceBumbly

Www.pierrejnr.com

 

Lychees or Peaches? with author Pamela Freeman: don’t get between Pamela and her drum kit!

 

 !cid_320F7CC6-059E-4458-9745-780E4A0B91C3@optusnet_com

 

 

1 Hard questions first: Lychees or Peaches?

Um…nectarines? Peaches if I must.

 

2 Okay, nectarines it is then (you’re such a rebel Pamela.)  If you were written about in a newspaper, what would the headline say?

Funnily enough, I received a copy of an article about me today.  The headline read:  Top Author Shares Secret With Students.  I’m okay with that one.

 

3 I wonder what that secret was – I bet it has something to do with drums – I guess we have to enroll in your novel writing course to find out! What is your favourite line from a book or movie?

This is hard…I’m a bit of a media girl. It’s likely to be a Monty Python line, like: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Or We would like: a shrubbery. I also love the first line of George Orwell’s 1984: It was a cold, clear day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.

 

4 Which genre do you usually write in? And why do you think this is so?

This is a hard question for me as I’ve just changed genres. In the past, I’ve written mostly fantasy (plus science fiction, mystery and non-fiction).  But my most recent novel is for adults and it’s straight history, set in World War I.  It’s called A Soldier’s Wife.  I suspect I may be writing more of historical fiction – I started a few years ago, with a book about Mary MacKillop’s childhood, but it’s been growing on me. I enjoy the research, I think.  I used to do a lot of research for my day job, and I did find that when I started full-time writing I missed that element, so maybe that’s why I’ve turned to history.

 

5 Tell me a secret about yourself that nobody in the whole world knows? Go on tell me, nobody but me is listening.

I blush to admit it, but I don’t have many secrets. I talk too much for that and my husband knows me too well. Can I use one that he knows?  I have a passion for real estate.  I’m one of those people who are constantly going online to check out what’s open for inspection.  I like to ‘keep an eye on the market’ just in case – even though we have no immediate plans to move!  My husband indulges me in this.  At least it’s a cheap hobby!’

 

6 If that’s the case, Pamela, I’ll remember not to tell you any secrets!  What is your latest book about?

The last published book is a non-fiction book about how Australia changed during Mary MacKillop’s lifetime (a project book, really).  The next one coming out is the fourth Betony book, Princess Betony and the Hobgoblin.  And my current novel is the WWI book, A Soldier’s Wife, which is with the publisher at the moment.  I’m waiting to find out if they’re going to publish it.

 

7 Good luck with A Soldier’s Wife! How did you come up with the title? Did it come to fistycuffs with your editor?

Not so far, but the cover designer hasn’t got hold of it yet!  In my experience, that’s when you are most likely to be asked to change the title. In fact, I’ve changed it twice already. My first working title was 1916, which sounded like a text book; then I called it The Home Front, but I thought that sounded boring.

 

8 When you daydream about singing on The Voice (I know you do) which song do you sing and if you could have any celebrity judge in the world turn for you who would it be?

I love Joel so I would pick him.  As for songs…. so, in my daydream, I sing a lot better than I actually do, of course, so I could handle songs I couldn’t really sing… something jazzy from the 30s, maybe? There’s a Bessie Smith song I heard recently (at a Hugh Laurie concert) which is so much fun and yet so heartbreaking that I couldn’t resist it. It’s called Send me to the Lectric Chair, and it’s a woman singing to the judge, asking him to give her the death penalty because she’s killed her unfaithful lover. Sounds appalling, but it’s a hell of a song! Judge, Judge, please Mister Judge, send me to the ‘lectric chair…

They would turn, oh yes they would!

 

9  What do you really, really, really, love?

My drum kit

 

10 Can you show us a quick snap of your work desk? No tidy spic and span ones please. I won’t believe you.

 

chair

 I don’t write much at a desk.  The great advantage of writing in a chair is that it stays neater than a desk!

 

11 Lovely, lovely chair, I think you might have the secret to writer’s back health. Okay, serious stuff now: where can we purchase your latest book?

My kids’ books are available in most bookshops – or they can be ordered anywhere,  Dymocks, Booktopia, Amazon.  You won’t find Betony at Big W, because it’s a small (gorgeous) edition and they can’t shelve it, but once it’s out in paperback you’ll be able to get it there too (next year).  My adult fantasy books can be ordered also – I would recommend Pulp Fiction books if you want them quickly (0732362750)

 

Thank you for taking the time to do Lychees or Peaches, Pamela!

Pamela Freeman teaches a novel writing course at the Australian Writers’ Centre in Sydney, her next one starts in June, and I think there is still a couple of spaces if you are quick!

 

Pamela can also be found on Facebook at pamelafreemanauthor

 

 

Lychees or Peaches? With author Ian Trevaskis: why we all need a Border Collie named Peggy

Kicking off our new author interview series, Lychees or Peaches, is author, Ian Trevaskis. Let’s go Ian!

 

 

1 Hard questions first: Lychees or Peaches?

Definitely lychees

2 If you were written about in a newspaper, what would the headline say?

Acclaimed Author Admits He Made It All Up!

3 What is your favourite line from a book or movie?

“Take no prisoners!” from the movie Lawrence of Arabia

4 Which genre do you usually write in? And why do you think this is so?

Children’s picture books. Because I’ve never really grown up.

5 Tell me a secret about yourself that nobody in the whole world knows? Go on tell me, nobody but me is listening.

Back in the good old days when I was a kid I had a Border Collie called Peggy. We would often sit on the back verandah and discuss the day’s events. She was never judgemental and I could tell her all my fears and aspirations. She would occasionally nod and offer a lick. 

6 What was your latest book about?

‘Edge of the World’ brilliantly illustrated by Wayne Harris is about a fishing village near the edge of the world grieving for a mother and her children drowned at sea. Toby, the husband finds some magical silver pots in his nets and over time paints the village and brings life and hope back into their world.

7 How did you come up with the title? Did it come to fistycuffs with your editor?

Simple – the village was near the edge of the world! My editor (Donna Rawlins) and I figured that was probably an appropriate title and there were no fisticuffs, probably due to the amount of wine consumed when making the decision.

8 When you daydream about singing on The Voice (I know you do) which song do you sing and if you could have any celebrity judge in the world turn for you who would it be?

I can’t sing to save myself and I’m not prepared to kid anyone to the contrary.

9 We won’t ever force you to sing, Ian – it could result in a national disaster! What do you really, really, really, love?

Apart from my gorgeous wife and four incredibly talented children, it would have to be the complete series of ‘The Famous Five’ by Enid Blyton.

10 Can you show us a quick snap of your work desk? No tidy spic and span ones please. I won’t believe you.

This looks way too tidy, Ian. Someone needs to go in a mess it up!

11 Serious stuff now: where can we purchase your latest book?

‘Edge of the World’ can be ordered through Walker Books Australia (a paperback edition was recently released) or from any major bookstore if they don’t have it in stock.

 

Thanks for taking the time to do Lychees or Peaches, Ian!

If you’d like to find out more about the mysterious Ian and his tidy desk, he has a website here!

Crossing ethical lines: Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall by Jane Jervis-Read

9781922057433

Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall by Jane Jervis-Read

Xoum Publishing 2013

121 pages.

 

Jessica is a divorced and single health worker whose children have moved on with their lives, leaving her to negotiate her relationships from a distance and to grapple with a ‘hollow and sore heart’. When she becomes increasingly entangled in the life of her client her own needs allow her to go where logic might tell her she shouldn’t.

From the beginning we know we are in the hands of an author who cares about words and what lies between them. Jane Jervis-Read creates a haunting and wanting aura with her sensitive writing:

But she will already be walking out the back, screen door sighing closed behind her, slippers scuffing the concrete, spanning the distance between the kitchen and the shed. The corrugated roof casts a shadow over the entrance… But inside the shed a world awaits. From the window I watch the shadow drink her in. p2

When Jessica takes on the job as carer to Eloise we follow her tender path along a road that both she and we know she shouldn’t go down. It echoes the decisions we fail or neglect to make, or choose to ignore, that allow us to follow the heart in search of something we need. It puts the question to us that we may not like to explore, should we go to places we know we shouldn’t for the sake of cotton-balling the heart?

It meant something when Eloise pulled me in. It meant I am sad and the world is falling like leaves around me. It meant you are a warm heart next to me and your heart loves and listens where mine is hollow and sore and calling out like a wild, hungry mouth. It meant I need you…Something is starting and something is ending. I need relief from my sorrow and you are it, your hand is it, your warm heart beating beside me is it. p66

As we would in reality, Jessica questions her actions and explains them away with care:

She was crying with growing intensity. You don’t leave someone alone in that state. You don’t say, Sorry but my shift is over.’ You can’t clock off. This may be that sort of job to some people but not to me. p53

And Jervis-Read does not shy from bringing truth to the story by allowing Jessica go into this blindly. Jessica knows she goes where she should not; she knows she has blurred ethical lines:

Her thigh slid between mine. I waited. What was I thinking in this moment? I can’t remember. Only the feeling of heat, from her bath-thickened flesh…Maybe I told myself, ‘You have come this far without knowing why – what reason is there to step out now?’…How wild and misguided a life can become, but the body maintains this simple truth: the elegant curve from the waist to the hip. p 83

And nor are the characters allowed to waft away in romantic views; the story is not without the tendrils of uncertainty you might find in a relationship wrought with baggage, illness and dependency:

Eloise smirked. She leant towards me and her robe fell open at the top. ‘I’ll follow you,’ she said. ‘If you go.’  p 63

The characters are beautifully painted on the page. We feel for Jessica as she navigates the emotions left in the wake of her divorce from her husband, and the feelings of estrangement from her children that seem to open her up as they go on with their lives:

Was I a good mother to my children? I think I was. Why then did they move away? p67

And out of this we accept and forgive Jessica. Had we only had access to the facts of the story – lonely carer takes advantage of a patient overcome with sadness for the loss of her life due to mental illness, and engages in physical intimacy – we might judge and condemn Jessica. Enormous credit goes to Jane Jervis-Read for enveloping the facts in a beautiful story that leads us to understand and forgive the characters.

When Eloise sobbed that guttural sob I recognised my own voice in her throat. I recognised the sobs of my children, of my mother too. I remembered my mother weeping when my father died and how I had held her. Eloise clutched at me and pulled me in through the blankets. She cried in my arm. p53

Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall is a beautifully written, honest and elegant tale of longing and loneliness; it turns the light on what a person will allow themselves to do to abate and caress those feelings and it tackles the questions around crossing ethical lines. Set in the university area around Carlton, Melbourne. I highly recommend you take on this novella and see how you fare.

Jane Jervis-Read and Alice Grundy from Seizure talk about her novel and novellas in general in a great audio interview here

You can purchase Jane’s book here.

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