Jul 03

Books Writers Read with Amra Pajalic

Author Interview
Author: Amra Pajalic (Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Amra PajalicI am very pleased to welcome Amra Pajalic to Reading Upside Down. I first started chatting with Amra after reading Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia, a book she co-edited with Demet Divaroren. I have been encouraged by Amra’s passion for education, writing and promoting greater cultural awareness.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I just finished reading ‘… And that’s when it fell off in my hand.’ by Louise Rennison which is a really funny series about Georgia Nicolson and her adventures in adolescent dating. It’s a fun read written in a diary format and Georgia has her own vocabulary that adds a special flavour to the book, for example Boy Entrancers are False Eyelashes and Nunga-nungas are bosoms.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
I very much enjoy reading books featuring young adult characters and my favourite genre is crime fiction. I’m also writing a memoir at the moment so I’m reading a lot of memoirs.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
The two books that I love to re-read are The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Both are sweeping stories that feature complex female characters.

Where do you read most often? Why?
I read on the couch while domestic life moves on around me. This way I’m still available to my daughter, even though she knows that when Mum reads she’s in another world.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
I loved Anne of Green Gables when I was young and wrote quotes from the books into my diary. I’ve got the whole series and am waiting for my daughter to get old enough so we can re-read them together.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
A bit of everything. There are certain authors that are on my must read list and as soon as they have something out I get it. I very much get sucked in by a cover and have to read a book because of the mood it evokes. I usually don’t like to know too much about the book and avoid reading blurbs. I pay attention to reviews, but usually skim a bit so I don’t get too much information. I very much pay attention to recommendations by friends and when I see a positive comment by them I follow up on the book.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
I would put my novel The Good Daughter as this book is very close to my heart. It began as a reflection of my adolescence and accidentally grew into a fictional young adult novel. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta because whenever I think about it, I get teary.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
I’m currently working on a memoir about being parented by my mother who suffers from Bi Polar.

coming of age

Amra Pajalic is an Australian author whose first novel, The Good Daughter (Text Publishing, 2009), won the 2009 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Civic Choice Award, and was a finalist in the 2009 Melbourne Prize for Literature Best Writing Award. She is also the co-editor of the Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2014) anthology. Visit Amra’s website for the latest information about her books, writing projects and author events. You can also find Amra on Facebook and Twitter (@AmraPajalic).

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Jul 01

July TBR List

I stumbled across the #wintercomfortbookchallenge on Instagram Challenge tonight, shared by Megan Daley (@childrensbooksdaily) and organised by @lovesickreader, @thereaderdragon and @talkbookishtome. It’s a book-related daily photo challenge, so I’m hoping to take part as a way of sharing more of the books I’m reading via Instagram. (You can follow me on Instagram at @readupsidedown)

The photo prompt for July 1 is ‘July TBR’. The most challenging part of this is fitting all of the books I need to read into one photo. I managed it (just), but the titles aren’t necessarily very clear, especially for the picture books, so I thought I’d share a book list here. I’m hoping to check back in at the end of the month to see how many I’ve actually read. I think I’ll be happy to get through 50% of the 54 books listed below. I’ll change the colour of the book titles as I read them and I’ll add in links to reviews (either here or at Kids’ Book Review) as they are published.

I know there will also be new books added during the month. For example, I’m hoping to buy a copy of Fleur Ferris’ new release Risk tomorrow and I’m sure that I’ll receive review copies for KBR that I won’t be able to resist adding to the pile.

As it stands today, this is my July TBR pile:

PICTURE BOOKS
Mate and Me – Jennifer Loakes and Belinda Elliott
My Name is Lizzie Flynn – Claire Saxby and Lizzy Newcomb
How Long is a Piece of String – Madeleine Meyer
Small and BIG – Karen Collum and Ben Wood
Just the Way we Are – Jessica Shirvington and Claire Robertson
Flight – Nadia Wheatley and Armin Greder
Puddles are for Jumping – Kylie Dunstan
How the Sun Got to Coco’s House – Bob Graham
Bob the Railway Dog – Corrine Fenton and Andrew McLean
Carpet – Madeline Meyer
Time for Bed, Daddy – Dave Hackett
Shine – Trace Balla
Silly Squid! – Janeen Brian and Cheryll Johns
Inside This Book (are three books) by Barney Salzberg
On the Train – Carron Brown and Bee Johnson
Summer Rain – Ros Moriarty and Balarinji
Splosh for the Billabong – Ros Moriarty and Balarinji
Tiz and Ott’s Big Draw – Bridget Marzo
Kookoo Kookaburra – Gregg Dreise
The Lost Girl – Amberlin Kwaymullina and Leanne Tobin
Newspaper Hats – Phil Cummings and Owen Swan
The Red Feather – Ben Kitchin and Owen Swan
Platypus – Sue Whiting and Mark Jackson
Where are my Books? – Susan Ridpath Ohi

JUNIOR FICTION
Peter’s Railway: The Great Train Robbery – Christopher Vine
One Rule for Jack – Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina (illustrated by Craig Smith)
Samurai vs Ninja: The Race for the Shogun’s Treasure – Nick Falk (illustrated by Tony Flowers)
Clementine Rose and the Movie Magic – Jacqueline Harvey
The Impossible Quest #2: Wolves of the Witchwood – Kate Forsyth
The Grimstones Collection – Asphyxia
Tashi – Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg (illustrated by Kim Gamble)
Alana Oakley: Mystery and Mayhem – Poppy Inkwell
Zombiefied – C M Gray

MIDDLE FICTION
A New Australian: Kerenza – Rosanne Hawke
Ophelia, Queen of Denmark – Jackie French
A Tuesday Macgillycuddy Adventure: A Week Without Tuesday by Angelica Banks
Zarkora #1 – Nicholas and Alison Lochel
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage – Sydney Padua

YOUNG ADULT FICTION
Fearless – Marianne Curley
What If – Rebecca Donovan
Weightless – Saran Bannan
Green Valentine – Lili Wilkinson
Frankie and Joely – Nova Weetman
Off the Page – Jodi Picoult, Samantha van Leer
The Truth About Alice – Jennifer Mathieu
Freedom Ride – Sue Lawson
Afterlight – Rebecca Lim

NON-FICTION
Alice’s Food A-Z – Alice Zaslavsky
Animal Architects – Daniel Nassar and Julio Antonio Blasco
Backyard Bees – Doug Purdie
Palestine Speaks – Cate Malek and Mateo Hoke (eds)
Numbers are Forever – Liz Strachan
From India with Love – Latika Bourke
Remembered by Heart – Various, foreword by Sally Morgan

 

Books read 1 July: 0/54

Books read 31 July: TBA

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Jun 26

Books Writers Read with Demet Divaroren

Author Interview
Author: Demet Divaroren (Website, Blog, Goodreads)

Demet DivarorenI am very pleased to welcome Demet Divaroren to Reading Upside Down. I first started chatting with Demet after reading Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia, a book she co-edited with Amra Pajalic, and I have been inspired by her positive attitude and wonderful perspective on culture and creativity.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I recently finished The Fisherman by Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma, a beautiful, rich, haunting tale of love, brotherhood, madness and magic. Its visceral, vivid language haunts me still.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
I read character driven books from any genre that captures my heart and imagination.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for a dose of magic and wisdom. When I first read it ten years ago, it helped me believe in my dream to become a writer and unlocked the self-belief I needed to get there.

Where do you read most often? Why?
I have taken over a bench in my kitchen that was once a dining area. It has multicoloured cushions and a windowsill for my coffee cup. I share the space with our breadbox. It’s the ideal place…It gets sun and it’s close to food!

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
Willy the Wimp taught me that it was okay to be my shy, nerdy self.

When the Wind Changed scared the crap out of me and I use to try real hard not to frown. Still trying :)

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
I’ve been burned too many times to trust a cover and/or blurb. If there’s a book I want to read I download a sample on ibooks on my phone and read an excerpt. I hardly ever buy/borrow a book without reading a sample.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
I’d put my co-edited anthology Coming of Age: Growing up Muslim in Australia with Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap. Both capture the diversity of the Australian and human experience.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
My current work in progress is a contemporary young adult novel titled The Lost Boys set in working class Melbourne. It is written from alternating points of view and follows the struggles, clashes and connections of seven residents of Hope Street. It delves beyond stereotypes to explore themes of intergenerational violence, cross-cultural friendships, class and multiculturalism.

coming of age

Demet Divaroren is a Turkish-born Australian author of fiction and non-fiction. Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2014), an anthology she co-edited with author Amra Pajalic, has been shortlisted in the 2015 CBCA Children’s Book of the Year Awards. Her first novel, Orayt?, was shortlisted for the Australian Vogel Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Visit Demet’s website for more information about her books, writing workshops and other writing projects. 

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Jun 12

Books Writers Read with Anne Gracie

Author interview
Author: Anne Gracie (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Anne GracieI am very pleased to welcome Anne Gracie to Reading Upside Down. I have only discovered Anne’s books recently, but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her regency romance novels and I’m delighted that she was willing to answer my Books Writers Read questions.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I’m always reading. Currently I have the following on the bedside table: Patricia Briggs Raven’s Strike (fantasy), Mary Jo Putney Not Always a Saint (historical romance-ARC) and Elly Griffiths The Ghost Fields (crime)

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
I read a range of genres, but I always go back to romance, both contemporary and historical romance. I love it because it’s such a positive, people-centred, hopeful genre — no matter how dark it gets, you know you’re always going to be delivered back into the light.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
I have a lot of “comfort-reads” and I can never pick just one, because it depends on the mood I’m in. But I always return to two particular authors — Georgette Heyer and Eva Ibbotson. They both sweep me away to other times and places, they make me laugh, sometimes weep a little, and I always finish their books with a big happy sigh. It’s a bit like re-setting my world positivity clock.

Where do you read most often? Why?
In or on the bed. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always preferred to read lying down. When I was a kid I’d lie on the floor, or on the sand at the beach, or in winter in front of the fire in the lounge room. Usually with a dog sprawled beside me. It hasn’t changed much since then. <g>

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
Again, I have lots. In my writing room, my computer faces a wall of books that contains several shelves of my favourite books from childhood, many of which I’ve bought from second-hand bookstores, because we moved a lot and local libraries fed my need for books. I look on them much as I look on old friends. From my beloved AA Milnes, and various Enid Blytons, to various animal books (Finn the Woldfhound, The Silver Brumby, Wild Brother) to books like Kim (Kipling), Henry Treece’s dark historicals, Noel Streatfield, Rumer Godden’s “doll” series, to the fun of Robyn Klein, Margaret Mahy, and of course I started reading Heyer when I was eleven.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
All of the above. I order books on line so there’s always a good supply of my favourite authors waiting, and I choose from the selection according to mood. I will always read a book that friends have recommended, but sometimes if there’s buzz about a new book or writer, I’ll investigate.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
I would probably have a slow melt-down trying to choose, and would put off the job for so long I’d hope people would forget to ask me again. <g>

Put a gun to my head and force me and I’d probably grab a copy of The Perfect Rake (mine) and Venetia (Heyer) because Venetia is probably my favourite Heyer and Perfect Rake is a lot of readers’ favourite book of mine. Why? Usually the things put in capsules are “worthy” but dull, so it would be nice to find something that was fun.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
I’m writing The Summer Bride, the last in a four book Regency-era historical romance series. Each book has focused on one of four “sisters” — sisters of the heart, rather than blood relations— who at the start of the series were in desperate straits. This book is about Daisy, the odd one out of the sisters. A Cockney foundling with an unsightly limp, born in the gutter and raised in a brothel (where she worked as a servant) she has no aspirations to become “a lady” and certainly not to get married. Instead she’s all fired up to become the most fashionable dressmaker in London — she has a real talent for creating flattering, sexy and elegant clothes. Daisy is earthy, gutsy, stubborn and vulnerable and I love her to bits.

 

The Spring Bride

 

Anne Gracie is an Australian author of historical romance. Her books include The Merridew Sisters series and The Devil Riders series. Her most recent novel, The Spring Bride (published by Penguin), is the third book in The Chance Sisters series. Visit Anne’s website and Facebook page for more information about her books and author events. You can also chat with Anne on Twitter (@AnneGracie).

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Jun 11

8 Ways to Support Your Favourite Authors

8 Ways to Support Your Favourite AuthorsWriting is a bizarre occupation.

It can involve spending a ridiculous number of hours wrestling words into submission, gently crafting the perfect turn of phrase or shaping whole new worlds from thin air. It can involve visiting amazing locations to soak up the atmosphere and find inspiration or spending hours researching a topic or idea that fascinates the author. That’s the fun bit.

It can also involve hours in front of a computer screen editing, re-writing, deleting, and re-writing again. The hours of research aren’t always fascinating. Sometimes they result from the need to track down an obscure fact or detail that is vital to the plot of the story, only to have that entire chapter removed because it is no longer needed when the story takes a different path. That’s not so much fun.

Being a writer also involves a large investment of time in promoting books including but not limited to establishing and maintaining an online presence via social media, blogging, writing guest posts, giving interviews, running workshops, visiting schools and generally trying to keep your name and books prominent in the minds of booksellers, librarians and the reading public. This needs to be done in such a way that you don’t over promote yourself or become too pushy. It’s a fine line to walk.

The support of readers is vital to the ongoing success of writers. If you have an author whose books you particularly enjoy, there are a variety of things you can do to encourage them and promote their work. Your support could keep them going when the ‘not so much fun’ list seems unbearably long.

1. Buy Books

Okay. It seems a little obvious, but it’s true. If you like the work of a particular author, buy their books. Buy books for yourself. Buy books as gifts for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Buy books to celebrate the arrival of a new baby, wish someone a speedy recovery from an illness or to simply let someone know you care. If you want to really get some bang for your book buying buck, buy books from your local independent bookseller.

2. Borrow Books

Does your local library stock books by your favourite author? Most libraries have a system in place so that you can request books that aren’t already part of their collection. You can also let your children’s school librarian know if you come across a book that you think is particularly useful or relevant to topics that are covered in the classroom. You can always donate a copy of the book if you are particularly keen to make sure that the library has a copy available (see point 1).

3. Write Reviews

You can rate and review books on Goodreads, a social media site that acts as a hub of bookish information and networking. Authors can easily share widgets on their websites and blogs with highlights from their Goodreads reviews, so comments shared here are particularly useful.

Most online bookstores have a facility to rate and review books. Genuine reviews from readers can play a significant role in encouraging others to purchase books online. Comments and reviews can also boost the profile of a particular title, moving it closer to the top of search results so that it features more prominently on websites.

It’s worth noting that reviews really only work if you are being genuine. Don’t rave about a book you only feel lukewarm about at best. Don’t write reviews that gush unnecessarily and, if you need to point out aspects of a story that you didn’t particularly like, remember that the story was written by someone who will quite possibly read your review. Be sensitive to their feelings as the creator of the work – discuss the issues, don’t attack the writer.

4. Talk About Books

If you’ve just read a book you loved, let people know. Simple.

If you’re looking for a more involved conversation, consider joining (or starting) a bookclub or check the list of events at your local library to see if they have a book discussion group.

5. Be Active on Social Media

Many authors now have a presence online, including websites, blogs, Facebook pages and accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. They use these platforms to share information about their latest books, events, workshops and projects.
Like, retweet, bookmark, pin, regram and share their updates and links to help promote their work. You can share links to reviews and articles about their work that you think share useful insights or information.

You can also use your own social media networks to chat about books. There are some great Twitter-based book discussion groups, numerous Facebook groups related to books and reading, and once again Goodreads offers a range of ways you can interact with other people who love chatting about books.

It’s not about spamming your network or going overboard. Just include books in the general mix of topics you chat about online. Consider taking a photo of whatever book you’re reading and sharing it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook as a quick and easy way of starting a conversation. If you have a YouTube channel, you could share a video review of your favourite books.

6. Take Part in Reading Challenges

There are numerous reading challenges hosted by blogs and websites to encourage people to diversify their reading habits, to promote particular genres, or to simply help people network with like-minded readers. Google ‘2015 reading challenges for adults’ (adjust year as appropriate) and you should find a selection of blogs and websites to get you started or check out this list of Book Riot’s 2015 Reading Challenge Round-Up.

You can find a list of the reading challenges I’m taking part in here.

7. Chat with your Favourite Author Online

Many authors have a website, Facebook page and/or Twitter account. This makes it possible for readers to connect with their favourite writers easily to offer encouragement, let them know you’re reading their work or to simply say ‘Hello!’

From children’s picture books through to young adult and adult fiction, there are authors writing for most ages and genres present on social media and many of them are happy to indulge in bookish conversations with readers.

8. Read. Lots.

Another obvious point, but a valid one nonetheless. If you want to support writers, read. Encourage your kids to read. Ask librarians and friends for recommendations and chat with the staff at your local bookshop. Buy books, read books and recommend books. I like to think that every time I pick up a book and open the covers, an inspiration fairy lands on the shoulder of another author and whispers words of wit, wisdom, whimsy or wonder in their ear to spark another amazing story.

 

If you have more tips for supporting and encouraging writers, I’d love for you to share in a comment. I’m also happy to chat about books anytime and you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.

If you’re a writer as well as a reader, you might also enjoy this article by Walter Mason at The Writers’ Bloc: Good Literary Citizenship – Why Helping Other Writers Ultimately Benefits You

 

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Jun 05

Books Writers Read with Trinity Doyle

Author Interview
Author: Trinity Doyle (Website, Blog, Twitter)
Trinity Doyle - credit Farrah Allan

Credit: Farrah Allan

I am very pleased to welcome Trinity Doyle to Reading Upside Down. I met Trinity late last year at a local CBCA meeting. Since then we have caught up for coffee and chatted about books several times. Trinity’s debut novel, Pieces of Sky, has just catapulted onto the local YA scene and I’m delighted that her wonderful book has been so well received.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I just finished Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, which was completely gorgeous.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
Definitely contemporary YA. I love the stories that come from everyday life, they add value to our own experiences and provide a very accessible sense of belonging. That’s why diversity in YA is so important—everyone deserves to find pieces of themselves in a story, especially young people.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
This year I’ve reread more than ever: The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, Hunting and Gathering by Anna Galvada, the first three Raven Cycle books by Maggie Stiefvater and growing up I reread Looking for Alibrandi countless times.

Where do you read most often? Why?
Probably in bed because that’s where it’s quiet and I feel I have the time.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
I read The Doll Hospital by James Duffy when I was 7 or 8 and I was obsessed with it. I always wished my dolls were secretly alive…which seemed way less creepy then.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
If it’s Australian and YA there’s a good chance it’s on the TBR pile. I have my fave authors who I follow and crave new books by and if my friends are raving about something I’ll probably give it a go.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
Well, I’ve only written one book haha so Pieces of Sky from me and I’d pick Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar because reading that had so much influence on my writing I think the books would be very good friends.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
Pieces of Sky is about Lucy Taylor, a 15-year-old competitive swimmer who lives in a tiny coastal town. When her older brother drowns in a surfing accident she struggles to get back in the water. It deals with grief, family and identity, with some first love thrown in because I love kissing books.

Pieces of Sky_cvr.indd

Trinity Doyle is an Australian author of YA fiction. Her debut novel, Pieces of Sky, has recently been published by Allen & Unwin to a very positive response from readers and reviewers. Visit Trinity’s website and blog to find out more about her writing and you can also find Trinity on Twitter (@trinja) and Instagram.

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May 22

Books Writers Read with Nicole Hayes

Author Interview
Author: Nicole Hayes (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Nicole HayesI am very pleased to welcome Nicole to Reading Upside Down. Nicole is an exciting new voice in Australian YA fiction whose books explore some very contemporary and relevant topics for teens (and, dare I say it, adults).

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I‘m reading the manuscript of Melanie Benjamin’s new novel, out next year, called Swans of Fifth Avenue. It’s fabulous! Glamorous, scandalous and rich with the sort of unforgettable characters Melanie is famous for. Plus it features Truman Capote! What’s not to love?

I’m also reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which is both hilarious and insightful – much like Tina Fey herself, I imagine.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
Not really. I have genres I don’t generally read, and genres I tend to gravitate towards, but even then there are so many exceptions. There is a pattern of contemporary social realism and fiction in my reading, whether in YA novels or non-YA, but then, when I think about my favourite novels – The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, or Beloved by Toni Morrison, for example, or what I’m reading right now – none of them fit that category! Truth is, I love great stories and memorable characters – give them to me in any form, any location, and whatever genre, and I’ll go with it. Happily.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
Yes. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s both grim and heartbreaking, yet, I would argue, it’s quite beautiful. It is the almost perfect book. There’s not a word out of place, or a sentence that hasn’t earned its spot. It’s a tough read because of the bleak, unforgiving landscape, and yet, in the end, it’s a love story between a man and his son. The cleanest, purest expression of love. It never fails to move me, often for days after rereading it.

Where do you read most often? Why?
In bed, though less and less lately because I struggle to stay awake when I do. I have a brand new “reading chair” I bought primarily to force myself to read more, and more often. I’ll let you know if it works.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
I have two that, for years and years, I read and reread more times than I can count: Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World, and Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. I should re-read them now to see if they still resonate in the same way. I’m going to bet they do because they both feature such memorable characters – characters I can picture in my mind, even today.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
Um, yes? All of the above? Usually via recommendation, but so often I find myself at a bookshop, my memory failing me, and the scrupulously noted list of recommendations and “must reads” somewhere useful, like my kitchen bench, or my bedside table. So I scan the shelves for a cover that strikes me, or a name I recognise. Or both. I read a lot of YA because, frankly, I’m rarely disappointed when I do. Particularly Australian YA, which is producing some of the best writing out there. That’s my fallback – when in doubt, pick Aussie YA. You won’t be disappointed.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
You’re asking me to choose a favourite child! So I’ll start with the easy one. The other novel I’d pick would be The Road, because it’s a favourite and because it’s a cautionary tale for the future – although by the time the capsule is opened, it might be too late anyway. Still. It’s a beautiful piece of writing.

Of my novels, I’m going to (reluctantly) pick The Whole of My World, not because I prefer it to One True Thing, but because it’s the first of its kind – that is, a footy novel written by a woman, featuring a female footy fan – which, I imagine, is the sort of thing we should include in time capsules.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
My newly released novel,ONE TRUE THING is about sixteen year old Frankie Mulvaney-Webb who’s forced to deal with the fallout of her politician mother’s very public scandal. Frankie is a budding rockstar who hates politics, despite – or maybe because of – her Mum’s job. She’s more worried about the pending audition for her band which she and her best friend, Kessie, started that year. Except suddenly Kessie’s gone AWOL, and there’s a very cute, aspiring journalist, Jake, asking a lot of questions Frankie doesn’t want to answer. Or know how to. There’s also an asthmatic little brother Frankie feels she has to protect, and an overbearing grandmother who knows far more about what’s going on than she’ll let on. And the publication of scandalous photographs that threaten to tear her family apart.

one true thing

Nicole Hayes is an Australian author of young adult fiction. Her books include The Whole of my World, published in 2013, and the recently released One True Thing, both published by Random House. You can find out more about Nicole on her website and Facebook page and you can chat with her on Twitter (@nichmelbourne).

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May 01

Books Writers Read with Ellie Marney

Author Interview
Author: Ellie Marney (Website, Blog, Twitter, Goodreads)

ellie marneyI am very pleased to welcome Ellie Marney to Reading Upside Down. Ellie is the author of the Every series, a trilogy of YA romantic thriller crime novels.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
Searching for Women Who Drink Whiskey – by Miranda Kennedy

It’s a non-fiction book about a foreign journalist living in India, and the women she encountered while living there. It’s research for the new book I’m writing, which features an Anglo-Punjabi girl as one of the leads. I’m trying to get as much info about Indian women’s lives – especially the expectations and roles placed on them – for this book as I can! Women Who Drink Whiskey is written from an outsider’s perspective, but it still has many snippets of usefulness.

Non-fiction is certainly not my usual category. I dabble in non-fiction, but the vast bulk of my reading is from YA, and I often dip into adult fiction. My last adult fiction book was The Ash Burner by Kari Gislason, and I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin in YA.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
YA is most definitely my fave category, but as far as genre goes, I’m a bit mixed – I prefer spec fic or crime, but I’m always happy to check out good contemporary, and if there’s a dash of romance in there I won’t complain. I’ve been reading science fiction and speculative fiction since I was a kid. I think good sf and specific, like all good literature, examines what it means to be human. And for me, crime is about ethics – what is good and evil? What makes people make the choices that they do? I find those questions, addressed in an oblique way with great characterisation and plotting, really fascinating.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
Dozens of books could go on my re-read pile! I sometimes go back to the Harry Potter books, for a comfort read. I also pick up the Tomorrow series by John Marsden, and The Curseworkers series by Holly Black, or anything by Melina Marchetta, to see how the real pros do it. I often re-read Stephen King’s and Helen Garner’s stories. The book I keep returning to, though, is The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris – that’s a hugely underrated and beautifully written book, even if the subject matter is kind of gross.

Where do you read most often? Why?
I love to lie on the couch with a cup of tea and read – if I could do that all day I’d be in heaven.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
I love The Outsiders by Susie Hinton. That book makes me feel like I’m thirteen again. I also have fond memories of reading the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov (I got that one from my dad), and the crime classics by Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. One series I’ve brought with me through the years is The Belgariad by David Eddings (I’m still wondering if someone will make Pawn of Prophecy into a movie one day).

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
Mainly recs from friends or online – nothing beats word of mouth. But I’ll also take notice of an interesting premise in the blurb, or a great cover.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
I guess I’d put in Every Breath, my first novel – it has a lot of meaning for me. And a book by someone else… Oh that’s hard! How about a feminist classic? The Wanderground by Sally M Gearhart. I love that book, and I’d like to know how women are faring 100 years from now…

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
Sure! I just released the final book in the Every series, Every Move, and it felt great to finish the series. I felt like I lived through Rachel Watts and James Mycroft growing up, and although writing the final book was hard, and a bit heartbreaking, it was satisfying to end their story.

Since late last year, when I knew the series was wrapping up, I’ve been working on a new YA book, tentatively titled No Limits, set in the Mallee area, featuring a secondary character I cribbed from the Every series, Harris Derwent. Harris is a great character – I had to work really hard to make sure he didn’t scene-steal too much in Every Move, because he has such a strong personality! – and in this new book I could let him off the leash. I also had to write a gutsy new female character who could match him, so Amita Blunt was born… Right now I’m deep in the thick of drug rings and undercover police work in Mildura, with a hefty dose of romance – like I said, I don’t mind a bit of romance.

every move

 

Ellie Marney is an Australian author of YA Fiction. Books in her Every series published by Allen & Unwin – Every Breath, Every Word and Every Move – have received enthusiastic reviews from readers. You can find out more about Ellie at her website and you can chat with her on Twitter (@elliemarney) and Instagram (@elliemarney).

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Apr 24

Books Writers Read with Allison Tait

Author Interview
Author: Allison Tait (Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Allison TaitI am very pleased to welcome Allison Tait to Reading Upside Down. I met Allison first as a blogger, then became aware of her extensive experience as a freelance writer. She is wonderfully generous about sharing her knowledge about writing and publishing and I was delighted when she brought her talents to bear into the children’s fiction realm with her fantastic adventure series The Mapmaker Chronicles.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I have just finished reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I was surprised by how much I loved this book, given that I hesitated to pick it up for so long because my response to Eat, Pray, Love was not favourable. It just goes to show you that you should never give up on an author after just one book. I’m also reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which is an ongoing project. I really enjoy it while I’m reading it, but I find it very easy to put down and wander off.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
My favourite genre is crime fiction, though I’ve gone off it a bit of late. Perhaps because I did some bingeing last year. I like crime fiction that is built around an amazing ongoing character. I loved Ian Rankin’s Rebus books, and I wish more than anything that Kate Atkinson would write more Jackson Brodie novels. I think I enjoy crime fiction because I am a person who likes a solid plot and a solid ending. You tend to get that with crime fiction.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
I like to re-read The Lord of The Rings trilogy. I’ve probably read the whole lot at least 8-10 times. It is a grand story full of detail and I enjoy it every time.

Where do you read most often? Why?
I read wherever I can. These days I am so busy with writing all the various things I write, as well as the social media commitments that seem to eat my life (I do my own, plus several clients), as well as the general business of parenting and running a household, that reading time is even more precious – so I snatch it where I can. I do have a favourite chair (I am turning into an old man…), tucked under the window of my dining room. I like to be there.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
Since the first book in The Mapmaker Chronicles series was published last October, I have been asked this question more times than I can count! My answer is getting better, but it’s still very difficult! How do you choose one old friend from so many? So I’ll give you my new, improved answer:

My favourites include Callie’s Castle by Ruth Park, the entire Trixie Belden series, and the Famous Five. Storm Boy by Colin Thiele remains memorable because it made me weep buckets – and I have never been able to re-read it, so clearly I am still traumatised.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
I choose on word of mouth. Anyone who says that social media doesn’t sell books is not looking at it the right way. I read The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion – and chose it for my Pink Fibro Online Bookclub to read – because I saw so many people talking about it on Twitter. Same with The Signature of All Things – I tried so hard to ignore that book, but it kept popping up in my Facebook feed and other places, so I caved in (glad I did).

But reader reviews do matter. Mostly when I’m selecting books for the bookclub, I’ll swing by Goodreads to see what’s being said about the book. I discovered All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr via Goodreads and it was the most glorious experience I’ve had with a book in a very long time. If you haven’t read that one, please do.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
Well, I would put The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race To The End Of The World in the time capsule (though I would feel bad about not including books two and three as well… imagine wanting to know what happened and not being able to find out!), and… you know, I think I’d pop Storm Boy in there. Let those future readers feel what I felt.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
I have just finished the copy edits on The Mapmaker Chronicles: Breath of the Dragon, which is a wonderful feeling. I really feel as though it’s on its way now. As for writing projects, I’m redrafting a novel (for adults) that I’ve been working on for some time, and just tinkering with a new character (for children) who appeared in my head late one night recently. I was very happy to see her because, having written two instalments of The Mapmaker Chronicles last year, my writing brain has been hibernating for a little while.

Prisoner of the Black Hawk

Allison Tait is an Australian author who is published across multiple genres. She has written for magazines and newspapers, is published online, blogs and is a presenter at the Australian Writers’ Centre. Allison’s junior/middle fiction series The Mapmaker Chronicles, written under the name A L Tait, is a fantastic adventure series for young readers. The second book, Prisoner of the Black Hawk continues the story that began with Race to the End of the World. You can find out more about Allison at her website and Facebook page and can regularly find her chatting on Twitter (@Altait). You can visit The Mapmaker Chronicles website for more information about this great series published by Hachette.

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Apr 17

Books Writers Read with Janeen Brian

Author interview
Author: Janeen Brian (Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Janeen BrianI am very pleased to welcome Janeen Brian to Reading Upside Down. Janeen is a popular and award-winning Australian children’s book author with a her latest picture book, I’m a Hungry Dinosaur, just about to hit the bookstore shelves.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung. Celebrating Australia; a year in poetry by Lorraine Marwood. Let in the stars; new poetry for children; edited by Mandy Coe and a swag of picture books from the library.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
I really like reading Australian fiction; particularly historical fiction. I want to fill in the gaps left by a drought of knowledge from school, but I find it fascinating to see how the life that we now know has evolved through so many different eras. I particularly like reading the Ruth Park and Jackie French style of writing and topics.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
The Simple Gift a verse novel by Steven Herrick. Also Not only in Stone by Phyllis Somerville.

Where do you read most often? Why?
In bed. Or, if it’s the weekend, outstretched on one of our leather sofas in the family room.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack, not only for the story, but mainly because it is the only book I can ever remember having been read to me.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
Never just by the cover; but certainly the blurb or review or a friend’s recommendation.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
Where does Thursday go? I think this book was a gift. The writing flowed, it was accepted straightaway and illustrated by the wonderful Stephen Michael King. It won an Honour Award in 2002 CBCA Awards In Early Childhood and a Notable in Picture Book category. It’s been published in UK and USA and translated into 11 languages. It never fails to get a lovely response from children and adults alike. And I still love reading it aloud.

The Harp in the South by Ruth Park because I think she captured the most amazing era of Australia’s ‘strugglers’ and wrote it how it was, with a fabulous array of characters. I was introduced into another world.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
I’m writing a children’s historic novel called Walking for Gold, which has been accepted by Walker Books.

In the 1850’s, goldfever changed the character of Australia and the goldfields changed the face of the landscape. But although much has been written about life on the goldfields and especially about the thousands of Chinese, or sojourners, who came out to Australia to work the mines and to escape the poverty and wars at in China, not much has been written about a particular trek to the goldfields.

Because of huge disquiet with the European miners concerning the vast numbers of Celestials arriving, the government imposed a poll tax, payable by the ship’s captain, on every Chinese landed at Victorian ports. So, wily captains began to drop their Chinese cargo in South Australia and let the Chinese walk up to 500 kilometres to the goldfields.

My story involves 12 year-old Yong, the son of a Headman, or a villager who could speak English, who came out to Australia, by sailing ship, with the rest of the villagers. It was a duty, not a desire and Yong aches to get to the goldfields, earn enough to keep the family in food, and go back to China.

After their ship is wrecked in Guichen Bay, Robe in South Australia, all sorts of trials and tragedies occur on the arduous trek, including the death of Yong’s father, the threats of a drunken guide and a broken promise. The Yong who finally arrives in Ballarat, is not the same boy who set out.

I'm a Hungry Dinosaur

 

 

Janeen Brian is a well known and respected Australian children’s author and poet. She has written more than 80 books, has poems in 16 anthologies, and has published more than 200 poems, stories, articles and plays in national and international children’s magazines. Janeen’s latest book, I’m a Hungry Dinosaur, is a sequel to her 2013 story I’m a Dirty Dinosaur, both illustrated by Ann James and published by Penguin. You can find our more about Janeen by visiting her website and Facebook page.

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